Despite winning last year's ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' Championships title by more than 70 points, a confident Dave Myrie, principal of Kingston College (KC), says the reigning champions are not taking anything for granted as they brace for what is expected to be a close sprint to the crown.
KC tallied 372 points last year to reclaim the title from 2021 champions Jamaica College (JC), who managed 300.83 points to finish second.
Many-time champions Calabar High placed third overall with 170 points, followed closely by St Jago High with 147; Edwin Allen 94; St Elizabeth Technical High 87; Wolmer's Boys' 61; Excelsior High 51; Herbert Morrison Technical High 35.5; and Petersfield High on 25 — the top ten finishers.
However the 'Purples' have seen some excellent performances from their athletes this season, particularly from the likes of sprinter Bouwahjgie Nkrumie and record-breaking 400m hurdler Antonio Forbes.
Nkrumie, who is the reigning world Under-20 100m silver medallist, is currently the fastest Jamaican junior athlete going into the Boys' Championships with a time of 10.18 seconds.
Meanwhile, Forbes has been having an outstanding year in the one-lap obstacle event and is the top high school athlete in the country over the distance this season with a time of 50.68 seconds.
However, KC (427 points) was made to sweat at the recent Corporate Area Championships, barely managing to outpower the surprising Calabar (417) in their tune-up for their Champs title defence.
Myrie is well aware of the threats ahead and is keeping his feet on the ground ahead of the March 28 -April 1 spectacle.
"I am feeling pretty good, pretty okay. All the guys need to do is go out there and execute as the coaches have actually dealt with them," said Myrie. "I think it is going to be more competitive this year than other years.
"I look at Calabar and they have come through, they have done very well; Corey [Bennett] has done a great job in the short time he has been there," Myrie said, while pointing to the Corporate Area Championships as evidence of Calabar's improvements.
"If you look at the Corporate Area Championships you can see that it is going to be a competitive thing, and then when all the other schools elsewhere around Jamaica come in, then I expect it is going to be quite a spectacle," said the veteran school administrator.
"It is not going to be a runaway for anybody; I think it is going to be a fairly competitive championship." The North Street-based institution, who won their first Boys' Championships in 1937, will be aiming for their 34th hold on the Mortimer Geddes Trophy this year.
Myrie shared that his athletes and coaching staff are well equipped to handle the huge pressure that is placed upon them on what is expected to be five days of gruelling competition inside the National Stadium. "I think KC understands that KC is always under pressure. Whether there is competition or not, KC is always under pressure," said Myrie.
"Everybody is always looking out and saying KC this, KC that, and so I think our boys have learned that KC is always pressured."