Fri | Jan 21, 2022

Dyke already eyeing Edwin’s ninth title

Published:Monday | December 6, 2021 | 12:08 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Edwin Allen High School sprinter Tina Clayton (left) and her twin sister Tia (right).
Edwin Allen High School sprinter Tina Clayton (left) and her twin sister Tia (right).

Edwin Allen High School head coach Michael Dyke says he is looking forward to a successful junior athletics season next year, despite starting preparation six weeks later than usual.

The school won the last staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) in May, to take their seventh consecutive title, and eighth overall.

Dyke said, despite the setbacks, he has a strong enough team to continue the school’s dominance.

“This year, we started preparations very late due to the refurbishing of our dorms, as we wanted to ensure that our girls are comfortable,” Dyke told The Gleaner. “But this will not stop our dominance, as we do have a super team.”

Despite having a strong team, Edwin were challenged by St Jago High School and Hydel High School, but were able to prevail on the final day, winning by over 40 points. The school has since lost eight members of that team for the coming season, including the outstanding jumper Ackelia Smith, but Dyke has no fears going into the new season.

“Ackelia is a big loss, but we have good replacements,” he said.

Although his team is deep, he is depending on his Class One athletes, including Tia and Tina Clayton, and Serena Cole, who were members of Jamaica’s World U20 record run of 42.94 seconds at the World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, in August, where Tia also won the 100m in 11.09 seconds.

All three will be competing in the higher class for the first time next season.

“All three have been on record-breaking relay teams from Class Four to Two and I expect this to continue next year, despite all three competing in Class One for the first time. They will be joined by the experienced Brandy Hall and I expect the team to run faster than the national record set in Nairobi,” Dyke said.

Dyke said he does not expect any of his athletes to do double events next season and that the entire team is highly motivated, based on what his girls did in Nairobi.

“Based on what these three girls did in Nairobi, all the other team members are highly motivated as they feel very special training alongside world champions and they all want to be a part of the national team, especially with next year being another World Under-20 Championships,” he said.