'The most satisfying victory'
André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Powerhouse Holmwood Technical claimed their eighth consecutive Girls Champs title on Saturday night inside the National Stadium, after getting the better of pre-meet favourites Edwin Allen in a hot four-day battle that came down to the very end.
Holmwood tallied 273.33 points, 15 more than Edwin Allen, 258, who were hunting their first hold on the title.
Holmwood's coach, Maurice Wilson, the brains behind the Christiana-based school's seemingly impregnable dynasty, could be thought of as getting somewhat numb to winning national titles. But for him, number eight is the sweetest so far because, as the saying goes, 'the hotter the battle the sweeter the victory'.
This is an adage that Wilson subscribes to, especially considering the conviction with which many analysts wrote off their chances to successfully defend their crown.
"Most definitely, this is certainly the most satisfying victory for us because, based on the media reports, it seemed as if we did not stand a chance to win this year," said Wilson.
"It was probably the first time in five or so years that we were not favoured to win the Champs, and that made it a little difficult to get everyone motivated, especially the youngsters who were somewhat affected by the reports," he added.
In all fairness, Holmwood were probably at their weakest this year after losing no fewer than 10 class athletes, who led them to glory last year.
However, having seen off the Edwin Allen threat, many now believe that with their crop of talented youngsters
"We lost most of our girls for this year's championships so on paper we will have a stronger team next year," Wilson said. "They (media reports) were somewhat justified because we had not been performing consistently throughout the season, so I wouldn't say that the media reports were negative. But they certainly didn't help the confidence of the team. It probably served to motivate the other teams."
The coach highlighted a strategic shift which was taken a few weeks ago as a crucial step towards ensuring success this year.
"I realised that it was going to be a challenge and that we were in a spot of bother so I made some strategic changes a few weeks before the championships. I did some more personal interaction; I became a lot more hands-on in terms of the preparation of the team. In former years I did a lot more delegating and supervising, but this year I had to get more involved from a personal basis," said Wilson.
However, Wilson is not taking anything for granted and has acknowledged that things will not be as easy from this point onwards, as they were last year when his team won by almost 200 points.
"It's difficult to say what is going to happen next year because we won by almost 200 points last year, and at that point not a lot of people expected us to win by such a marginal points difference this year, so a lot can change ... I'm sure that the management of Edwin
Allen will continue trying, and St Jago is also looking good as well," stated Wilson.
While pointing to a complete team effort for the triumph, Wilson singled out sprinter Diana Johnson, middle-distance runners Chris-Ann Gordon and Petrene Plummer, all-rounder Jenieve Russell and team captain Petra Fanty for special mention.
However, he is hoping that the team's continued success will result in greater support for their track programme, which manages to reap rich results despite measly resources.
"We have done extremely well with what we have, but we need to galvanise enough support so that we can have better physical facilities and equipment for the team. This is something that we must look into," said Wilson.