Edwin Allen poised to bring down Holmwood dynasty
Jamaica's second most dominant female athletic dynasty looks set to crumble this year, as Edwin Allen enters the 2011 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships overwhelming favourites to dethrone Holmwood Technical, who have won the last eight girls' titles.
Edwin Allen also went into last year's Champs as favourites, but could not deliver when it mattered most, losing out in the end by 15.33 points.
However, the Michael Dyke-conditioned Edwin Allen have never been this strong, and perhaps it's also fair to say that Holmwood have never been this vulnerable - a situation that coach Maurice Wilson is willing to accept, even though he maintains his belief that their girls' championship mettle means that they cannot be written off.
"I have never made a concession speech in my life," Wilson exclaimed. "It's going to be a very close Championship though. On paper, Edwin Allen seem to have the personnel, they have been performing with consistency all season and they have a good coach and coaching staff."
Excellent Holmwood team
He added: "One thing I can say is that an average Holmwood team is an excellent Holmwood team when it comes around to Championships."
Dyke, whose team has finished as bridesmaids over the last two years, is confident that there will be no denying the girls from Frankfield, Clarendon, this time around. So confident is he that he endorses the view that his team may not even need a single relay win come Saturday, to secure their first hold on the trophy.
"The team is pretty strong so there is a possibility that we may not even need too much relay points if things go to plan, but they are youngsters and anything is possible, so we are just taking it one day at a time," Dyke said.
Dyke relived the disappointment of last year and dismissed any suggestion that his team had suffered psychologically or cannot deal with the pressure of being considered favourites.
"There is no mental thing at all. Last year, the reasons why we lost were simple: some persons just did not perform to the standards that we expected. We had some issues, but we have since corrected those," said Dyke. "It does not put us under any pressure at all, we know our strengths and the girls are even more experienced than last year. We expected to win last year and even though we did not accomplish it that time around the team is ready to deliver."
Of note, Holmwood have been without a field of their own since September last year and have been forced to conduct most of their training a couple miles away at the Kirkvine facility. Wilson highlighted this as a major challenge that his team has had to face, but warned that they have been improving every week.
"They (Edwin Allen) are looking good, but what is interesting is that my team has been improving every week and they have been stepping up as time progresses," Wilson said. "It's been a tough year for us, no doubt. We have not had a training field since last September and have had to rely on the management of Kirkvine for the use of their facility, and I would love to extend a big thank you to them for their assistance, it was greatly appreciated."
- Andre Lowe