St Jago lead as Edwin Allen get mixed results
Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer
Pre-meet favourites for the girls' title, Edwin Allen High, got off to a peculiar start on yesterday's opening day of the 101st staging of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships being staged over four days at the National Stadium.
The indifferent start has left the Frankfield-based school lying third in the standings with nine points, subsequent to the completion of three finals.
St Jago are the early leaders with 19 points, followed by Vere Technical on 15. St Hugh's are tied for third, having also amassed nine points, while the other teams to have registered points are Holmwood Technical (seven), Camperdown (six), Manchester (five) and four for St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS).
Edwin Allen were dealt two huge setbacks, with the biggest being the failure of team captain and heavy favourite, Sasha-Gay Marston, to qualify for the final of the Class One girls' discus.
Marston, who broke the Class Two record in the event last year, had earlier this year thrown 47 metres, which would have eclipsed the Champs record had she repeated that effort.
All was not lost for Edwin Allen, however, as Danniel Thomas stepped up to the plate and captured the event for her school with a throw of 44.29m. The silver medal went to St Hugh's Devene Brown, with a toss of 42.82m, while St Jago's Fayon Gonzales (42.51m) secured the bronze.
The 18-year old Thomas was naturally very pleased with her performance, but expressed shock at the fact that her teammate did not make the final.
"I feel very excited because I went into the finals in eighth place and to know that I used my final throw to win has given me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow," shared a jubilant Thomas, who will contest the shot put Open.
"I was a bit disappointed and shocked at the same time (that Marston failed to make the final), but knowing that I am the one who has given my team the opportunity to get off to a good start has given me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow," she further expressed.
Earlier in the day, Edwin Allen's Kimberly Williamson also failed to make it to the final of the girls triple jump Open. Williamson was the only returning finalist in the event and was expected to challenge for a medal.
The event, the day's first final, was won by Vere Technical's Sabina Allen with a leap of 12.63 metres. St Jago High's Avril McGhee (12.58m) captured the silver medal, while Nickeva Wilson (12.32m) of Camperdown High copped the bronze.
The girls are down to compete in four finals today. The first will be the Class Three girls' high jump, which is slated to begin at 10:45 a.m. Danique Bryan of Edwin Allen is the heavy favourite, tipped to break Janieve Russell's record of 1.77m, which was set in 2009. Her main competition should come from the Manchester pair of Annasta Forrester, who won in Class Four last year, and Apryl Thompson.
The Class Four girls' long jump will take centre stage at 4:10 p.m. and Edwin Allen are tipped to be among the medals, but of the bronze variety. STETHS's Junell Bromfield is expected to easily capture the gold medal.
Edwin Allen should return to winning ways in the girls' shot put Open, courtesy of the vastly improved Danniel Thomas in the 4:10 p.m. final. The St Jago pair of Kellion Knibb and Samantha Hall, along with Serena Canegan of Vere Technical, are expected to do battle for the other medals.
Manchester's flag bearer for this year's Championships, Chanice Porter, is expected to retain her title in the Class Two long jump, which she won with a record-breaking leap last year, when the event gets on the way at 6:10 p.m. STETHS's Opal James is predicted to capture silver ahead of Holmwood Technical's Osheen Erskine.