Herbert Morrison sound warning with impressive

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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Herbert Morrison Technical High School may not boast a vast number in their track and field programme, but head coach Claude Grant believes the athletes they have possess enough quality to give a good account in their respective events at the upcoming ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships in March.

Grant, who has harnessed talent at Herbert Morrison to include, but not limited to, Dexter Lee, Antonique Campbell, Everton Clarke and Romona Burchell, all of whom have gone on to represent Jamaica at the senior level, made the declaration after his charges continued to gather momentum at the 15th staging of the Camperdown Classics inside the National Stadium on Saturday.

Though Herbert Morrison is no longer viewed as the darling track and field programme of the western region, as it was in the past, they have maintained a presence in the top 25 schools on both sides of the card at Champs with athletes like high jumper Daniella Anglin, springing top-notch performances to outshine their more illustrious rivals.

Anglin, the winner of the Class Two event last year with a height of 1.80m, has signalled her intention early ahead of the five-day championships, as she topped the field at the Classics, clearing the bar at 1.65m. She finished ahead of Buff Bay's Jamara Scott, who also cleared 1.65m and Abigail Wilks (1.60m) of Wolmer's Girls.

However, Deandre Daley, another young sensation from the St James-situated school, is also making the rounds on the radar, following his brisk 11.10-clocking in the boys' Class Three 100-metre dash.

Depite being small in numbers, Grant is of the view that it is not the number of athletes produced that makes a programme successful, instead it is the calibre of those athletes that truly defines a school's track and field programme.

“Herbert Morrison is a school that has done well in the past and continue to do well. We don't have a bulk of athletes like some schools but the athletes that we do have, we treat them very well. We give them the best in terms of coaching and what the school has to offer, so therefore if they come there, then they will do well because we do have a quality programme there.

“So it is not the number of athletes you have but it is about the quality athletes, so if you have quality athletes then your programme will do well because the coaching is there at Herbert Morrison,” Grant told the Jamaica Observer.

Daley, who recently clocked 11.4 on the grass surface at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), displayed even better form on the synthetic strip, as his winning time was registered in a negative 0.9 metres per second wind speed. Dynamic Speed's Dominic Byles (11.26), son of the meet's honoree Errol Byles, who also sponsored the event, was second with Omario Henry (11.32) of Calabar, third.

The smooth-striding 13-year-old Daley is viewed as possibly the next big thing to come from Herbert Morrison since Lee, one of few boys to have won the 100m in all three classes at Champs.

But coach Grant was tentative in drawing that conclusion, as the sprinter continues his superb progression.

“He [Deandre] trains well, he listens and we work well together in terms of moving him forward from one point to the next. The objective for him is to perform well in Class Three and we keep him there and then gradually get better over the years,” noted Grant, who guided Lee to two World Under-20 Championships 100m titles.

The veteran, Grant also boast the distinction of guiding the decorated Veronica Campbell-Brown during her 2011 IAAF World Championships 200m gold medal performance in Daegu, South Korea.

“I have coached a lot of athletes over the years who have done well, but to be true he [Deandre] performs very well and he is coachable and I like that, so based on that I guess we will see where the talent takes him going forward. I don't normally put pressure on athletes like that because they are student-athletes and the objective is to get them prepared for them to do well as they transition each year. So at Champs, I think he will do well,” the coach ended.

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