Jamaica Observer / The successful defence of their Central Championships and Digicel Grand Prix titles again virtually sum up Edwin Allen’s intent for the upcoming Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships. It was their fourth-straight year capturing the lucrative Digicel Grand Prix title on the girls’ side, as they continued their winning trend since the inception of the championships.
They amassed 144 points at the Grand Prix finale at the GC Foster Classics recently, posting 31 points more than closest rivals Holmwood Technical (113), with Hydel (82.5), Excelsior (48), and St Mary High (27) completing the top five.
While trying not to give too much away, Edwin Allen’s Head Coach Michael Dyke is quietly confident that his girls will wrap up a fifth-straight win and sixth overall title.
“Champs is a different kettle of fish, but this (Grand Prix win) will definitely motivate the girls going into the championships. Our preparations have been going well, even though we suffered in the initial stage with the weather that we had,” Dyke told the Jamaica Observer shortly after his team celebrated with the symbolic $1 million cheque at the National Stadium last Saturday.
With the likes of Fiona Richards, Janique Burgher, Abigail Mullings, Paula Ann Chambers, Annie Ashley, and Akelia Smith, among others, all doing an excellent job in the field events, Dyke said this makes their job a lot easier on the track.
“We try to use our field events to lay that foundation for us, and I am very proud of what our field event athletes have been doing, which makes things a little bit easier for the track athletes.
“So heading into Champs I think we have a solid foundation (as) we successfully defended our Central Championships title and now our Grand Prix title, so the girls are in high spirits and will definitely come to defend their title at the Girls’ Championships,” he asserted.
The Frankfield-based team’s commanding performance at the Grand Prix final was highlighted by the superb form of sprinter Kevona Davis, who is again expected to prove a tough nut to crack, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
The second-year Class Two athlete, who has already clocked 23.11 seconds this season, was impressive in victory at the Grand Prix in a record 23.14 seconds.
Davis’s fellow sprinters Tina Clayton, Tia Clayton, Kasheika Cameron, along with quarter-miler Kimorla Muschette, middle-distance standouts Cemore Donald and Rushana Dwyer are just a few of the dangerous contenders for the Clarendon team.
And with Captain Khamoy Farquharson set to bring the curtains down on her high school career this year, Dyke and his troops are aiming to send her off in style.
“We have an all-round balanced team this year and, like I said, we are very strong in the field and on the track this time around, so we expect good things in both departments come next week.
“There comes a time when they all have to go. Khamoy will certainly be missed as her time has come, and we just have to send her off in fine style and I’m sure we will find a suitable and just as capable replacement for her,” Dyke noted.
He pointed out that the $1-million prize towards their sports programme has done wonders for his team over the past few years, and threw out a warning that they have no intentions of halting their winning momentum.
The second and third place schools pocketed $500,000 and $200,000, respectively.
“I am extremely elated because this Digicel Grand Prix has really helped our programme to build, especially in terms of facility and equipment, so we will always continue to support this event,” said Dyke.
“We have discovered the formula for winning from the very first staging and we will continue to work with it going forward to win this title as many times as possible. So I don’t think things will be changing any time soon,” he ended.
— Sherdon Cowan