Champs 2018: No stopping the Champs! - Calabar, Edwin Allen to continue Champs dominance
There have been much huffing and puffing throughout the season but it all comes down to the next five days as the nation's top athletes and schools lock horns at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.
Edwin Allen and Calabar High are the defending female and male champions, respectively, and following the various development meets leading up to the championships, it seems almost a certainty that both will walk out of the stadium on Saturday night, as they enter today, with the pair strongly expected to continue their impressive winning streaks.
The Michael Dyke-coached Edwin Allen team will be aiming to make it four wins in a row and five overall, while it will take some effort to stop Michael Clarke's boys from lifting their 28th title and seventh in a row.
There will be no finals on today's opening day, which will begin at 1 p.m. with the preliminary round of the Class Four girls 70 metres hurdle and end at 9:15 p.m. with the preliminary round of the steeplechase open for boys. A number of other first-round events are on the schedule, including the 800 metres and 200 metres on the track, while in the field, there will be action in the Class One girls discus, Class Two girls long jump, Class One girls high jump, boys Class Two long jump and javelin boys open.
On the female side, the likes of Hydel, who have finished second for the past two years, along with St Jago and Holmwood Technical, are the main dangers to a solid Edwin Allen team, which scored 316.5 points a year ago to defeat Hydel by 50.15 points.
Based on form coming into the championships, it will take a brave man to bet against Edwin Allen, which seem even stronger this year, despite the Holmwood camp's threats to lower the colours of the defending champions.
"Yes, Holmwood has looked very good this year but my team is much stronger than last year," said a confident Dyke.
The outstanding Kevona Davis will lead the way for Edwin Allen in the sprints in her first year in Class Two. Following her disappointment a year ago when she false-started in the 100 metres, she looks a cinch to make up for that and take the double here. The likes of Tia and Tina Clayton along with Serena Cole in Class Three in the sprints along with middle distance athletes, Rushada Dwyer in Class Three and defending Class two 800 metre champion Cemore Donald, are some of the athletes expected to score heavily for the defending champions.
After surprising Kingston College to win by three points a year ago, there should be no such drama this time around for the Red Hills Road-based Calabar machine.
Led by their very strong Class One team, which includes the likes of Michael Stephens, Tyreke Wilson, Anthony Carpenter, Christopher Taylor, De'Jour Russell, Kimar Farqhuarson, Malik James King and new recruit Kai Chang in the throws, they should easily put away their opponents and improve. They should surpass the 317 points scored last year and could easily go over the 400 points barrier based on the depth of their team.
Kingston College will be hoping to make amends from last year's defeat, but it will take something extra special if they are to do so.
The Neil Harrison-coached team has some very quality athletes, including the likes of Wayne Pinnock, Jhevaughn Mattherson, Aryamanya Rodgers and Dashawn Morris in Class One, Shantamoi Brown and Terrique Stennett in the Class Two sprints along with the likes of Adrian Kerr and Nkrumie Bouwahjgie in Class Three. However, despite their quality, they still look incapable of unseating Calabar.
Jamaica College are expected to put on a good show and could steal second from Kingston College as they have been improving all season, especially in the middle distance area, where the likes of J'Voughnn Bake and Javier Brown in Class Two, along with Dujon Blackman and Ken Reyes in Class One, are expected to score some quality points.