Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Four-time champions Jamaica and Barbados are locked in keen battle heading into today's second day of the two-day Caribbean Union of Teachers' (CUT) Biennial Students' Athletics Championship at the National Stadium.
After 30 finals, Barbados lead the standings with 196.50 points ahead of Jamaica on 185.50. The top two are followed by Trinidad and Tobago (157), Bahamas (120.50), British Virgin Islands (94), Antigua and Barbuda (71), St Kitts (62), Guyana (57), Nevis (46), St Lucia (44), Dominica (34.50), Cayman Islands (33), Anguilla (23) and Grenada (19).
However, despite trailing the Barbadians by more than 10 points going into today's final day, Jamaica's team manager Huit Johnson remains confident that they can retain their title.
"Today (Friday) was a good day for us," said Johnson. "We had our ups and downs because we had a disqualification in the medley relay and that would surely have given us a gold medal, but that is just a part of athletics."
Johnson added: "I think that Barbados are doing a fine job, along with The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago, but come tomorrow, I expect us to overtake them and win this championship."
Jamaica's André Bent and Shiann Solmon were responsible for the two records that were broken on yesterday's opening day. Bent sped to 44.66 seconds to capture the boys' Under-11 300m ahead of Jahlarni Toney from Barbados (45.86) and J'Quan Smith of British Virgin Islands (46.45).
Solmon cleared 1.70m to establish a new meet record in the girls' Under-15 high jump, and in the process erased the previous mark of 1.66m which was held by her countrywomen Shanice Porter.
Solmon was delighted with her performance. "I am very happy," said Solmon, who is a student of Hydel High. "It was a very challenging event and so I really had to do my best to win it," she said.
Jamaica's Okhalia Buchanan captured the girls Under-15 400m in 57.64 ahead of Tiana Bowen from Barbados (58.14) and Renee Stoddard of Trinidad and Tobago (58.71).
Kayla Gay Clarke from Jamaica won the girls' Under-9 long jump with a best of 3.61m in front of Beyonce Alleyne from Barbados (3.28m) and Zenobia Reed of Anguilla (2.94m). Shadae Grant from Jamaica captured the girls' Under-11 100m in 13.80 ahead of Antigua and Barbuda's Joela Lloyd (14.04) and Leilani Haddock from Barbados (14.16).