Holmwood’s struggles reach tipping point - ... as administration and track team fail to see eye to eye

May 04, 2021
Members of the Holmwood Technical High School team, along with ‘Champsy’,  celebrate  at the ISSA/GraceKenedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships in 2011.
Members of the Holmwood Technical High School team, along with ‘Champsy’, celebrate at the ISSA/GraceKenedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships in 2011.
Maurice Wilson
Maurice Wilson
Sonita Sutherland anchors Holmwood Technical High School 4x400m relay team to victory at Champs 2006.
Sonita Sutherland anchors Holmwood Technical High School 4x400m relay team to victory at Champs 2006.
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Since the departure of coach Maurice Wilson in 2013, Holmwood Technical High School has not come close to the Girls crown at the ISSA/GraceKenedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.

Wilson led the Manchester school to nine successive titles and 10 overall between 2003 and 2013, making them the most dominant female high school athletics team since the turn of the century.

However, reports coming out of the Manchester-based school is that the track and field programme has hit rock-bottom and supporters are concerned that student-athletes at the institution are missing out on scholarship opportunities as a result.

Holmwood board member and track and field programme contributor Lloyd Dennis explained that over the last few years the school's recruitment has been dormant and this in the main cause for their struggle in recent years.

He also believes they need additional coaches to get the programme back to where it once was.

Dennis pointed out that since Hidran McKulsky has been appointed principal of the school he has not been able to fully grasp the school's winning culture and strong recruitment policy.

Winning culture

"Our principal is committed. He's planning to build the programme but being new to the whole winning culture it's different.

"While the principal before would give us a leeway to recruit, this one is a bit reserved in his allowance," he noted.

"So while other schools have been recruiting heavily, Holmwood would not have that luxury and it is starting to show especially in the lower classes of class three and class four," he added.

"COVID for the last two years has caused a lot of consternation and two years without any recruitment really shows a big hole in our reach for that (Champs) prize.

"But (lack of) recruitment is a major part of it (decline) and the recruitment has to be on point for you to really do good," he said.

He said Wilson in the past used sub-standard teams to perform 'miracles' at Champs.

Although he believes the current coaching staff is doing its best under the circumstances, with Wilson moving on, he does not think they possess that X factor anymore and he believes they need to strengthen all areas of the coaching department with specialised coaches.

"Every school Vere, Edwin Allen and Hydel have a coach in every area. So, unlike before, one coach cannot coach a team," he commented.

"The programme have people that worked with Wilson, so we are not starting from scratch. But the programme needs to find new personnel, we need a set of coaches for every area because that is what we are up against," he insisted.

Since 2013 Holmwood finished fourth four times and third twice in the girls section at the at the ISSA/GraceKenedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com

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