SWEET SEVEN - Edwin Allen girls defend title for 7th-straight year
'These girls are true champions!' •Coach Dyke says Edwin Allen triumphed against odds to retain Champs crownSunday, May 16, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
DESPITE what Head Coach Michael Dyke described as “challenged from the very start and even through this week”, Edwin Allen High completed the defence of their ISSA/GraceKennedy Girls' title as the first-ever Champs to be run in a pandemic came to a close yesterday at the National Stadium.
Edwin Allen amassed 340 points to deny the chasing St Jago High (309.5 points) and Hydel (301 points), with Holmwood Technical a distant fourth with 160.5 and Vere Technical rounding out the top five with 128 points.
Dyke, however, thought had things been better they could have scored more than 400 points, telling the Jamaica Observer “it was rough, but these girls are true champions and they rose to the occasion”.
The Edwin Allen head coach said after the disruptions in training due to the coronavirus pandemic and also a reduction in the financing of the programme, this week they faced “many mishaps, injuries and disqualifications”.
The disqualification of Tia Clayton for a false start in the final of the Class Two 100m on Thursday could have been much worse had her twin sister Tina not won.
Dyke said: “But we regained our composure and took it in stride.”
Rusea's High's Aalliyah Francis, however, stole the show on the last day with her brilliant double, winning the Class One 200m/400m on a day when the usual tens of thousands of vocal fans were missed in a cavernous National Stadium, even as the organisers attempted to add atmosphere with piped-in crowd noise.
There were four other natable double winners — Tina Clayton of Edwin Allen in Class Two, Lavanya Williams of Rusea's High in Class Three and Theianna-Lee Terrelonge of Edwin Allen High in Class Three all won their 200m finals yesterday to complete the sprint double. St Jago High's Shantae Foreman won the Class One long and high jump titles.
There was a second Champs record on the girls' side as the Edwin Allen High Class Two 4x100m team easily won in 44.81 seconds, beating the 44.88 secods set by another Edwin Allen team in 2015.
Francis, who was also a runner-up to last year but who came out blazing this season, was one of the athletes who was expected to perform – and she never dissappinted.
Yesterday morning she won her first Champs gold medal when she outclassed a solid Class One 400m field to win in a personal best 52.51 seconds, holding off Hydel High's Garriel White, the 400m hurdles champion from Friday, who was second in a personal best 52.77 seconds and Vere Technical's Annalee Robinson who was third in 53.35 seconds.
Later in the day she returned to take her second gold in the the 200m, just missing her personal best in that race by running 23.85 seconds (-3.1m/s) into a strong headwind, beating Edwin Allen's Bethany Bridge (24.25 seconds) with St Jago High's Joanne Reid third in 24.42 seconds.
Foreman, who had won the high jump on Tuesday with a personal best 1.84m, took the long jump with another personal best 6.43m (0.9m/s), fourth best in the world for women Under-20 and a World Under-20 championships qualifying mark.
She also won a third gold, anchoring the St Jago High Class One 4x100m relay team, with a blistering run, coming from third to get to the line first.
Edwin Allen's Ackelia Smith, the triple jump Open winner, was second with a wind-aided 6.16m (2.2m/s) with Hydel High's Velecia Williams taking third with a wind-aided 5.87m (3.4m/s).
Clayton won her second indvidual gold, running 23.45 seconds (-3.2m/s) to land the Class Two 200m; Hydel's Alana Reid was second in 24.29 seconds, and her teammate Oneika McAnuff third in 24.57 seconds.
Rusea's High's Williams had a great first Champs as she added the 200m gold in 24.50 seconds (-1.3), easily ahead of Hydel's Jody-Ann Daley (25.02 seconds) and St Elizabeth Technical's Habiba Harris (25.10 seconds).
Terrelonge was again peerless in Class Four as she won with 25.35 seconds (-2.1m/s), beating St Jago's Poshanna-Lee Blake (25.78 seconds) and Hydel's Tihanna Reid (25.80 seconds).
Clarendon College's impressive Dejanea Oakley took the Class 2 400m, running 52.51 seconds to deny the Hydel pair of McAnnuff (52.54 seconds) and Alliah Baker (54.35 seconds).
Abigail Campbell scored all of Ferncourt High's nine points when she won the Class Three 400m, the first track event of the day, running 54.86 seconds and outclassing Vere Technical's Shevaughn Thomas (55.96 seconds) and St Catherine High's Kitania Headley (56.08 seconds).
Alesia Douglas of St Jago High, who was fifth in the Class Two 800m in 2019, won the Class One gold yesterday, running 2:10.54 minutes; her teammate Sancia Smith took the silver with 2:10.58; and Jessica McLean of Edwin Allen took the bronze with 2:11.97.
Rickeisha Simms of Edwin Allen High won Class Two in 2:08.76 seconds, ahead of Jodyann Mitchell of Holmwood Technical (2:09.19 minutes), the same position she took in Class Three in 2019, with Eastern Champs winner Shone Walters of St Mary High taking third in 2:10.64.
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