Edwin Allen reclaim girls' throne
...Hydel make strong statement that they belong
IT was hardly a surprise as Edwin Allen High cruised to their second girls' title at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships by a massive margin, beating former champions St Jago High by 74.5 points (337.5 to 263) in front of a packed and vociferous National Stadium yesterday.
Hydel High achieved their highest finish, placing third with 229 points just ahead of defending champions Holmwood Technical, who finished outside of the top-two for the first time since 2003 when they won their first ever title.
Edwin Allen, who won their first title in 2012, brushed aside all challengers, ending the five-day championships by winning three of the six relay events, including the final event of the meet, the 4x400m in a decent 3:35.78 minutes.
Edwin Allen broke the record in the sprint medley, running 4:00.47 minutes to finish ahead of St Jago and Vere Technical. They added the Class One 4x100m as well.
Holmwood Technical's defence never materialised as they went out with a whimper, and to make matters worse, were disqualified in three of the four sprint relays contested last night.
As early as the ninth final on Thursday morning, the Michael Dyke-coached girls were well on their way to dethroning arch rivals Holmwood Technical.
Just before 6:30 pm yesterday, Dyke told the Sunday Observer that they had come to Kingston on Monday knowing this would be their time to shine.
In front of a jubilant, but focused group of athletes and team officials at their tent on the Stadium East complex, Dyke said: "We knew we would win from as far back as September when we started our preparation."
He said when they packed their bags and left Frankfield, Clarendon, on Monday, the win was as good as completed, but they still knew they had work to do to ensure there would be no more mistakes and bitter losses like last year when they were beaten by five points.
"We feel accomplished right now, but the disappointments of last year fuelled us right through the year and this victory is as a result of total teamwork from the athletes and the staff we have here," Dyke noted.
The girls accounted for seven of the 21 records that were broken during the week.
Convent of Mercy Alpha Academy's Class Four sprinter Kiara Grant was the only sprint double winner after she bested the field to win the 200m in 25.08 seconds after winning the 100m a day earlier.
Ashanti Moore of Hydel took second place in 25.11, with Kayla Bonnick of St Jago, who was second on Friday, finishing one place down in third yesterday, running 25.31 seconds, as her teammate Joanne Reid was fourth in 25.35 seconds.
Jonielle Smith of Wolmer's made up for her silver medal in the 100m a day earlier with a fine run to take the gold in the Class One 200m in 23.45 seconds, ahead of Edwin Allen's Saqukine Cameron.
Cameron, who was in lane eight, was timed in 23.58 seconds, with Holmwood Technical's Sashalee Forbes taking bronze in 23.65 seconds.
The disqualification of Wolmer's Class Two 100m winner Shauna Helps after she false-started, opened the way for 100m silver medallist Nattalliah Whyte of St Jago to win the 200m gold in 24.30 seconds, ahead of teammate Shanice Reid in 24.45 seconds, and Holmwood Technical's Britney Hew taking third with 25.26 seconds.
Hydel's Shaniel English improved on her silver medals in the 100m to win the Class Three 200m in 24.31 seconds ahead of St Jago's Kimone Shaw (24.44 seconds) with 100m winner Shellece Clarke taking third (24.54 seconds).
Vere Technical's IAAF World Youth Championships semi-finalist Yanique McNeil avenged her loss at the Carifta Trials as she held on to beat Balaclava High's Dawnalee Loney in an exciting Class One 400m final.
Loney had chased and beaten a quality field at the Carifta Trials, but this time she could not catch McNeil who just edged her on the line to win in 52.88 seconds.
The Balaclava athlete, who started her kick with 130 metres to go, was timed in 52.91 seconds to take silver with Petersfield High's Asaine Hall, who led most of the race, taking bronze in 53.25 seconds.
There was a stirring home stretch battle in the Class Two 400 final with Papine High's Tiffany James just pulling ahead late to win in 54.19 seconds and upgrade her silver medal from last year to gold.
Hydel's Taqece Duggan, who was second in Class Three last year, won her second straight silver with 54.70 seconds, just edging Holmwood Technical's Ashley Williams (54.78 seconds).
St Elizabeth Technical's Satanya Wright lived up to expectations with a controlled and well-timed run to win in 54.78 seconds ahead of St Catherine High's Anna-Kay Allen (55.18 seconds) with Vere Technical's Sanique Walker taking the bronze in 55.53 seconds.
St Jago High School's Peta-gay Williams upset IAAF World Youth Championships gold medallist and World Youth 'record' holder Yanique Thompson to win the Class 1 100m hurdles in what was one of the most anticipated clashes of the day.
Thompson got off to the better start but Williams, who was disqualified in last year's class 2 finals after false- starting, hurdled brilliantly to catch her mid-way the race then pulled ahead to win in 13.81 seconds.
Thompson was second in 13.95m as Edwin Allen's Claudette Allen was third in 14.93 seconds.
Both Williams and Thompson had to seek medical attention after both crashed to the ground after the race; Thompson stumbled just before crossing the line while Williams appeared to twist her ankle as she celebrated her victory.
St Jago High's Mellicia Gordon ran 10.49 seconds running into a negative 3.1metres per second wind, to win the Class Four 70m hurdles breaking the 21- year-old record of 10.50 seconds set in 1993 by Tulia Robinson of Manchester High.