BUFF Bay High have taken a slim lead over defending champions Oberlin High at the 27th staging of the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS)/Eastern Secondary Schools Sports Association (ESSSA) Athletics Championships at the end of the first day at the National Stadium yesterday.
The Meet continues this morning at 8:00.
After 19 completed finals, Buff Bay have combined boys and girls score of 160 points, followed by defending champions Oberlin with 154 points, St Mary High on 92.5 points, and Glengoffe High on 75 points.
Prior to the start of the afternoon session, there was a minute's silence for the passing of Neville 'Teddy' McCook, general secretary of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and the president of the North American, Central American and the Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC).
Meanwhile, several records were broken yesterday, and another intriguing battle for title honours is expected between Oberlin and Buff Bay similar to last year when the champions won by 2.5 points. St Mary High are expected to be strong challengers to the two early leaders today.
A new record was established in the Class One girls 1,500-metre final where Titania Markland of St Mary High won in a new time of 4:56.70 minutes to erase the old mark of 5:07.19 minutes set by Margaret McKay of Oberlin in 2010. Also beating the old mark was McKay, who finished in 5:05.82 minutes.
Another record that tumbled was in the Class Three girls 1,500 metres where Shanique Masters of Tacky High won in a new time of 5:02.33 minutes, to shatter the old mark of 5:2.33 minutes set by McKay in 2008.
Fiona Richards, of Buff Bay, was also in recording-breaking form when she threw 32.02 metres with her first throw in the Class Three girls discus to win the event and in the process broke the old mark of 31.25 metres set by Shauntae Moore of Titchfield High in 2012.
Romaine Moore of Oberlin captured the Class Two boys' long jump final with a record leap of 6.63 metres to break the previous best of 6.47 metres set by Christopher Shakespeare of Morant Bay High in 2012.
Meanwhile, the Class Three girls' high jump record was equalled by Ruchellee Jones of Buff Bay with 1.60 metres that is held by Tashian Smith and was set in 2005. Khadijah Oliphant of Oberlin equalled the Class Two girls' high jump record of 1.65 metres to win the event. The record was held by Shanice Lee set in 2011.
The Class Two girls' 1,500-metre final was won by Shamona Hunt of Glengoffe in a time of 5:06.53 minutes ahead of Aneisha Walker of Oberlin (5:07.82).
Keinon Pryce, of Glengoffe, captured the gold in the Class One boys' 1,500-metre final in a time of 4:09.91 minutes ahead of Jaheem Forrester of Titchfield (4:11.34).
The Class One boys' long jump final was won by Gavin Mantaque of St Mary High with 6.72 metres ahead of teammate Theo Walker, who finished second with 6.71 metres.
Romario Willis of Buff Bay was the winner of the Class One boys' discus with a throw of 36.29 metres ahead of Andre Edwards of Oberlin, who threw 35.08 metres, while the Class Two boys' discus throw was won by Eric Campbell of Oberlin with 43.34 metres ahead of Jordan Tucker of Yallahs (41.56m).
Quasi Ann Green of Buff Bay won the Class Two girls' long jump with a leap of 5.45 metres, while Stephan Brown of Seaforth won the Class Three boys' 1,500 metres in a time of 4:49.71 minutes.
The championships should be a cracker today especially in the afternoon session where some exciting and important races will be in the making and should decide the winner. Sixty finals are down to be contested.
Girls' team points standing at the end yesterday. Buff Bay 117.5 points, Oberlin 111, St Mary High 58.5, Glengoffe 32, Seaforth 28.5, St Thomas Technical 19.5, Yallahs 18, Morant Bay High 17, Titchfield 16, Happy Grove High 12, Tacky High nine, and Paul Bogle with three points.
Boys' points standings, Oberlin 43 points, Glengoffe 43, Buff Bay 42.5, St Mary High 34, Titchfield 24, Yallahs 15, Morant Bay High 13, St Mary's College nine, St Thomas Technical six, St Mary Technical four, Paul Bogle three and a half, Tacky three, Robert Lightbourne High two, and Annotto Bay High with one point.