Sat | Apr 4, 2020

What could have been - Champs 100m finals promised drama across all classes

Published:Friday | March 27, 2020 | 12:24 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

A SPECIAL highlight of Friday at the ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) has been the staging of the 100m finals and this year, there’s a fairly clear picture of who the winners could have been in every age group class except one. If not for the cancellation of Champs owing to the novel coronavirus, an evenly matched field would be settling into the blocks for the Class One boys’ 100m this evening at 8:38 p.m., but no one can be sure who might have won.

Edwin Allen High and Hydel High looked certain to supply the winners of the four girls’ finals. Shemonique Hazle is undefeated in three starts, and though her Hydel teammate Jody-Ann Daley won the Class Four 100m at Central Championships while Hazel concentrated on the 200m, the tall girl is clearly the school’s number one. In Class Three, Wolmerian Mickalya Gardener was mighty impressive at the Corporate Area Championships in 11.75 seconds, but the Hydel pair of Kerrica Reid and Alana Hill have gone faster, with Hill atop the speed list at 11.66s. Class Two would see the ongoing battle between twin sisters Tina and Tia Clayton of Edwin Allen. Tia stunned everybody with a scorcher timed in 11.29 seconds at Central Champs, but was well beaten by Tina, 11.62 as against 11.45 seconds, at the Carifta Trials when a pesky headwind made sprinting difficult.

Injury setback

An injury setback for reigning Class One champion Ashanti Moore of Hydel might have transformed a potentially close race against former Class Two and Three winner Kevona Davis into a runaway for the Edwin Allen girl. Last year at Champs, Moore ran 11.18 seconds to win in Class One, while Davis clocked 11.19 in Class Two.

Davis is ahead on the clock this season, 11.35 as against 11.47 by Moore.

Mark Miller of Jamaica College (JC) has been the Class Three favourite all season, in part because he was fifth in the 200m last year, and also because of his fine runs at his school’s invitational and last month’s Youngster Goldsmith Classic. He’d have to be mindful of Corporate Area winner Jason Bullens of Clan Carthy High School, who is second to Miller on the yearly performer list by just 0.01s.

Last year’s Champs Class Two runner-up Bouwahjgie Nkrumie of Kingston College (KC) burnt the field at the Carifta Trials in 10.69 seconds, despite a headwind of 1.4 metres per second.

Class One isn’t so simple. Conroy Jones of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), Michali Everett of JC, and Javari Thomas of St Jago High were in the 2019 final, but Jones missed the Carifta Trials where his STETHS teammate Sachin Dennis zoomed 10.46 seconds in the heats. Rahiem Scott of Rusea’s High School and Thomas also broke 10.5s, with times of 10.44 and 10.48s, respectively. Dennis almost false started in the final and while he sat in the blocks the second time around, Deandre Watkin of JC bulled through a wind wall to beat everyone.

Earlier in the season, outgoing KC senior Reshawn Rose flowed to the Corporate Area gold in 10.45 seconds.

In contrast to the other six 100m finals, it’s hard to guess who would have taken the Class One boys’ 100m, and with the Champs cancellation, no one will ever know what might have happened.