Kingston College’s boys ended a seven-year winning streak by Calabar High and the girls of Edwin Allen High extended their title run to six in a row at the 2019 ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championship herelast month.
K.C. finished the five-day competition for Jamaica’s high schools with a tally of 395.5 points, shattering the record total of 368.5 set in 2018 by Calabar, which managed 313 to clinch the runner-up spot.
Jamaica College (232.5) was third, with St. Jago High (106.5) and St. Elizabeth Technical High School (90) rounding out the top five among the boys.
The girls section was much more tightly contested. Edwin Allen showed championship poise to secure 291 points, staving off feisty challengers Hydel High (284).
Holmwood Technical (220), St. Jago (207) and Rusea’s High (84) were also among the top five finishers.
For K.C., a school that once won the popular “Champs” 14 straight years, victory was particularly gratifying.
“It’s sweet,” former K.C. star athlete Lennox Graham, who once trained the “Purples” to multiple titles and currently coaches at the University of Texas in the United States, told Caribbean Today. “The purple patch is back.”
Edwin Allen also relished its win, though it came via a much tougher road, especially on the final day with well over 30,000 spectators crammed into the National Stadium whipped into a frenzy.Head coach Michael Dyke admitted retaining the title “was more difficult” than he thought possible.
For K.C., winning “Champs” 2019 marked the 32nd time the school had triumphed.
“It’s big for us,” Principal Dave Myrie told Caribbean Today. “I can’t even describe the feeling … It’s crazy.”
Champs” is widely acknowledged among the brightest assembly of young track and field talent in the world. But an on-campus incident at Calabar last year cast a cloud over the meet. K.C., however, was primed to pounce.
“You could tell it would be different this year,” said Graham.
Signs came early and often, although by early afternoon on day four, it became clear Calabar still had fight. However,urged on by its large and vociferous contingent of supporters, K.C. scooped up points in bunches. Among the highlights was Wayne Pinnock returning to break the 110 meters hurdles record after setting the record for the Class I long jump. K.C. was pulling away.
Meanwhile, sprinter Kevona Davis of Edwin Allen dominated the 100 and 200 meters in Class II. Teammates and twins Tia and Tina Clayton split the individual sprints and combined on the victorious 4x100 meters relay for Class III to help push their school to final victory.
J.C.’s Christopher Scott dominated the Class III sprint double, as well, while St. Jago’s Vashaun Vascianna broke the Class II 110 meters record with 13.26.
Hydel’s Ashanti Moore was also outstanding, taking the Class I 100 and 200, while her teammate Cherokee Young dominated the Class I 400 and 800 meters.