St Jago expect middle distance success
Known in high-school track and field circles for its sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers, St Jago High School is on the rise due in part to renewed strength in the middle-distance events. Keilando Goburn, head coach of the St Jago girls’ team, says the improvement comes after a detailed review of last year’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships.
“We decided that we’re going to try and plug all of the holes and it is somewhat paying dividends now,” said Goburn. “The middle distance has been a major improvement for us. We know that we had the quality, but some persons were sitting out, some persons were Class 4. This year, we’re trying our best to put it together.”
Recalling recent showings in the 800m, 1,500m, 2,000m steeplechase and 3,000m area, he contrasted, “this time around, for the first time in almost 10 years, St Jago scored almost 50 points in the middle distance at Central Champs.”
At Central Championships, late in February, the change was most evident in the 1,500m, where St Jago placed two athletes in the scoring places in Class 1, 2 and 3. To top everything off, Jameka Mannings placed second in the 2,000m steeplechase.
“That’s very encouraging and we’re looking to grow from there,” said the former St Jago 400-metre runner.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
“I don’t know why we chose those risky events as our strong areas –sprints, hurdles, relays and jumps – but, definitely, we’re trying to go out there, take it one step at a time.”
After his school placed a distant fourth last year, he took a different approach to this campaign.
“Whenever we go to a development meet, as the name suggests, we’re trying to develop, so we tried to experiment, try people here and there; but we are only going to put the entire thing together when it matters most,” he promised.
Even with the advance in the middle distances, Goburn will be watching Shurria Henry, one of his senior sprinters, with keen interest.
“Shurria has been one of those unfortunate athletes. For maybe like the last three years, every time she’s supposed to come forward, there’s an issue”, he growled, before listing injury, illness and family tragedy as the problems that have derailed Henry.
This season has been better, as Henry showed as part of St Jago’s winning Class 1 4x100m quartet at the Gibson-McCook Relays and as a finalist in the 100m at Central Championships. The relieved coach sees good things ahead for Henry.
“God’s willing, this year she decided that she’s going to weather the storm, irrespective of what comes,” he said gratefully. “I expect her to be a medal contender.”
Henry missed a medal at Central Champs by 0.01.