Champs High 5: St Jago’s unique challenge
St Jago High School’s wait to lift the ISSA/GraceKennedy Girls’ Championship title dates back to 1999.
That win came as the climax of a ‘four-peat’ that confirmed the Spanish Town-based school as a powerhouse in high-school girls’ athletics, and although they have managed to maintain their spot in the top five for a long time, they have not been able to make a serious attempt at challenging for a title.
However, head coach Keilando Goburn has identified a solution to put the wait to an end, and he and his coaching staff are already plotting to make another run at the championship.
“For the last couple of Champs, when it comes around to the middle- and long-distance races, we could take our lunch break. This time around, we are making preparations to prevent that. We want some of the middle-distance points. You cannot vie for a championship without that. We are seeing improvement in the middle-distance core,” Goburn said.
“Last year, we had some negative middle-distance scores, but this year, we think we will be able to score some points, and hopefully, that can do a lot in terms of moving us closer to the leaders.”
He also pointed out that having to share the school’s resources with the male athletics team is one of the reasons it has been difficult to challenge for another title.
“It is always a part of our plans to win the championships, but one has to be mindful that a lot has happened since 1999. The sport has evolved. What it took to win in 1999, that can’t win anymore. And we have the unique challenge as the only co-ed school that is pushing both programmes, and, therefore, the resources have to be shared. Had it not been for that, where all the resources can go to one programme, then definitely, we would have been a bigger force to be reckoned with,” he said.
Goburn noted that he is encouraged by the results he has seen from his girls so far this season.
“We are taking a different approach this year because we are more strategic in the meets where we choose to participate and number of events that the athletes participate in, so that they can give their best when it matters most. But we have had some encouraging results from the girls,” Goburn said.