Having finished a disappointing fourth in each of the last two Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Girls' Championships, Holmwood Technical are quietly confident that 2023 could be their year to return the girls' title to the parish of Manchester.
Holmwood, who were once a dominant force at the Girls' Championships, won nine-straight titles from 2003 to 2011 before relinquishing their crown to Edwin Allen High in 2012.
They returned to capture the championships in 2013, but since then they have endured some tough times at the event.
In fact, the Christiana-based institution could only manage 174 points at last year's championships, which was won by their rivals Edwin Allen (352 points).
The Dave Anderson-coached team has shown signs of being a major contender this year after an excellent performance at the Central Championships, finishing third with 330 points. The event was won by Hydel High with 357.5 points, just ahead of Edwin Allen (357).
"The last two years we were way off, but this time around we are not that far [off]," Anderson said.
"For sure, the expectations will be much higher than the last two years based off the season so far. And at the Central Championships recently, we would have garnered almost twice the [number] of points that we would have gotten the last two years [at Girls Champs], hence the expectations will be based off those performances so far," he said.
"We will be disappointed if we don't move up the position table this year but to say where we will finish at the end of the championships is still not something that I have gone through with my coaching staff. But for sure, we are definitely looking to move up the table this year.
"However, it is a championship and the fact that we came that close at Central Champs shows us that if we are able to execute over the five days, with no injuries, persons lifting their performances then it is quite possible for us to win," he noted.
Holmwood will be banking on their Captain Rickiann Russell, who has been dominating the Class One 400 metres this season. Cedrick Williams is also expected to dominate the Class One shot put and discus events for Holmwood.
Kiara Miekle, Jody-Ann Mitchell and Cindy Rose along with Ugandan Florence Nafamba will also lead Holmwood's charge for a victory at the Championships.
Anderson said he is expecting a great show from his athletes, providing they remain healthy.
"My athletes are feeling very confident because for the most part most persons are injury free and they are operating at a hundred per cent," he said.
"But some are a little bit off, but we are trying to use the next few days to get them up to that optimum mental and physical shape that they can turn up at the championships and give of their best. The team is very optimistic and they are very unified at this moment," Anderson said.
The 2023 ISSA Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships is slated for March 28 to April 1 at the National Stadium.