CATHERINE HALL, St James — A number of the island's top high school teams as well as a number of top professional athletes are expected to be on show today at the 35th staging of the Milo Western Relays at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, starting at 12 noon.
A record number of 102 entries — most with male and female with just under 1,500 athletes — are expected to take part in the meet led by the powerful MVP Track Club, reigning ISSA Girls Champions Edwin Allen High School as well as other top schools, clubs and institutions.
The meet starts at noon with the sprint hurdles in five classes, three for boys and two for girls, that were included by the meet organisers to assist high school athletes to make ISSA National High School Championships qualification marks.
Meet director Ray Harvey told the Jamaica Observer yesterday they were ready for what he expects to be "another great show of Jamaica's depth of talent in track and field".
While pointing out that a number of teams that attended the meet on a regular basis had not sent in entries, Harvey said, "we still managed to get record numbers" as a number of new schools and teams that showed growth in the sport have submitted entries.
In addition to the sprint hurdles that will be contested for boys classes one, two and three and the girls classes one and two. The organisers have also reintroduced the Women's Open 100m
IAAF World Junior Championships gold medallists Delano Williams of Munro College and Janieve Russell formerly of Holmwood Technical who will be competing for the University of Technology, will be recognised as the outstanding junior athletes of 2012, while Munro College head coach Neil Harrison will be the meet patron.
The competition is expected to be fierce with a number of top teams testing their readiness for the upcoming ISSA Boys and Girls Champs that are just over a month away while a number of seniors will be making their seasonal debuts.
Michael Dyke's Edwin Allen girls dominated their events last year, sweeping all four 4x100m relays as well as the 4x200m open, while Kingston College won three of four 4x100m relays as well as the 4x800m and Class Two 4x200m.
Both will be back and at full strength, but can expect to be challenged.
Holmwood Technical, who are expected to challenge Edwin Allen for the Girls Champs title, will seek to top their one relay win last year, while western schools Munro College and Green Island who surprised with two big wins last year and Wolmers Boys will give Kingston College competition.
The clubs/institutions section will have lots of fire power with full-strength MVP teams in all relays.
The MVP men lost the 4x100m for the first time last year when they were edged at the line by a team from SWEPT TC who will not be back this year to defend their title.
Sprint Tech, GC Foster, UWI and UTech will, however, be aiming at the men's relays titles.
MVP women and UTech shared the major titles last year and are expected to provide the major competitions today.
The individual events are also expected to be of a high level as three of six champions from last year will be back to defend tites.
Wolmer's Boys' Christoff Bryan, who set a personal best 2.20m, the meet record last year, will lead the Men's high jump field, while Kingston College's World Junior Championships representative Clive Pullen leads a big field of 28 competitors in the Men's long jump Open.
Leon Wray and Darrel Edwards of UWI will also take part in the long jump.
Many-time national junior representative Kimberly Williamson of UTech will lead the women's open high jump field, while St Elizabeth Technical's Opal James should win the long jump Open.
Kurt Brown, who ran a meet record 8:24.26 last year, will be back to defend his men's Open 3,000m title.