Jago not worried about top three
At the last five staging of the annual ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics championships (2014-19), the boys of St Jago High School finished fourth behind perennial top three finishers, Calabar, Kingston College and Jamaica College.
The Monk Street-based boys have been the dominant force at Central Athletics Championships over the period, and many observers believe the Spanish Town school is closer to breaking the status quo more than ever this year.
However, coach Marlon Gayle insists that breaking into the top five is not the main focus for them at this championship.
"There is a high possibility of finishing better than we did last year but the nature of champs now is a lot different than it was last time.
"Every school will have their objective despite the COVID-19 situation. Schools will still want to be the top schools.
"But with all that has happened, one of the main priorities for 2021 is to ensure that every athlete who is in their final year gets an opportunity to move on whether by local or overseas scholarships or in whatever field they so choose to continue.
"So it would not be a case where they complete the championships and just returned home. The important thing is that they get a fighting chance to achieve their career goals.
"St Jago is ensuring that all our athletes have exit options that ultimately gives him or her the opportunity to move on to something better," he said.
Although satisfied with the performances at Central Champs, Gayle said if they had the chance to thoroughly prepare they could have been even more impressive.
"It (performance) was satisfactory but it could have been much better, like it could have been for many other schools.
"But we appreciate that most persons were able to compete and finish injury-free, however, in an ideal situation there would have been certain qualities performance but certain factors were constantly a challenge and those factors certainly will impact the results (at Champs) in a more significant way," he continued
Nevertheless, he believes they could surpass their recent finishes at the boys championship, as he thinks the competition would be very unpredictable this year.
"Consistency to training has been the main challenge, like every other school at this particular championship.
"The spike of the COVID-19 between the Corporate Area championship and the Easter break, the pause certainly impacted how well many of these guys performed at the (Central) championship.
"For the most part the performances in a few of the top events on the the track and in field were satisfactory. But we are like many other track and field programs that are trying to do their best to deal with the situation.
"We will try to ensure that our guys continue to progress and ultimately perform at their best under the circumstances. But everything is possible for this year," he added.
St Jago won the boys championships twice, in 1987 and 1993.