Champs going down to the wire
Fierce KC-JC battle looms for boys’ title; Edwin Allen, Hydel set for girls’ showdown
LEADING CONTENDERS will be involved in a race right down to the wire for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletic Championships.
The championships, which is undoubtedly the greatest high school track and field meet in the world, begins today at 9 a.m. at the National Stadium and continues through to Saturday.
It will be five days of intense and epic rivalry as defending champions Kingston College (KC) and Edwin Allen High will be hoping to hold on to the Mortimer Geddes Trophy (boys) and Girls' Champs titles. The Purples are seeking title number 34, while Edwin Allen's girls are hunting their 10th crown.
Leaford Grant, head coach of KC, is full of optimism.
“We're expecting to compete as defending champions. The boys are upbeat, the boys are ready to go tomorrow and at the end of the day we're expecting to win,” Grant said.
Michael Dyke, head coach of Edwin Allen, is equally confident that they will retain their crown.
“The vibes in the camp is okay. In the past three weeks we have had some good results as there were lots of improvements, and the girls are ready to deliver,” said Dyke. “We are confident of retaining our title.”
On today's opening day of competition, no points are up for grabs as there will be preliminary-round action in 24 track and seven field events. Although there will not be any final, performance and fitness will be very crucial for all contending teams as any mishap could prove devastating going forward because there is no real margin for error.
Today's action will include the preliminary round of the blue riband 100 metres in all classes, where World Under-20 silver medallist Serena Cole of Edwin Allen and Bouwahjgie Nkrumie of Kingston College, the World Athletics Under-20 champion, will be involved in Class One action.
The Kingston College team is expected to be pressed all the way by 2021 champions Jamaica College (JC) as both teams are loaded in Class One and Two with very talented athletes lined up for an extremely fierce battle. The boys from Old Hope Road, JC, are expected to hold the lead at the end of competition tomorrow and Thursday, while the boys from North Street, KC, are expected to hold the front-running position at the end of Friday's penultimate action.
Similar to 2019, when Edwin Allen had to dig deep to hold off Hydel High by seven points, both schools will once again be involved in a dogfight. Edwin Allen should take the early lead, but Hydel, who scored a narrow half-point win to dethrone their big rivals at Central Athletics Championships two weeks ago, will be looking to upstage them once again and capture their first national title.
However, with a strong middle-distance programme, Edwin Allen could prevail once again.
On either side, Calabar High's boys and Holmwood Technical's girls will show great improvement over their 2022 output, but they should be found wanting given the depth and strength of the leading candidates on either side.