Edwin, C'Bar win

Edwin Allen Girls triumph at last

BY PAUL A REID Observer West writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 01, 2012

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FINALLY! Edwin Allen threw the 800-lb gorilla off their back after close misses in the last two years to finally crown themselves queens of Jamaica's high school track and field after a brilliant and almost flawless display over five days, ending with their coronation at the National Stadium last night as the 102nd ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championships came to a close.


Meanwhile, Calabar captured their 23rd lien on the Mortimer Geddes Trophy for Boys to celebrate their 100th anniversary in style.


Calabar amassed 287.5 to beat Kingston College (KC) 265 and Jamaica College (JC) 220.5, with Wolmer's Boys' fourth on 140.


Unlike the last two years, when they were tipped to win but came up short due to a mixture of misfortune, and some would say bad tactics, it finally came together for coach Michael Dyke.


Edwin Allen, who won two of the four sprint relays in Classes One and Four to cap a fine week's work, tallied 365 points, 131 ahead of Holmwood Technical's 234 with St Jago High holding on to third place with 180 points. The vanquished Holmwood had their nine-win streak snapped.


Vere Technical scored 150 points, Hydel had their best- ever showing with 114 points, while St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS) scored 105 points.


Just after 6:00 pm yesterday after his team had opened up an insurmountable lead of over 120 points, Dyke told the Sunday Observer they knew they would be champions as early as Friday night. "We had a feeling after the 100m on Friday," he told the Observer.


By then, Edwin Allen had opened up a 70-plus-point gap on Holmwood and Dyke said he knew they had sufficient points to get yesterday to make sure there would be no last-minute dramatics.


"We need this title," Dyke said, pointing out that he personally had achieved a lot as a high school coach. "We have produced many world-class athletes at Edwin Allen and this title is well deserved."


Not too far away supervising relay baton practice, Holmwood's Maurice Wilson said they had conceded the title even earlier. "Chris-ann's injury (in the semis of the Class Two 400m) changed everything; it killed the spirit in the camp."


"She had run 2 minutes 11 seconds, and 54 seconds (for the 800m and 400m respectively) and we were looking for big things from her," he said, while congratulating Edwin Allen on what he said was a "worthy victory for a worthy team".


It was more than just the injury, he added, saying more was needed from elsewhere if Holmwood were going to start another dynasty. "Once the machinery is not prepared, we can't go out and expect anything dramatic at Champs."


Wilson, the national senior coach at the last year's IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, said: "The system was working well for nine years and we can't change things now."


Fans started filing into the stadium from as early as mid-day, a full 90 minutes before the scheduled start yesterday, anticipating another majestic display of track and field and they were not disappointed.


With the boys' race going to the wire and with Edwin Allen on their way to a first title, the competition was fierce and the almost packed stadium roared its appreciation.


Two records were broken yesterday, in the Class One and Three long jumps by athletes who had already won high jump gold medals.


Manchester High's Chanice Porter, who won the high jump with a new meet record 1.86m on Friday, won the long jump yesterday with a personal best 6.52m, erasing the 6.47m set by Elva Goulbourne of Dinthill Technical in 1998, while Hydel's Samara Spencer broke the Class Three record after jumping 6.06m, farther than the 5.99m set by Vere's Sheree Francis in 1999.


Vere Technical's Shericka Jackson won a fine Class One 200m/400m double to underline her class as she took the 200m that was run as a timed final, winning the first section in 24.26 seconds running into a -2.7 metres per second headwind, beating Edwin Allen's Shawnette Lewin (24.61secs) and St Jago's Melisa Williams (24.90secs).


Saqukine Cameron of Edwin Allen took the Class Two 200m in 24.25 seconds (-3.6m/s wind) as Petersfield's Asain Hall won a silver in 24.64 seconds, and Jonille Smith of Wolmer's Girls' took bronze with 25.11 seconds.


Wolmer's Shauna Helps won the Class Three double for the second year running when she easily won the half-lap race in 24.21 seconds (-3.5m/s wind); Shanta Deer of Holmwood Technical was second in 24.72 seconds and St Jago High's Natalia Whyte was third in 24.85 seconds.


Aaliyah Hopkins, who was fourth in the 100m on Friday, upgraded to a gold medal in the Class Four 200m final, running 25.67 seconds to beat St Elizabeth Technical's Santanya Wright and Aleeaha Dawkins of St Jago High.


Jackson had earlier in the day upstaged her teammate Olivia James, the Carifta Games Under-20 champion, to win the Class One 400m in 53.74 seconds to James' 54.90 seconds, while Herbert Morrison's Renae Ambersley was third with 55.19 seconds.


Vere Technical's Yanique McNeil won the Class Two quarter-mile race by running down the fast-starting Asain Hall of Petersfield to win in 53.35 seconds, while Saqukine Cameron of Edwin Allen surged over the last 15 metres to grab the silver ahead of Hall, 54.22 seconds to 54.31 seconds.


Tiffany James, who won Papine's first ever gold at Champs when she took the Class Three 400m in 54.93 seconds, lead from the front to hold off Semoy Hemmings of Hydel (55.40secs) and Shenice Cohen of Holmwood Technical (55.89secs).


James, who will represent Jamaica in the Under-17 800m at the Carifta Games next weekend in Bermuda, added a second gold a few hours later when she held off defending champion Lisa Buchanan of Holmwood Technical to win the 800m in a smart 2 minutes 11.31 seconds.


Buchanan ran 2 minutes 11.90 seconds, while St Elizabeth Technical's Junelle Bromfield was third in 2 minutes 13.86 seconds.


Spalding High's Semoya Campbell, the Carifta Games Under-20 champion won the Class One event in 2 minutes 05.22 seconds, her second gold after winning the 1,500m on Friday; breaking away from the pack as early as 300m and winning by almost 80 metres over Holmwood's Petrene Plummer and St Jago's Molly-Ann Blake.


Edwin Allen's Marleena Eubanks, who was third last year, added the Class Two 800m title to the 1,500m she won on Friday, running all by herself in front of the field to win in 2 minutes 10.44 seconds; St Elizabeth Technical's Carifta Trials Under-17 champion Chantai Smith was second in 2 minutes 12.05 seconds, while Genekee Leith of St Jago took the bronze with 2 minutes 13.74 seconds.


St Jago's Chrisdale McCarthy, last year's Class Two 100m hurdles champion, upstaged the Class One field to win in 13.08 seconds in a blanket finish ahead of Edwin Allen's Keenan Davis, who was sixth last year in 13.92 seconds and defending champion Kimberly Golding of Alpha (13.95secs).


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