STETHS, Rusea's retain COCAA Western Champs titles


STETHS, Rusea's retain COCAA Western Champs titles

By Paul A Reid
Observer writer

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Defending champions St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) boys and Rusea's High School girls retained their titles with comfortable wins on Saturday's third day of the County of Cornwall Athletics Association (COCAA) Western Championships held at St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex in Santa Cruz.

Despite trailing in the points tables after their respective elimination competitions, both schools dominated Saturday's finals and won their sections by comfortable margins.

STETHS amassed 455 points, more than the 424 they tallied last year, as Cornwall College, the leaders entering the final day, continued their improvement to place second with 309.5 points, 57 more than 2019 and the most they have scored in well over a decade. Petersfield High School dropped out of the top two for the first time in years as they placed third with 244 points, Herbert Morrison Technical High School were fourth with 170.5, while Manning's School and Lacovia High School were tied for fifth on 79 each.

Rusea's High School won their third-straight girls' title, scoring 400.5 points, just under the 411 they scored last year. STETHS got back into the top two with 353 points, Petersfield High School finished third with 236.5, Herbert Morrison Technical High School were fourth with 84, and Mt Alvernia High ended fifth with 79.5 points.

On the boys' side STETHS started the day by winning three of the four sprint hurdles titles, while Cornwall College responded late taking three of the four sprint relays on offer.

Nine records were broken on Saturday, including three of the girls' long jumps with Mt Alvernia High's Aaliyah Foster's 5.95m in Class Three being the standout performance, while Rusea's High's Monique Stewart broke two marks — the Class Three 800m and 1,500m.

There were three girls' 800m/1,500m doubles on the day, as STETHS's Shadae Findley also won in Class One, and Rusea's High's Oneika Brissett took the Class Two equivalent.

STETHS's Davian Grey took the Class One boys' 800m and the 5,000m Open double, one of six boys to win doubles in the championships.

There were some disappointments when Mt Alvernia High's talented Carleta Bernard, who looked on course to break both records in the Class Three 100m and 200m, pulled up near the end of the 100m and was withdrawn from the championships.

Rusea's High's Lavanya Williams took full advantage of Bernard's absence, winning the double and breaking the 200m record in the process, running 24.07 seconds, under the 24.39 seconds set in 2005 by William Knibb Memorial's Tanisha Tennant.

She ran 12.20 seconds to win the 100m, her teammate Crystal Chambers took the silver in 12.30 seconds, and Bernard managed to take third with 12.50 seconds.

Also, STETHS's Sachin Dennis, who returned to competition this season after a two-year hiatus due to injuries and illness, did not show up for the Class One 100m but that did not take away from the drama.

STETHS's Conroy Jones improved on his second place last year to land gold in 10.72 seconds, edging Merlene Ottey High's Ackeem Blake, who got the silver in 10.73 seconds, upgrading on his bronze last year, while Rusea's High's Raheim Scott was third in 10.75 seconds.

There was no stopping Petersfield High's Antonio Watson in the Class One 200m, as he started his celebrations from 10 metres out to win in a decent 21.36 seconds from Blake, who ran 21.49 seconds, and Scott with 21.53 seconds seconds.

Petersfield High's Shaquena Foote won the 400m hurdles/400m double to end her Western Champs career on a high.

She retained the hurdles title with one minute 00.24 seconds, beating STETHS's Danalee Brock (1:05.58 minutes), and Rusea's High's Michelle Cruickshank (1:06.96 minutes).

She returned to win the quarter-mile in 54.32 seconds, beating Rusea's High's Aalliyah Francis (55.42 seconds), and Alliyah McNeil of STETHS (57.49 seconds).

Cornwall College's Tarique Gooden was a surprise winner in the Class One 400m hurdles, running a personal best 53.86 seconds, holding off STETHS's Winston Harrison (54.30 seconds), and Petersfield High's Jamar Pearce who survived a crash to take the bronze in 55.86 seconds.

Foster's 5.95m jump beat the 5.82m set in 2017 by Rusea's High's Nia Robinson, as STETHS's Habiba Harris was second with 5.44m, and Petersfield High's Asheika Palmer third with 5.39m.

Jodian Stewart of STETHS set a new Class One long jump record with a mark of 5.88m, beating the 5.75m set in 2017 by Rusea's High's Myesha Nott, with teammate Tasheka Cordwell taking second with 5.73m.

Lewisville High's Deodora Griffiths broke the Class Four record with a best mark of 5.08m, just better than the 2003 mark of 5.06m set by Mt Alvernia High's Yushanni Durrant, with STETHS's Yuleea Parchment second with 5.04m.

Monique Stewart set a new Class Three 800m record of two minutes 15.48 seconds, under the 2:16.67 set by Tara Bert of Rusea's High in 2015, as the Albert Town pair of Neon Smith (2:24.99 minutes) and Samantha Grant (2:25.06 minutes) took second and third, respectively.

Later in the day, Stewart returned to run 4:56.62 minutes to smash the 5:13.87 minutes set in 2017 by Maggotty High's Patrice Facey by just over 17 seconds.

STETHS's Euvia Bennett took the silver in 5:09.60 minutes, also under the old mark, with Albert Town's Smith taking the bronze with 5:19.75 minutes.

Maggotty High's Chareho Conally broke the one-year-old mark in the Class Four boys' 1,500m when he ran 4:43.64 minutes to lower the 4:48.57 minutes set by STETHS's Gage Buggam. Damontre Smith of STETHS was second in 4:43.99, also under the old record, with Albert Town's Mickeal Gayle third in 4:58.72 minutes.

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