KC and Edwin Allen continue to lead Champs entering final day Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Defending boys’ champions Kingston College (KC) and Edwin Allen have extended their leads going into the fifth and final day of the 2024 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

At the end of Friday’s penultimate day, KC closed with 182 points, 48 ahead of main rivals Jamaica College on 134. This marks an increase in KC’s overnight lead by 40 points, as the teams were separated by just eight points at the beginning of the day. The top five in the boys’ division are rounded out by Calabar (88), St Jago (74), and Excelsior (72).

In the girls’ division, Edwin Allen continue to dominate, leading defending champions Hydel High by 43 points. The Clarendon-based school finished the day with 183 points, while Hydel are in second place with 141 points. St Jago (81 points), Immaculate Conception (70.33), and Holmwood (57) complete the top five in the standings.

In the day’s six boys’ finals, KC secured only one victory but managed to earn points in the other events. Following their pattern from Thursday, KC increased their lead over their rivals in Friday’s first final, the Class Three long jump, collecting 13 points with second and third-place finishes. In contrast, JC did not add any points to their score.

Winaldo Faulkner from St Jago High won the event with an outstanding performance, achieving the best leap of the year and surprising the favoured Alex King from KC. Faulkner jumped 6.51m, surpassing the six-metre mark for the first time this year and securing the victory. He produced 6.51m in the first round and held onto the lead, consistently surpassing the six-metre mark with his subsequent attempts.

King, the season leader coming into Champs, finished in second place with a jump of 6.33m, which he achieved in the final round. His teammate Daquan Dawkins secured third place with a jump of 6.19m.

KC’s sole triumph of the day came from their Kenyan standout, Brian Kiprop, who decimated the field to claim victory in the 2000m steeplechase, following his hard-earned win in the 1500m just days earlier. KC picked up 11 points to JC’s five.

Kiprop clocked 6:04.63 for the victory, ensuring that KC piled on the pressure on JC. The Kenyan went into the event targeting the meet record of 5:49.46 achieved by his countryman Aryamanya Rodgers, also of KC, in 2018. He started aggressively but adjusted his pace in the final two laps. At that point, JC’s Nellie Ambitton attempted a challenge, but Kiprop’s acceleration left Ambitton unable to respond. Kiprop’s teammate Rekelme Hunter finished fifth, earning two points.

Daniel Pennant from St Jago finished as the runner-up with a time of 6:19.11, while Jeremiah Hinds from Glengoffe High took third place, crossing the line in 6:27.91. Ambriton, appearing distressed, finished in fourth place with a time of 6:32.33.

JC also secured a victory on the day with Chavez Penn winning the Class One triple jump event.

The 17-year-old secured the gold medal with a lifetime best hop, skip, and jump of 15.92 on his third attempt, surpassing his previous mark of 15.27m achieved on January 5. Calabar’s Romaine Lewis jumped 15.21m to take second, with Cornwall College’s Kesean Rhooms record 14.94m to claim third.

JC garnered 12 points from the event, with Euan Young finishing sixth, while KC earned five points with Nathan Wade’s fourth-place finish at 14.94m.

In the Boys’ pole vault open, KC outscored JC 11-1, a competition won by Lenworth Chung of Calabar, the second seed.

Chung soared over 3.90m to claim victory in the event. Courtney Hanchard of KC took second place with a jump of 3.80m, followed by Mark Phillips of Wolmer’s in third with a height of 3.40m. Isaac Reid contributed to KC’s score with a fifth-place finish, earning another four points for the team.

In the final two events, the Class Two 400m hurdles and the Class One 400m hurdles, KC earned 24 points compared to JC’s four points. Excelsior secured the gold medals in both of these events, concluding the night’s competitions.

Sixteen-year-old Demaco Bennett followed up his impressive victory in the Class Two 400m, where he broke the 47-second barrier for the first time with a lifetime best of 46.92, by achieving a sensational 400m-400mh double the next day.

Bennett, entering the event as the second-ranked athlete, secured a significant victory in the Class Two 400m hurdles with a massive personal best and season-leading time of 51.70 seconds. This achievement marked a massive improvement from his previous best of 53.23, set on February 3.

The number one ranked athlete, Robert Miller from Calabar High, clocked a new personal best of 52.63 for second place. The KC duo of Taj-Oneil Gordon (53.25) and Jahvanie Tyell (53.33) finished third and fourth, respectively, adding 11 points to their tally. JC’s Rojay Black finished in sixth place, earning three points.

Daneil Wright delivered a strong stretch run to narrowly edge out the KC pair of Antonio Forbes and Shamari Jennings at the finish line, seizing the Class One 400m hurdles gold with an impressive time of 50.71 seconds. This time stands as the fastest in the country this year and marks a new personal best for Wright, surpassing his previous record of 52.08 seconds from last year.

Forbes achieved a new personal-best time of 50.74 seconds, securing second place, while Jennings, who had led for most of the race, finished third with a time of 50.83 seconds, also a new personal best.