My warriors won't be beaten! - Dyke
Local track and field fans came out in large numbers on Saturday to witness the 26th staging of the Pure Water/JC Danny Williams Invitational Meet at the Ashenheim Stadium on the campus of Jamaica College (JC). It was a historic moment for the institution as athletes were participating on a newly laid eight-lane synthetic track in what was the first athletic meet of the year on the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) calendar.
Chairman of the organising committee and JAAA first vice-president Ian Forbes, was a pleased man at the end of the day despite the meet having a very late start due to some technical problems. However, he believed the officials did well to make up for lost time, even though the late start meant the meet went beyond the expected runtime.
"I think it was a good effort, and all in all, it was a good day as we had some good performances, and I think the athletes enjoyed the facility," Forbes said. "The spectators were comfortable, and the atmosphere was very good. Of course, it is a new facility, and it is a learning experience in how we operate in that space moving forward."
All eyes were on Edwin Allen High School, defending girls champions at the ISSA/
GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championship (Champs), coming into the meet as many high-school track and field enthusiasts believe that former champions Holmwood Technical High School will unseat the Michael Dyke, coached team for this year's title in March. After a quiet build-up coming into the new season, fans were eager to see how Edwin Allen would perform. At the end of the day, however, an excellent 100m victory by class three athlete Tia Clayton, who clocked 11.63 seconds, the fastest time on the day among female athletes over the distance, led the way. With Clayton's performance, along with several wins and top-three finishes by the Frankfield-based school, the champions sent out a strong early message that it will take something special from any team to dethrone them as they were the best female team on the day with their good all-round performances.
Head coach Dyke was impressed with his team's early showing, especially the time ran by young Clayton.
"I am not surprised by her fast time, and she can go much faster," Dyke said. "I am confident she can break the class three record at Champs. I must also say that her twin sister, who did not compete on Saturday, is running much faster than her. It was a good showing from my girls, and we are going into the season once again with victory on our minds as this set of girls are warriors, and they will not be beaten," said a confident Dyke.
It was a clean sweep of the top three finishes by Edwin Allen in the class two long jump as Ackelia Smith produced an impressive 6.16m to win ahead of teammates Paula-Ann Chambers and Brittania Ingram, who were second and third, respectively with 5.44m each. Young Santae Wilson had a big jump of 5.37m in taking the class four event, while Lashana Graham and Kay-Ann Green also picked up wins on the track. Graham won the girls' open 400m hurdles in 1:00.97 minutes, while Green was first in the open 3000m in 10:50.73 minutes.
On the boys' side, both Calabar High School and JC dominated as Kingston College, who were expected to have a keen battle with these teams, only entered a handful of athletes. Both Calabar and Jamaica College looked good in the middle distances and jumping events. In the class one 800m, IAAF World Under-20 representative Kimar Farquharson was in top form after taking the event in 1:51.38 minutes as the JC duo of Dejaun Blackman, 1:52.17 minutes, and Cavvelle Beckles, 1:55.60 minutes, took second and third, respectively.
JC swept the top three spots in the class one long jump event, with the impressive Safin Wills winning with 7.40m, ahead of Michael Beecher, 6.92m, and Alexander Thompson, 6.88m. Calabar's Jordan Turner captured the class two long jump with a leap of 6.99m, getting the better of JC's Jonathon Brooks, who was second with 6.69m, with third going to Wolmer's Boys' Nando Meggs with 6.67m.