Edwin Allen in front... Holmwood not bothered
DESPITE being well behind where they had expected to be after yesterday's second day of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium, defending girls champions Holmwood Technical are not ready to press the panic button any time soon.
After two of three finals yesterday, the girls' Class One discus throw and Class Two shot put, Holmwood were in third place on 10 points, 17 behind favourites Edwin Allen High's 27, and Hydel High's 15 points.
Kirk Brown, who took over from Maurice Wilson at Holmwood, told the Jamaica Observer that they suffered a number of "major setbacks" as three athletes they had hoped to score major points failed to advance past the first round in their events.
Tamara Moncrieff and Shanice Marshall both dropped out of the Class One high jump on Tuesday, while Colestia Baker did not get past the first round of the Class Two long jump either.
"We are nowhere near to panicking," Brown told the Observer. "I am not a person who panics easily, and we know the girls will do their best."
Edwin Allen had a setback of their own, but not of the magnitude of their great rivals, after Class Four athlete Denae McFarlane did not get past the first round of the long jump she had been favoured to win.
"She is young, so we can't be too hard on her," Dyke said of McFarlane, but added he was hoping for more than 40 points after the first day's events.
Dyke said their confidence was also boosted by the number of persons they had qualified for finals. "We are comfortable right now," he said, "we just need to continue doing what we are doing right now."
After Tuesday's first day, the action picked up yesterday on the track and will get even more intense today with the first round heats of the 100m and semi-finals of 200m, as well as the 1,500m prelims and several field events.
The 200m attracted a lot of attention yesterday, and Edwin Allen's Monique Spencer, the silver medallist from last year, looked imperious in winning her Class One first round heat in 23.96 seconds, slowing down well before she got to the line to beat Manchester High's Argyanna Bolton in 24.42m.
Petersfield High's Asaine Hall, a finalist last year, was also under 24 seconds, with 23.97, to beat Holmwood Technical's Chance Bonner with 24.68 seconds.
Other winners yesterday were Wolmer's Girls' Jonielle Smith, last year's Class Two champion who ran 24.19 seconds, and Edwin Allen's Saqukine Cameron, who is back to full fitness after nursing injuries last year.
St Jago's Nattaliah White, the silver medallist last year, had the second fastest time in the first round of the Class Two girls' 200m, winning her heat in 24.48 seconds and behind overall leader Shanice Reid also of St Jago High, who ran 24.43 seconds.
Hydel High's Taqece Duggan, who was third in Class Three last year, won the first heat in 24.73 seconds, third best overall, followed by Vere Technical's Jadine Senior and Holmwood Technical's Britney Hew, both of whom were timed in 25.07 seconds.
St Jago's Kimone Shaw, the Class Four record holder, Shellece Clarke of Edwin Allen High, the bronze medallist in Class Three last year, along with Shaneil English of Hydel and Sashell Frater of St Jago High, who were medallists in Class Four last year, all advanced easily.
Hydel High's towering Ashanti Moore ran 25.18 seconds to lead the Class Four qualifiers and was followed by Kayla Bonnick of St Jago High in 25.65 seconds.
Another Hydel Athlete, Jada Martin also won her heat in 25.72 seconds.
Defending champion Camira Haughton of Edwin Allen advanced to the final of the 400m hurdles as the second fastest in 59.26 seconds to win her heat, as St Jago High's Genekee Leith won her heat in 59.18 seconds.
Vere Technical's Andrenetta Knight, who was a finalist at the IAAF World Youth Championships last year, is also through to the final.
Favourite Sasha-gaye Whyte of Vere Technical led the qualifiers in the Class Two girls' 800m, running 2 minutes 14.80 seconds to win her heat comfortably, while Sashieka Heath of Holmwood Technical, last year's bronze medallist, St Elizabeth Technical's Junelle Bromfield, the Western champion and Holmwood's Lisa Buchanan all advanced to the semi-finals set for this afternoon.