Sport

Calabar take boys' trophy again

Champs boys send chilling warning with ruinous record-shattering form

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 30, 2014    

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CALABAR High easily captured their third consecutive ISSA GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships and their 24th overall on a pulsating final day of action in which Javon Francis erased Usain Bolt's 400m record at the National Stadium yesterday.

Despite the early hiccups, the green-and-black-clad boys from Red Hills Road sorted out their glitches and easily dispatched their rivals, rattling up 305 points to win by a huge 96.5-point margin. KC finished second with 208.5 ahead of JC in third with 190 points. St Jago with 158.5 were fourth ahead of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) on 123 points.

It was a more than deserved victory for Calabar as they showed tremendous all-round strength to secure one of the biggest winning margins in the boys' section for years.

Overall, 14 boys records were broken. Among them St Jago, with 3:08.31 minutes, erased Munro College's 3:09.21 in the 4X400m. STETHS also dipped below the previous record with 3:08.67 minutes for second, while Calabar finished fourth in 3:12.32 without the injured Javon Francis.

Calabar started the day in second spot on 105 points, one behind Jamaica College with 106 with Kingston College faltering in third with 81.5, and by time the 400m was completed, the writing was on the wall. Calabar rattled up 36 points, KC got 16 and JC garnered only four points.

Francis, the World Championship 4x400 relay silver medallist, went out like a bullet reminiscent of his heroics at Moscow last year, and in a sustained performance of speed and stamina, he lowered Bolt's Class One 11-year-old record of 45.35 seconds to 45.00 flat.

It is a world-leading time by Francis, who bettered the time 45.03 seconds of Brazil's Anderson Henriques done on March 14.

Francis also surpassed Jamaica's Edino Steele's 45.44 seconds.

St Jago's Nathon Allen was second in a respectable 46.16 with Lenox Williams of Manchester finishing third in 46.48 seconds.

Class Three record holder Christopher Taylor got things rolling, easily winning in 48.80 seconds and pulled his teammate Brandon Heath into second in 50.50 seconds. That was 16 massive points for Calabar with both JC and KC failing to add to their tally.

KC responded in Class Two picking maximum 16 points courtesy of Donte Williams and Nathaniel Bann in 47.94 and 48.01 seconds, respectively. But Calabar picked up 11 massive points, finishing third and fourth with Anthony Carpenter and Aykeeme Francis in 48.21 and 48.68 seconds, respectively.

Devon Spencer of STETHS broke the Javelin Open record, throwing 64.08m ahead of favourite Orlando Thomas of KC who was second with 60.29m and also went above the previous record of 59.66 held by KC's Zaavan Richards set in 2013. Calabar's Adrian Mitchell and Najair Jackson were third and fifth with 56.14m and 52.32m, respectively.

By that time, their school had opened up a 41-point lead after 22 finals.

The irrepressible Jaheel Hyde of Wolmer's completed the hurdles double chasing and catching Tyler Mason of JC in 110m event winning in 13.53 seconds to Mason's 13.55 seconds.

Hyde, the 2013 World Youth Championship record holder, who on Friday broke the 400m hurdles in 49.49 seconds, sprinted another 300 metres to celebrate in front of his adoring school fans waving their gold and maroon flags.

Young Devaughn Gayle gave Spot Valley High probably their first win at Champs as he took the Class Three 800m in 2:02.06 minutes, holding off the tall and powerful-looking Andrew Ashby of Calabar High in 2:02.18.

Following the completion of the 800 metres, Calabar had established a 72-point lead, racing to 200 points after 28 finals. Despite Jorel Bellafonte pulling out of the Class One 800m, his teammate Raja Hamilton outgunned the two Spalding runners in defending champion Kevon Robinson and Chadoye Dawson.

Hamilton won in 1:51.41 minutes ahead of Robinson in 1:51.76. Dawson did 1:52.41 for third.

By the end of the 200m, at approximately 5:50 pm, Calabar opened up a 79-point lead entering the relays. As the bright light of the sun went down, so did the chances of both KC and JC at that point and had officially kissed Champs goodbye.

However, in the Class One 200m, the hearts of Calabar's fans and wider Jamaicans, briefly stopped when the affable Francis pulled up while chasing Jevaughn Minzie 25 metres out from the line. But at the end, it was not that bad as he walked across the line and earned a point for his team then walked strongly back to the Stadium East Calabar tent.

In the absence of Zharnel Hughes of KC, Minzie comfortably won in 20.50 seconds ahead of the late- finishing Martin Manley in 20.73 seconds. Calabar's Michael O'Hara, running out of lane eight, finished third in a disappointing 20.86.

Tyreke Wilson completed the sprint double in Class Three and in the process broke the 200m record with 21.72 seconds. It was the eighth boys record of the meet. The previous record was held by KC's Jhevaughn Matherson of 21.87 last year.

But Matherson continued to amaze, and at 15-years-old, he ran an astonishing 20.97 seconds to win the Class Two final ahead of the 100 record holder Raheem Chambers of St Jago in 21.19 seconds. KC's pre-race favourite Akeem Bloomfield withdrew due to injury.

The famed Purples from North Street, greeted the relays with a smashing run to erase the long standing 24-year-old Medley Open record of 3:37.23 minutes. KC with a magnificent 800m anchor leg from Miguel Morrison, stopped the clock at 3:25.78 minutes. Second- placed Calabar also went under the previous record with 3:26.01 minutes.

Not to be outdone, World Youth high jump bronze medallist Christoffe Bryan of Wolmers upgraded his Class One high jump record twice from 2.19m to 2.23m.

Calabar running without Javon Francis broke the Class One 4x100 relay record of 39.78 and lowered it to 39.35 seconds. JC also dipped below the previous record with 39.69 seconds in second.

KC responded in Class Two with Matherson and won in 40.89 seconds. The champions returned in Class Three and set another record of 41.81 seconds for the 4x100m relay. It was the 13th boys record of the meet.

OBrian Frith of Holmwood Technical completed his double easily winning the 5,000m in 15:31.71 minutes, having broken the 2,000m steeplechase record on Wednesday.

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