Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
One of the key factors that contributed to Holmwood Technical High School's nine-year dominance of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Girls' Athletics Championships, before their reign was ended last year by Edwin Allen, was the depth of their squad.
The stifling economic climate has, however, forced the institution to shift their focus from quantity to quality for the March 12-16 championships.
"The climate has changed in terms of track and field, so the financial conditions are very challenging and hence a lot of the support that we use to get from Windalco and Super Plus, we are not getting that sort of support anymore," head coach Maurice Wilson disclosed. "We have to basically consolidate and cut the number of persons we would normally have on the team and because of all this we have decided to take a strategic approach. We have decided to try and concentrate on getting more quality persons out of our programme."
STRONG WILL TO WIN
The Christiana, Manchester-based school has not lost the desire to win and will be giving their all to try and wrestle the title back from Edwin Allen. Wilson, who was the architect of Holmwood's nine-year reign, conceded, however, that the shift in focus may hamper their quest to recapture the title this year.
"I think it may be a problem in terms of the number of persons, because the more persons you have in various events the better," Wilson shared. "But the strategy now is that we will put one person in an event if the person is a quality person, but it is very difficult to continue to carry so many persons and to provide for them.
"Persons don't understand that in this track and field arena there is more talk than substance, so the school, coach and past students carry these programmes."
Some of the quality athletes that form part of Holmwood's team include Kedisha Dallas, who will compete in the Class One 100m and 200m, Chris-Ann Gordon (Class One 400m and 800m), Lisa Buchanan (Class Two 800m and 1500m), Sherene Whyte (Class One steeplechase and 1500m) and Gleneve Grange (Class One shot put, discus, javelin and heptathlon).
Another factor that Wilson believes has affected the students more than many persons realise is the rumour that has been circulated that the school's success at Champs is normally followed by a fatal accident.
In April, 2011 three Holmwood students died in a traffic crash in Christiana. That crash followed one in May, 2008, where one student died. Both crashes occurred just after the school won Girls' Champs.
"In my recollection, maybe you have had two crashes in the last five years in which Holmwood students have been directly involved, and numerous other incidents at other schools, and there has been no report about it," Wilson argued.
"So if the (Holmwood) students are not strong, it can affect them psychologically, and it created a problem for us last year, but we have been working on it from a psychological standpoint, and we hope to use it to turn against the opponents who have been spreading these sorts of rumours. I don't think it is right for you to prey on persons who have suffered."