Holmwood rebound

Holmwood rebound

Stun Edwin Allen to claim 10th Girls’ Champs title

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 17, 2013

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IN a miraculous final day surge Holmwood Technical High overturned a 40-point deficit to regain their crown at the 103rd Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships by five points, after stunning the defending champions Edwin Allen High into second spot on a night of high drama.

The official Champs magazine had predicted Edwin Allen High to win comfortably by 81 points, but in the end, they lost to one of the biggest recoveries in recent times.

Holmwood finished on 310.5 points, five ahead of Edwin Allen with 305.5, for their 10th title in the last 11 years, and one of the sweetest and most memorable.

St Jago finished third with 208 points, ahead of Vere Technical, on 202, with the Hydel Group of Schools finishing fifth with 157.5 points.

With head coach Michael Dyke having led Edwin Allen to their first title last year, by over 100 points, there were talks of a dynasty, but Holmwood's head coach Maurice Wilson had promised that he wouldn't be sitting idly around, and he delivered an unlikely title to the maroon and gold team from Manchester.

The writing seemed to be on the wall from early for the girls from Frankfield, Clarendon, but Holmwood Technical surged impressively in the evening, to reduce the deficit to 16 points, then after the 1,600m Medley Relay, they had taken a slim one-point lead, 249.50 to Edwin Allen's 248.5 after 38 finals.

That lead was quickly extended to six points after taking second and fifth for 11 points in the 3,000m Open, with Edwin Allen picking up third and six points.

Holmwood further extended that lead to 10 points, after winning the Class One 4x100m relays, with Edwin Allen faltering into third, after a scorching anchor leg by Shericka Jackson propelled Vere into second.

It was now Holmwood on 272.5 with the faltering and stunned Edwin Allen in second on 262.5 points entering the Class Two 4x100m relay final.

The champions had to respond, and they didn't. Once again Edwin Allen finished behind second-placed Holmwood in fourth spot, that gap increased to 14 points and looking ominous with five finals remaining.

Edwin Allen finally got in front of Holmwood in the relays, placing second in the Class Three 4x100m with Holmwood down in seventh spot.

But Edwin Allen were never giving up and their Class Four girls finished second for 10 points and with Holmwood only managing seventh and three points, Edwin Allen had fought back to reduce the scores to just four points.

The lead was reduced even further to three points after Edwin Allen's Rashema Briscoe placed sixth in the Class One long jump compared to Holmwood's Tina Combs in seventh. The event was won by Opal James of St Elizabeth Technical with a leap of 5.84m.

And after 44 finals Edwin Allen had returned to the top by three points with 291.5 to Holmwood's 288.5 points, with the heptathlon and the 4x400m relay to be completed.

With an eerie tension inside the stadium and with the outstanding Gleneve Grange expected to win the gruelling heptathlon, Holmwood were sitting pretty and when it was official, Holmwood had regained the lead by three points.

The Manchester-based Holmwood Technical entered the final 4x400m relay event on 300.5 points, just ahead of Edwin Allen on 297.5, which meant Edwin Allen had to finish at least two places ahead of Holmwood.

Edwin Allen entered the race with a faster time of 3:44.06 minutes, compared to Holmwood's 3:45.53 minutes, but that didn't matter as Holmwood brilliantly anchored by Chris-Ann Gordon placed second in 3:37.04 to capture the Girls 10th.

Edwin Allen fought gallantly, but finished in third with 3:38.13 minutes, with Vere Technical being overshadowed despite smashing the record in 3:30.51 minutes.

It was also high drama in the Class Two 100m hurdles as the record holder from yesterday, Peta Gaye Williams of Camperdown High, false-started and was disqualified, and she was followed shortly by Tishanna Montieth of Vere Technical, who also received the red card for the same offence, thus reducing the field to just six runners. The event was won by Holmwood's Yanique Thompson in 13.44 seconds.

The outstanding and powerful Rushelle Burton kept St Andrew High in the highlights by once again breaking the Class Three 80m hurdles, lowering her previous record done the previous day of 11.27 to 11.13 seconds.

In the Class One final, St Jago's Chrisdale McCarthy won in 13.75 seconds and was followed home by her teammate Tatiana Wolfe. Holmwood's Shanette Allison ran 10.72 seconds to win the Class Four 70m hurdles, relegating Hydel's Joda Campbell into second with 10.84 seconds.

In one of the showdown events of the Championships, the Class One 400m, Sherika Jackson held off a heavy looking Chris-Ann Gordon and the 2011 World Youth bronze medallist Olivia James, winning in 51.60 seconds, outside the record of 51.13 held by Sonita Sutherland of Holmwood High since 2006.

Jackson showed her 200 sprinting prowess, as she went out early and never looked back. When Gordon challenged her with 250 metres out, Jackson responded in style and won comfortably in the end. Gordon finished second in 52.16, a far cry from her 51.62 she did as a Class Three athlete in 2011. James, looking one-paced throughout, clocked 52.92 for a disappointing third.

In Class Two, Yanique McNeil (53.40) showed rising star Tiffany James (54.29) a clear pair of heels with Donna-Lee Loney of Balaclavia High in third with 54.45 seconds.

Holmwood's Gleneve Grange continued her outstanding form breaking the Class One Shot Put with a heave of 13.00m ahead of rival Tara-Sue Barnett of Edwin Allen with 12.41m.

St Jago's Kimone Shaw was in record breaking form once again smashing the Class Four 200m in 24.28 seconds for her second record of the championships.

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