Maggotty High defy odds to snatch 10th place at ChampsTuesday, May 18, 2021
By Steve Cole
AS the curtains came down on the Inter-secondary School Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships, one may struggle to believe the schools which made the top 10 on the boys' side.
In 10th position was a school that has been below the radar all season. Maximising on quality over quantity, Maggotty High School, located in northern St Elizabeth, have somehow defied the odds and have brought glory to their neck of the woods.
Maggotty's top performance came from Class Three standout Zachary Wallace who won a silver medal in the 400m in 50.33 seconds and who later returned to garner sixth place in the 200m, both on Saturday's final day.
The other medallist was Class Three middle distance athlete Charehon Connelly, who fought bravely to secure silver for himself in the 1500m behind Tyrone Lawson of Jamaica College. Teammate Yoshane Bowen placed fifth in the same race.
Connelly was very unfortunate not to have earned even more points for his team as he was disqualified in the semi-final of the 800m for cutting in too early on the first curve. This after crossing the finish line in third and booking one of the “fastest losers” spots. In reflecting on his achievement, Connelly said, “I feel delighted in getting a silver medal at my first championship, and that is okay for now.”
Meanwhile, Wallace said, “I had faith in the plan that the coach and I worked on and that gave me the confidence to go and leave it all on the track. Even though I am satisfied with the silver, the gold was what I really wanted.”
While the girls were a bit further down the list in 26th position with five points, they too would have played their part in highlighting the track and field prowess. Shanniel Graham scored two points with a seventh-place finish in the Class One 1500m and the sprint medley relay team finished in seventh place, also for the other three points.
Coach Terone Miller highlighted that it was his vision to make a mark on the track and field scene in 2021. Despite falling short of his objective of 30 points he was thankful for the achievements of his young team. “Maggotty's last Champs medal was in 1997 and finally, we have broken the drought. The personal sacrifices were many, including financially and otherwise.”
He went on to express appreciation for the input and support from his management staff, principal and house mother throughout the period.
Principal Sean Graham was very elated at his school's achievement, highlighting the fact that this was so much more than a sporting success, as it was rather a story of resilience and triumph against the odds. “Our theme for this year is 'Excellence amidst adversity' and this is what we proved to ourselves and to others – that we can still achieve excellence, no matter the circumstances.
“I want to also express heartiest congratulations to ISSA on staging a successful meet and allowing the students to showcase their talent. Maggotty has already produced national-level athletes in Rhonda Whyte, Janoy Thompson and more recently Kaydron Goldson and so I want the programme to continue and to get stronger. We'll be looking to kick-start the field events side of the programme and crave support from the community, the political directorate and past students.”
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