Turn up the heat! - Battle intensifies, as race for the Mortimer Geddes trophy approaches boiling point
Kingston College (KC) Ralford Mullings and Jamaica College’s (JC) Christopher Scott made their mark on the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships, with record performances on Day Three at the National Stadium yesterday.
KC lead the point standings on 64 points after seven events. They are closely followed by defending champions Calabar, 63; with JC, 40; Wolmer’s, 16; and Petersfield, 14, rounding out the top five.
Mullings, the Class Two Boys shot putter, had a remarkable performance with a distance of 19.99m, eclipsing former Calabar High School standout Warren Barrett Jr’s mark of 18.18m set in 2014.
“It feels really good to have a record at Boys and Girls’ Championships, really good,” Mullings said. “I expected a new record. That mark wasn’t really my target, but I got the record, and that’s what really matters.”
While Mullings claimed the win, Calabar had a quinella in the event as Kobe Lawrence was second with a throw of 17.61m and his teammate; Denzs Simmonds, placed third with 16.96m.
The other record on the day came in the Class Three Boys 100m preliminary round. JC’s Christopher Scott sealed it with a sterling clocking of 10.69 seconds to take Heat One of the event. The previous record of 10.79 seconds was set just a year ago by KC’s Nkrumie Bouwahjgie.
Javoon Blair of Manchester High, Junior Harris of Camperdown High, Omario Harris, and Javar Thomas, both of Calabar, also advanced.
In Class Two, Vashaun Vascianna of St Jago was the fastest qualifier for the final, with a time of 10.61 seconds. KC’s Terrique Stennett, 10.64, and JC’s Deondre McIntosh, 10.72 seconds, were the next fastest qualifiers.
Calabar’s Oblique Seville’s blistering time of 10.32 seconds comfortably saw him into the Class One 100m sprint semi-finals. The next best times were by his teammate, Michael Stephens, 10.44 seconds, and St Elizabeth Technical High School’s Conroy Jones, 10.52 seconds.
Calabar’s Kai Chang was also victorious in the Class One Boys Discus Throw. However, as this was his final year competing at Champs, he wanted to break the record of 66.88m, set by Traves Smikle in his time at Calabar eight years ago. But, with a mark of 61.93m, it was not to be for Chang. After winning, he was seen lying supine on the cycle track reflecting on what could have been.
“It feels good that I got the win for Calabar, but I’m kinda disappointed in my performance, as it pertains to the distance,” he told The Gleaner. “That’s really not my best and based on the weather conditions, they really weren’t to my favour. But everything happens for a reason, I guess. I really wanted Traves Smikle’s record. I really wanted to take that.”
Chang said slippery conditions in the ring, from prolonged rainfall throughout the day, affected him significantly.
“The athletes, myself included, had to be continuously wiping our feet on the circle and the material that we had got wet, so it was just one big ball of frustration, but I got the win and I’m thankful.”
St Jago High School’s Romario Jackson’s distance of 58.57m was good enough for second place, while Petersfield High School’s Daniel Cope placed third with 56.84m.
In perhaps the most shocking event of the day, Calabar captain Christopher Taylor’s struggles continued and he finished third in his semi-final of the Class One Boys 200m sprint, raising questions about his fitness and whether or not his future is being risked at these championships.
Taylor got a very good start, but encountered difficulty coming off the curve into the straight, where he was caught by Clarendon College’s Rajay Morris, who won in 20.77 seconds, and JC’s Ryiem Robertson, who finished in 20.98 seconds. Taylor ran a time of 20.98 to squeeze into Saturday’s final.
Also through are Wolmer’s Boys’ Xavier Nairne, KC’s Jevaughn Powell, the Petersfield duo of Antonio Watson and Kevon Stone, and JC’s Michali Everett.
Eleven Boys finals are set for today’s fourth day, including the 100m finals in all three classes and the 400m hurdles at Classes One and Two.