IT'S ON! - Digicel Western Champs end today

Observer writer

Saturday, February 16, 2019

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SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — A battle royal is expected today with defending champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and Petersfield High battling for the boys' section of the County of Cornwall Athletics Association (COCAA) Digicel Western Championships at the St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex, Santa Cruz, with the first event set to run off at 9:00 am.

A scant eight-and-a-half points separate the two schools after 11 finals were completed on Tuesday's eliminations at Herbert Morrison Technical in Montego Bay with Petersfield High, on the basis of their superiority in the throws, leading with 99.50 points to STETHS's 91 points, followed by former champions Cornwall College in third place on 74 points.

Both coaches were confident yesterday with STETHS's Reynaldo Walcott telling the Jamaica Observer: “I am confident we will win,” while Petersfield High's Machell Woolery saying: “That is our aim to win and we are going after it.”

Meanwhile, the odds are for a third-straight win for the Rusea's High girls, who led after nine finals on Thursday's elimination day in Lucea with 91 points, 23 more than second-placed STETHS on 68 with Petersfield High further back on 49.

Roderick Myles, the Rusea's High coach, was not willing to predict that his charges would win. “We have our objectives but I won't make any prediction out of respect for the other schools.”

He said they came up a bit short on their projections from Thursday. “We are targeting 400 points; we have a more balanced team this year and we expect to score points in just about every area.”

Myles was pleased with what he saw in the sprints on Thursday. “We will score good points in the 100m and 200m based on what I saw in the semi-finals. We are satisfied up to this point.”

In the boys' section, Walcott said they had done better than expected on Tuesday. “Petersfield was always going to do well in the throws but we stayed close and we are closer than where we would have been in past years and this gives us confidence as we have enough qualifiers for the finals to retain our title.”

Woolery gave his team “a fighting chance” to overthrow the champions. “We will be top two at the very least as we have qualifiers in all areas.”

The Class One boys' sprints promise to be competitive with Sachin Dennis not turning up for the first rounds on Tuesday, leaving a handful of athletes to battle for the medals.

The STETHS pair of Conroy Jones, Dashinelle Dyer and Cornwall College's Ackeem Gordon were all under 10.90 seconds in the semi-finals of the 100m, while Green Island High's Davis Tomlinson and William Knibb Memorial's Andre Bent as well as Merlene Ottey High's Ackeem Blake all in with a shot.

Jones, Gordon and defending champion Kevon Stone of Petersfield were the top qualifiers in the 200m.

Herbert Morrison's Deandre Daley looks poised to take the Class Three double with the trio of Cornwall College's Zachary Cox, Green Island's Geomar Russell and Belmont Academy's Daniel Beckford all set to battle it out in Class Four.

Petersfield High's Antonio Watson, one of the stars of the championships, will be looking for the double in the Class One 400m and 400m hurdles Open.

While Watson will start the favourite to win the quartermile, he will have stiff competition in the intermediate hurdle from Rusea's High's Brithon Senior, STETHS's Dyer and B B Coke's Javed Jones, who topped the semi-finals with 55.40 seconds.

Petersfield High's Ockera Myrie will start favourite to win the Class One girls' sprint double, but Rusea's High's Lashawn Haye, Shanice Brooks of Lacovia High and Spot Valley High's Leyone Smith will be going after medals as well.

Boys points standing after 11 finals

1) Petersfield High 99.50

2) STETHS 91

3) Cornwall College 74

4) Rusea's High 45.50

5) Herbert Morrison 19

6) Manning's School 18

7) Munro College 16

8) Green Island High 10

9) Lewisville High 8

10) Lacovia High 6

10) Rhodes Hall High 6

12) B B Coke High 5

13) William Knibb Mem 4

14) Muschett High 2

14) Frome Technical 2

Girls' points standings after nine finals

1) Rusea's High 91

2) STETHS 68

3) Petersfield High 49

4) Manning's School 47

5) Mt Alvernia High 36

6) Irwin High 10

7) Montego Bay High 7

8) Newell High 6

9) St James High 4

10) B B Coke High 3

11) Rhodes Hall High 2

11) William Knibb Mem 2

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