RELAY MISHAPS in the preliminary round may yet hurt the chances of defending girls champions Edwin Allen High and boys contenders Jamaica College (JC) winning, as action continued on yesterday’s third day of competition at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships at the National Stadium.
In what is expected to be a very close contest between Edwin Allen and Hydel High for top honours among the females, and defending champions Kingston College (KC) and JC for the boys’ title, there is literally little or no room for error among the big two on either side.
The boys from Old Hope Road, JC, suffered the most as they are out of two 4x100 metres finals, races in which they were expected to score quality points.
In the first instance, their Class Two quartet failed to finish after the baton was dropped on the first exchange. Then, a few minutes later, there was more disaster as Mark Anthony Miller, who had advanced to the 400 metres final, failed to hand over the baton on the second leg, after pulling up lame in the Class One sprint relay.
“We are in the middle of the championships trying to put people in the finals,” said Leaford Grant, KC’s head coach. “Today was a good day for us, especially in the sprint relays where we are through to all the finals, as we look forward to pounce.”
On the girls’ side, it was a case of more agony for Edwin Allen. After losing the services of team leader Serena Cole, who pulled out of the Championships on Wednesday after suffering a hamstring injury on her way to winning the 100-metre semi-final, their Class Two 4x100 metres relay team was disqualified for false-starting.
“Today, it did not go as we would have liked. We suffered a few mishaps, disappointments here and there, but, overall, we’re still optimistic that things could change tomorrow,” said Michael Dyke, Edwin Allen’s head coach. “This is a championship and many things can happen. You’ll have mishaps, it’ll never be perfect. But we’re still fighting and the girls realise what is happening and they’re prepared to take on the challenge and continue the fight right to the end.”
Hydel, who are hoping to benefit from Edwin Allen’s misfortune, also had a hiccup in the relays, as their Class Three team was also disqualified.
Several other big teams suffered misfortune in having their team eliminated from relay for a false start, including St Jago High’s Class Three female team and Calabar High’s Class Three relay quartet.
Based on qualification for today’s finals, which consists of seven events for the girls and six for the boys, Edwin Allen and Kingston College (KC) have benefited the most from yesterday’s slip-ups, and will go into tomorrow’s final day full of confidence.
In today’s 400m hurdles for Class Two boys, KC, with Taj O’Neil Gordon and Jordan Taylor, both ranked in the top four, should outscore JC’s Rojay Black, who is ranked seventh. In Class One, KC also hold the edge with Antonio Forbes, who should go all the way and finish ahead of JC’s Princewel Martin, who is ranked seventh.
Ainsley Campbell, winner of the Open 1,500m and Darnell Campbell, also of KC, are ranked first and second in the 2,000m steeplechase, but JC’s Tyrone Lawson and Nellie Ambriton are ranked in the top five.
In the Class One triple jump, JC will advance big by collecting a quinella and 16 points through Trevon Watson and Uroy Ryan, while KC won’t have a representative.
At the day’s end, KC look set to outscore JC 59-38.
Edwin Allen should score 12 points in the 2,000m steeplechase through Sushaba Johnson and Sanyae Gibson, and both schools are evenly matched in the 400m hurdles where Edwin Allen High’s Tonyann Beckford is the top qualifier and her teammate Natasha Fox is ranked fifth. Hydel’s Oneika McAnuff, the defending champion and second-ranked Aaliah Baker will make this race a top-notch affair.
Boys: KC 124, JC 121, Calabar 70
Girls: Hydel 98, Edwin Allen 87, Holmwood 71.5