Never yield! - KC reign again, Edwin Allen hold off Hydel at thrilling 2019 Champs
After a decade of waiting, incorrect forecasts about victory, disappointment, and agony, Kingston College (KC) beat their arch-rivals Calabar High at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ Athletics Championship at the National Stadium last night.
Meanwhile, the status quo remained on the girls’ side as Edwin Allen High claimed their sixth straight title and seven in total, although it was too close for comfort for the Michael Dyke-coached school from Frankfield, Clarendon.
The defending boys’ champions were hit hard by injuries to key members of the squad, including captain Christopher Taylor and sprint hurdler De’Jour Russell, and the allegations of an assault by the duo on a teacher at their campus proved to be a thorn in Calabar’s preparations this season as they lost their title by 80.5 points.
Kingston College, on the other hand, are enjoying one of the best years in their history, having now broken the 10-year drought at Champs and ending an earlier 32-year winless run in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup last November.
KC head coach Leford Grant described breaking the drought as a relief.
“I’m happy that we won. It has been 10 years, so you must understand we’re overjoyed at this time,” he said. “At the end of the day, it was just hard work.
“We knew our opponents were strong in Class One, so we had to look at our Class Three and Class Two, and we had to do some work there. I don’t want to compare myself to (former coach) Neil Harrison (now at Jamaica College). He did a good job as well, but we had to plan a little differently this year.”
Edwin Allen had already seen Hydel High’s potency when the latter finished second last year and knew they would have had to deepen their squad this year and become even stronger. However, not many would have predicted that the win for Edwin Allen would have been secured so late, and by only seven points, as they wrapped up the title with 291.
Their head coach, Michael Dyke, said that Hydel’s challenge this year was concerning, but he was very proud of his girls’ achievements.
“We had a team with strong characters, and we knew that those girls would not sit back and roll over. They would fight to the end as they showed tonight,” Dyke said.
“We will go back to the drawing board and look at where our weaknesses are, especially in the 400m area, but I don’t think that we will just give up our title. Anybody that wants it has to come strong another three, four years to take the title from us.”
On Wednesday when KC’s Wayne Pinnock broke the Class One long jump record, he promised to shatter the Class One 110m hurdles record when that final came around as well. Three days later he did just that.
Running out of Lane Five, Pinnock had the record holder, Calabar’s Russell, immediately to his right in Lane Six, and his teammate, Akeem Cargill, to his extreme right, in Lane Eight. The KC duo proved too much for the chasing field, and the record of 13.10 seconds was no more when Pinnock crossed the line in 13.06. Cargill took second in 13.28 to complete the one-two finish, and Rasheed Broadbell of St Jago finished third in 13.33 to crush Russell’s hopes of making it on to the podium.
Russell, who was roundly booed by sections of the National Stadium when his name was announced before the race, lamented getting many things wrong with his technique.
“A lot of things went wrong with that race,” he said. “I wasn’t a 100 per cent for the season and, you know, my school called on me, and I had to come out and give a point. I’m just grateful to finish injury free.”
Calabar High School’s Kimar Faquharson smashed the Class One 800m record of 1:48.84 when he clocked 1:48.67 in a powerful run to reel in Enid Bennett High’s Tyrice Taylor, 1:48.91, and take the win. KC’s Tarees Rhoden was third in 1:49.04.
After the 200m events, KC, who went into the final day with a 40-point lead,, stretched their advantage even further while Edwin Allen’s was shortened to only 21 by Hydel.
Calabar seemingly conceded defeat at this point as they were trailing by as many as 92 points. Their captain, Taylor, was missing from the starting blocks in the Class One 200m final. His main rival, Antonio Watson from Petersfield High, was also noticeably absent. This cleared the way for Wolmer’s Boys’ Xavier Nairne to take the win in 20.91 seconds, ahead of KC’s Jevaughn Powell, who finished in 21.02, and Clarendon College’s Rajay Morris, who clocked an identical time for third.
On Friday after the Class Two Girls 100m final, the Clayton twins were disappointed in the outcome as the wrong sibling (Tina), they claimed, won the event ahead of her sister Tia. Normalcy was resumed in the Clayton household a day later as Tia took the 200m title in 23.44 seconds. She joked to The Gleaner that she thought Tina, whom she believes is better over the distance, let her win.
“I didn’t expect to win,” she said. “I expected Tina to. I feel great, though.
“I know my sister wanted to win the 200m, but maybe she let me win it so I wouldn’t feel bad, I dunno, maybe,” Tia said with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders.
Tina was a close second in 23.46, and Jago’s Brianna Lyston was third in 23.73.
Hydel High School’s Charokee Young put on a warrior-like performance to defend her Class One 800m title from a spirited Shaquena Foote of Petersfield High School. Young finished in 2:06.02 to Foote’s 2:06.85. Abigail Schaafe of St Mary High was third in 2:08.83.
Edwin Allen, with the Clayton twins running two of the legs, clocked a very impressive meet record 44.25 in the Class Three sprint relay. Class Two was won by Edwin Allen while Hydel took Class One.
In the boys’ sprint relays, KC won Classes Three and One while Calabar were victorious in Class Two. It mattered little as KC were over the hill and far away at this point, with 372.5 points to Calabar’s 282.
Hydel’s girls and Excelsior’s boys closed the show with wins in their respective 4x400m Open relays.
Boys’ standings (Top five):
1. Kingston College 395.5
2. Calabar 313
3. Jamaica College 232.5
4. St Jago 106.5
5. St Elizabeth Tech 90
Girls’ standings (Top five):
1. Edwin Allen 291
2. Hydel 284
3. Holmwood 220
4. St Jago 207
5. Rusea’s 84