Top of the Class | St Jago High School
St Jago High School is celebrating its 275th anniversary this year, and the school from Monk Street in Spanish Town, the only school to have won both Boys and Girls’ Championships, is hoping for something special. After a few years of being down, both males and females have stepped up their performances this year.
If they are to really challenge on both fronts this year, these are some of the athletes who must come to the party at Champs 2019.
Crystal Morrison (Class Two 100m hurdles/long jump)
Crystal Morrison, the defending champion in the girls’ Class Two 100 metres hurdles, will be defending her title in the event this year and will also do the long jump. She is the Carifta record holder in the Under-17 100 metres hurdles after winning the event last year in Nassau, Bahamas, in 13.11 seconds. Morrison has been in good form this season after winning three races in a row before suffering her first loss at the Youngster Goldsmith Meet, where she hit a hurdle hard before walking in at last place in a race won by her main rival, Ackera Nugent of Excelsior High, who did 12.89 seconds.
Before this, she went sub-14 seconds three times, with a season best of 13.59 seconds, done at the Central Hurdles and Relays meet in mid-January at GC Foster College.
Morrison: “I am pretty confident in pulling off a win and defending my title as this year, I have trained very hard and have fixed what I have to fix. Ackera Nugent is my main danger as we had been battling very hard last year. My role model is Danielle Williams, and I give my team a nine-out-of-10 chance to win the Girl’s title at Champs.”
Rosalee Cooper (Class One 100m hurdles/400m hurdles open)
Rosalee Cooper is going into the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships full of confidence after pulling off a massive surprise victory over IAAF World Under-20 100m hurdles silver medallist Britany Anderson of Camperdown at the Youngster Goldsmith meet. She has a season best of 14.02 seconds.
Cooper: “My preparation leading up to Champs has been going on well as I am injury-free so far, and I am positive in the direction I am heading and what will happen at Champs. My goals are fixed on going out there and doing well in both my events, and I am hoping to win the 100m hurdles, and I am very confident in doing so.”
Brianna Lyston (Class Three 100m/200m)
Two years ago, Brianna Lyston was the darling of Champs after stunning performances in both the 100 and 200 metres. In her first season in Class Three last year, she did not manage to live up to that early expectation, but this season, she seems to have found that form once again and has been doing very well. She showed at the Camperdown Classics that she is hitting top form after topping the class with an 11.85-second clocking in the 100 metres.
Lyston: “Despite having a few ups and downs this season, my preparation has been going well. I have been working hard, as to whom much is given, much is required. I am hoping to achieve double gold medals in the 100 and 200 metres and I am very confident, because I have worked hard.”
Vashaun Vascianna (Class Two 100m/100m hurdles)
After a record-breaking performance in the boy’s Class Two 110m hurdles at Champs last year, Vashaun Vascianna is on pace to match that performance after an outstanding start to the season. At the SW Isaac Invitational meet, he stopped the clock at 13.58 seconds to win the event in a negative wind of 2.9 metres per second.
Vascianna: “I like my build-up so far this season as I am just working with my coach to see what mistakes we need to work on so I can improve my times in both the 100 metres and the 110 metres hurdles. I am confident that I can break my own record as the wind was really terrible on Saturday, and imagine, if the wind was okay, I think I could have gone 13.1 or 13.2 [seconds],” he said.
Javari Thomas (Class One 100m/200m)
Javari Thomas will be carrying his school’s hopes in both the Class One 100m and 200m at Champs next month, and, after posting a quick 21.65 seconds, despite running in a negative wind of 2.9 metres per second, he is hoping for a successful championships.
Thomas: “Preparation for the championships has been great so far, despite not being where I want to be at this time, but I am very positive. I am high on confidence.”
Tafar-Hi Hinds (Class Two 800m/1500m)
Following his third-place finish in the 800 metres and an eighth-place finish in the 1,500 metes in Class Three a year ago, Tafar-Hi Hinds is hoping to do even better in his first year in Class Two in both events. Earlier this season at the JAAA Puma Meet in Kirkvine, he topped the field in the 800 metres after stopping the clock at 2:07.09. At the Calabar Wint/McKenley Meet, he was also at the top in the 1,500 metres after posting 4:15.30. He is looking forward to the rest of the season.
Hinds: “I did not like how I performed last year, and coming into Class Two, I know that I have to work much harder because the competition will be much stronger, but I have been preparing well.”