Showdown!

Calabar close gap to 7 points

BY HOWARD WALKER SENIOR STAFF REPORTER walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, April 01, 2017

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Defending champions Calabar High are in no mood to relinquish their title and enter today’s final day of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships a mere seven ponts adrift of Kingston College, who were expected to score a comfortable victory.


The famed Purples, who started Friday with a 38-point lead, were hanging on 139 points with Calabar lurking ominously with 132 points after 18 finals. Jamaica College (JC) are third on 98 points ahead of St Jago High in fourth on 69, with St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) completing the top five on 40 points.


The top 10 is completed by Wolmer’s Boys on 37, Petersfield High with 31, Rusea’s High on 16, Munro College on 15, and Green Island High with 14 points.


With their lead basically gone, and their top sprinter Jhevaughn Matherson injured, KC will have their hands full holding off the marauding Calabar High on the final day.


With Matherson picking out, as many expected, in the 100m final last evening, Michael Stephens sprinted to victory in 10.41 (-0.7) and pulled his Calabar High teammate Tyreke Wilson into second with 10.52 for 16 crucial points. Washington Brown of Cornwall College was third in 10.58 seconds.


The stage is set for an enthralling finale with the momentum clearly in favour of the Michael Clarke-led five-time defending champions.


In the first final yesterday, Calabar High chopped a chunk out of KC’s lead securing 16 points after finishing first and second in the Class Three long jump.


Nicholloyd Boyd, who has been promising all season, delivered for the boys from Red Hills Road capturing gold with a leap of 6.65m (5.7 mps), while his teammate Jordon Turner leapt 6.60m for second. Eniola Johnson of Ardenne High snatched third with 6.27m. KC’s Bouwahjgie Nkrumie was fifth with 5.99m, while his teammate Scott McLeod, who won the high jump on Thursday night, failed to register a jump.


With news filtering through that their talisman Jhevaughn Matherson was out of the 100m injured, KC needed a lift and they got it from twin brothers Giovouni and Gianni Henry, who gave them 15 points in the Class Three 1500m. Giovouni won in 4:17.52 minutes ahead of David Martin of STETHS with 4:18.32. Gianni Henry, who was urged on by his brother 250m out, responded for third in 4:19.87. Calabar picked up two points courtesy of Raheim Peynardo, who was seventh with 4:30.61 minutes.


Immediately after, Calabar responded in Class Two in style, grabbing 15 points as Kevroy Venson and Kimar Farquharson ran a tactical masterpiece for first and third. Both runners went out fast in the first 600m and pulled KC’s Aryamanya Rodgers out of his comfort zone and when the Ugandan assumed the lead with 300m out, Venson went with him and surged past him at the top of the straight. Both Venson (3:55.3) and Rodgers (3:57.02) went below the previous record of 3:57.28 minutes set by Keenan Lawrence last year. Farquharson was third in 4:00.13, while KC’s Tarese Rhoden was eighth for a crucial point.


At that point, KC broke the 100-point barrier with 101 after 10 finals with Calabar looking dangerous on 69. JC remained in third with 42 points.


In the Class One 1,500m, Rusea’s High’s Ackeem Colley won fairly comfortably in 3:53.27 minutes ahead of the fast-finishing Javon-Taye Williams of Calabar in 3:54.21 minutes. Shemar Salmon of STETHS was third with 3:56.30 minutes. Another eight points for Calabar as they moved to 77 points, 24 behind KC on 101.


But with KC having no runners in the two 400m hurdles, Calabar grabbed 11 massive points in Class Two as Nicquaine Henry (53.42) and Andre Leslie (53.62) were second and third. The race, which was being contested for the first time, was won by Jeremy Farr of Wolmer’s Boys in a record 51.44 seconds.


Calabar further reduced the deficit to a mere three points following the completion of the Class One 400m hurdles after they collected eight points. The race was won by Timor Barrett in a record 51.37 seconds. Calabar’s Aykeeme Francis was second in 51.54, while his teammate Malik James-King was eighth for one point.


But KC once again responded, grabbing 16 points in the Class Three 100m courtesy of Terrique Stennett and Adrian Kerr.


The impressive Sachin Dennis captured the Class Two 100m more easily than expected in 10.51 seconds (-0.7) ahead of Michali Everett of JC in 10.69, with Xavier Nairne of Wolmer’s third in 10.74 seconds.


With his team in need of inspiration, KC’s captain Carey McLeod copped his second gold medal of the meet capturing the Class One triple jump with 15.72m (1.5). Tevin Dunn of Munro College was second with 15.46m (3.0) and Safin Wills of JC third with 15.32m (1.3).


JC’s Dane Smith took the pole vault with 4.00m ahead of KC’s Donovan Thames with 3.80m. But Calabar collected nine points as Andrew Betton and Garnett Jackson finished fourth and fifth with 3.50m.


Earlier, Calabar’s Christopher Taylor and Anthony Carpenter headlined the finalists for the boys’ Class One 400m, after clocking 46.98 seconds and 47.03 seconds from their respective semi-finals. Dashawn Morris (47.33secs) will carry the flag for Kingston College in the event.


Jevaughn Powell of Edwin Allen was also easy in victory in Class Two and is tipped for the gold after strolling to 48.74 seconds. Kobe Simpson (48.96s) of Manchester and Evaldo Whitehorne (48.45s) of Calabar will be his main rivals.

   

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