Girls set for stirring battle at Gibson
Anthony Foster, Gleaner Writer
Apart from Usain Bolt's appearance for Racers Track Club in the men's 4x100m and 4x400m relays, when the gun sounds to signal the start of the 2010 Gibson Relays local high school girls' teams will have a lot at stake.
They will have a lot of stake not only because they are seeking bragging rights going into Champs, but also because they will be gunning to prevent Team Bickle USA outfits from winning the 4x400m and 4x800, relays that have long been dominated by Jamaican high schools at Penn Relays.
Manchester, the defending champions in both events, along with Holmwood, Vere and Edwin Allen, are the top Jamaican teams. However, only the latter are confident of victory.
Michael Dyke is the man in charge of the Frankfield-based Edwin Allen and he is well aware of the challenge Team Bickle USA will pose. He also said the comments made by the American team's coach that they cannot lose the 4x800m relay has only served in motivating his girls
"We are ready and waiting ... and we are not going down without a fight," said Dyke.
Their charge will be led by the Tracey sisters - Nikita and Ristananna - along with the remainder of their teammates, who will come from Mackola Joseph, Carla Thompson, Desreen Montague, Sanikee Gardener and Sharlene Nickle, to deliver.
Team Bickle USA will be led by the Francis sisters - Claudia and Phyllis - with two of any of Afia Charles, Whitney Fountain and Daynia Walsh making up the charge for bragging rights.
There is also expected to be a hot battle in the girls' 4x400m, but apart from Edwin Allen, none of the other coaches from Manchester, Vere, Holmwood or Team Bickle USA want to stake a claim.
Another event that is expected to be very competitive is the 4x100m for Class One girls, with Holmwood, Edwin Allen, Herbert Morrison and Manchester almost evenly matched.
Holmwood should dominate
Holmwood should dominate the lower class sprints, but Vere and Edwin Allen, in classes two and four, respectively, should not be taken lightly and may even be the first to cross the line.
On the boys' side, Holmwood, Munro, St Elizabeth Technical and Vere look set to battle in the 4x400m.
In the 4x800m, Holmwood and Kingston College are the top teams. STETHS, Manchester, St George's, Wolmer's and Munro are expected to battle in the classes One and Two 4x100m relays, while KC appear early favourites in Class Three.
The 4x200m, in all classes, should feature the same teams vying for top spots.
Meanwhile, teams from Florida (Speeders Track Club), Martinique, The Bahamas, Ontario (Canada), who have asked for their Under-14 teams to run in the All-Age section, are also down to take part.
In the club/institution section, Racers Track Club with Bolt, Yohan Blake, Jermaine Gonzales, Marvin Anderson and Annsert White, among others, should have things their own way in the 4x100m and 4x400m, especially since MVP will not be at full strength.
However, on the female side, even though MVP will be without their leading runners, the likes of Anneisha McLaughlin, Christine Day, Stephanie McPherson, Alecia Cutenar and Carrie Russell will be very difficult to beat in both relays. Their main competition will come from Racers, with Rosemarie White, Schillonie Calvert and Sonita Sutherland. And don't rule out the Anastasia Le-Roy-led G.C. Foster College team, especially in the 4x100, which they won at Western Relays.
Action starts at 9:30 a.m. with the 4x400m relay qualifiers for high school boys.