Boys' Champs trophy stays at Red Hills Road

Boys from Red Hills Road put on great show to cop fourth-straight title

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter

Sunday, March 29, 2015

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Defending champions Calabar High secured their fourth consecutive hold on the GraceKennedy Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships and gained their 25th lien on the Mortimer Geddes trophy at the National Stadium yesterday.

Calabar amassed 280.5 points, 15.5 ahead of Kingston College with 265. Jamaica College finished third some way back with 200 points, St Jago High ended with 183, fourth ahead of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) on 132 points.

The Michael Clarke-coached lions from Red Hills Road are just six titles behind KC's 31, which they last won in 2009. It was also Clarke's 14th title as coach having won seven times with JC, six with Calabar and one with St Jago.

Calabar are deserved champions over the five gruelling days of competition and they crowned themselves in glory by winning the last event of the night, the 4x400m relay open, in record fashion.

Without their talisman O'Hara, young Taylor, a 15-year-old prodigy, anchored his team superbly to erase the 3:08.31 minutes set by St Jago last year, lowering it to 3:06.76 minutes. KC, without Akeem Bloomfield, were brave in defeat clocking 3:08.40 minutes. St Jago was third with 3:10.10 minutes.

Earlier, fans at the National Stadium had the pleasure of witnessing a history-making occasion as Bloomfield sprinted into Champs folklore by becoming the first Jamaican schoolboy to run the 400m in under 45 seconds. He stopped the clock at an astonishing 44.93 seconds to win the Class One 400m ahead of Nathan Allen of St Jago, who did a marvellous 45.3 seconds.

Martin Manley, the World Youth 400m champion from 2013 of St Jago, was third in 46.41, with Twayne Crooks of KC fourth with 46.54 seconds.

Meanwhile, in the clash of the world champions, World Youth 200m champion Michael O'Hara of Calabar High ended the World Youth 110m hurdles champion, Wolmer's Boys' Jaheel Hyde's unbeaten run in the Class One 110m hurdles, winning in 13.49 with Hyde second in 13.52.

Calabar started the day on 116 points, 23 more than KC and by time the 400 metres were over, the picture was getting clearer that the gap was not closing as both teams garnered 26 points each. The writing was on the wall.

Tajai Jackson got Calabar's final-day assault on the way, capturing the Class Three 400m in 50.52 seconds, and had the KC pair of Shanthamoi Brown (51.77) and Roshaun Rowe (53.90) well beaten in third and seventh, respectively.

It was 16 more points for Calabar in Class Two as Christopher Taylor had to dig deep to repel the challenge of his teammate Anthony Carpenter, to win in 47.04 seconds. Carpenter, who actually led coming into the straight, clocked 47.87 seconds. Leanordo Ledgister of STETHS was third with 48.33 seconds and his teammate Jauavney James fourth with 48.34 seconds. James also won the 1,500m and was second in the 800m in a remarkable effort.

In the 200m, Calabar captain Michael O'Hara won his third gold easily dispatching the field in a time of 20.59 seconds.

Chad Walker of St Jago was second in a decent 20.99, but KC picked up 10 crucial points courtesy of third-placed Twayne Crook (21.21) and Shivnarine Smalling (21.61) in fifth.

Calabar's Taylor flew past his teammate Tyreke Wilson to win the 200m in 21.04 seconds for another quinella and 16 more points. Green Island High's Javier Johnson won the Class Three equivalent in 22.63 seconds.

At the completion of the 200m, Calabar were on 236 points with KC second on 200 and still harbouring thoughts of victory. JC had thrown in the towel, languishing in third on 135 points and looking over the shoulder with fourth-placed St Jago looming on 128 points as their star jumper, Lushane Wilson, equalled the Class Two high jump record of 2.10m.

The Monk Street boy won ahead of Kobe-Jordon Rhooms of Cornwall College with 2.00m. KC's Tavar Slowley was third with 1.90m.

KC's Rasheeda Downer copped his second gold, winning the Class Two discus throw with 50.93m, well ahead of Daniel Cope of Petersfield High with 46.90m.

Edwin Allen's Demar Gayle broke the Class One shot put with a massive 19.52m, erasing Calabar's Fedrick Dacres' 2013 record of 19.29m. Warren Barrett of Calabar was second with 18.75m.

Manchester High won the medley relay in 3:28.50 minutes just ahead of KC with 3:28.93 as KC picked up 10 points and reduced Calabar's lead to 36 points.

But Michael O'Hara brought the house down with a stupendous second-leg setting the tone for Calabar's scintillating 39.10 seconds record in the Class One 4x100m relay. It was O'Hara's fourth gold of the shampionships and they bettered their own record set last year of 39.35 seconds.

In Class Two, JC ran a very good 40.89 seconds to win ahead of St Jago with 41.10 and KC third in 41.73.

KC got three valuable points in the Class Three 4x100 finishing second in 43.17 second behind JC in 42.97 seconds. KC would pick up 11 more points in the Class One high jump after Christopher Bryan (2.08m) and Trevaughn Brown (2.05m) finished third and fourth. The event was won by St Jago's Romario Douglas with a height of 2.16m. JC's Clayton Brown was second with 2.11m.

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