Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Jamaica College (JC) and Holmwood Technical High held off strong challenges from main rivals Kingston College and Edwin Allen High respectively to emerge boys and girls' champions on the final day of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/ GraceKennedy 2011 meet at the National Stadium yesterday.
It was not a day for the faint of heart. Leads in both the girls' and boys' championships changed regularly throughout the day. The girls' title was only decided in the final event, the 4x400 metres which was won by Vere Technical. Holmwood finished second to clinch the title, their ninth consecutive, with 326 points with Edwin Allen second on 320.
JC went into the boys' 4x400 metres with a comfortable lead to end with 280 points, eleven more than Kingston College, Calabar were third on 236, Wolmer's were next on 139 with Munro College fifth on 133.
The boys from Old Hope Road who were claiming their first title since 2000 started the day 21 points behind Kingston College, who had been leading the championships since the first day, but managed to produce the goods when it mattered, to stave off the hot pursuit and secure their 21st hold of the title.
With the title still on the line before the final event, the 4x400m Open, in true dramatic fashion, the second leg runners for JC and KC collided in each other, resulting in the two finishing at the back of the pack. It didn't matter in the end as JC crowned themselves Champs kingpins.
Their authority was underlined in the Class Three 4x100m as they smashed the old mark of 43.04 seconds, to register an impressive 41.21, with KC, 41.43, and Calabar, 41.79, also bettering the old record for their second and third places respectively.
Munro won a scintillating Class One 4x100m relay, in a neck-breaking 39.92, ahead of the previously all-dominant St Elizabeth Technical, 40.49, and Bridgeport, 40.53.
Sprint medley relay
KC, 3:33.17, as expected, won the sprint medley relay, beating Calabar, 3:33.72 and Jamaica College, 3:35.75; JC's strong finish ensuring that KC hearts could not rest in comfort.
Ashinia Miller continued Calabar's dominance in the throws when he broke the Class One boys' shot put record with a big 18.98m mark, erasing his former teammate Chad Wright's 18.22m record set last year. Discus record holder and champion Travis Smikle, also from Calabar, was second with 18.08m with Emmanuel Onyia (Munro), 17.70m finishing third.
The JC pair of Deshawn Jackson and Devaughn Baker won the Class Two and Three 200m respectively as JC continued their relentless late afternoon assault on the title.
Jackson, won his final in 22.06, with Bog Walk's Jevaughn Minzie, 22.26, and St Jago's Kadeesh Willis, 22.49, picking up the other medals.
Devaughn Baker (JC) won the Class Three boys 200m in 22.69 ahead of Jordan James (Wolmer's), 22.97, and Raheem Chambers (St Jago), 23.06.
In the Class Three boys 400m final, favourite Jordan James (Wolmer's), 50.28, got out quickly and appeared to start tiring at the 200m mark, but recovered with gusto towards the end to steal a win from JC's Devaughn Baker, 50.34, while Calabar's Malcolm Campbell was third in 51.24.
After finishing a disappointing fourth last year, Eastern Championships record - holder Javere Bell (Seaforth), 46.54, returned to decimate the field in the Class One final, with his fastest time of the year, while Munro's Waynee Hyman, 47.40, was second with KC's Jovan Williams, 47.60, finishing third.
Michael O'Hara (Calabar) continued his impressive championships, building on his 100m triumph by dominating the Class Three 100m hurdles field, stopping the clock at 13.69. O'Hara, who wore a big smile across his face while clearing the last hurdle, was trailed by Wolmer's Jaheel Hyde, 13.93 and St Jago's Jordan Chin, 13.96.
Class Two 110m hurdles
Tyler Mason (JC) won the Class Two 110m hurdles event in 13.82, just shy of the 13.69 Champs record set in 1999 by Dwayne Robinson. Mason, however, would have probably bettered that mark had he not decided to celebrate before the end of the race. Kemar Williams (Calabar), 14.16, was second with Davion Dennis (STETHS), 14.34 running third.
KC's Stefan Fennel has been peerless all season, so it was little surprise when his smooth hurdling gave him an easy win in the Class One final, threatening the meet record with an impressive 13.68 run.
In one of the most exciting races at the meet, last year's Class Three champion Kevin Robinson (Foga Road), 1:57.40, produced a late burst to nip 1500m champion Jorel Belfante (Calabar), 1:57.45. JC's Romaine Headman, 1:57.77, was third.