KC and Edwin Allen poised to dominate Champs 2024 Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Kingston College (KC) are strongly favoured to defend their title, while Edwin Allen High are positioned to unseat Hydel High at the 2024 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships, commonly known as Champs. The five-day event begins at 9:00 am on Tuesday and ends on Saturday.

On Tuesday’s opening day of action at the National Stadium, 31 preliminary round events are scheduled, providing several top athletes with an opportunity to make an early impression.

The first final at the championships will be the Boys’ Class Two long jump, set for Wednesday’s second day at 1:10 pm. The day will also include the semi-finals and finals of the Boys’ and Girls’ 100m in all classes. The opening 100m semi-final, Girls’ Class Four, is scheduled to begin at 4:53 pm. The first 100m final is set to start at 7:08 pm. Additionally, the 1500m finals are slated to be contested on the same day.

Last year, KC secured their second consecutive and 34th overall title in a convincing fashion, tallying 366 points. They outpaced 22-time champions Jamaica College (JC) by 67 points.

JC and Calabar High are set to be KC’s main rivals. However, for either of them to stop KC from securing their fourth title in five years and 35th overall, they will need to put forth an exceptional effort.

The Corporate Area Development meet has long been seen as a good indicator of how the boys’ teams are shaping up going into Champs. If the performance at that meet is strong, then usually, the performance at Champs is strong.

KC accumulated 461 points to defend their Corporate Area Development title, 78.5 points clear of second place Calabar, which finished with 382.50 points and the hint should be taken of what to expect at Champs. The KC team demonstrates versatility and strength across events, suggesting a probable comfortable victory.

In Class One, KC and JC are expected to dominate. KC, particularly, will be dangerous in the flat 400m and the 400m hurdles events.

In the 400m event, KC are expected to secure the top two spots with Marcinho Rose and Amal Glasgow from St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Marcinho Rose.

Rose currently holds the top ranking among quarter-milers with a personal best time of 46.36 seconds achieved at the Carifta Trials. Meanwhile, Glasgow, who achieved a lifetime best of 46.23 seconds last year, currently holds the second position with a season’s best time of 46.93 seconds, achieved at the Corporate Area Development meet on February 3 where he outpaced JC’s Omary Robinson (47.75). Notably, both KC athletes are the only ones in their class to run sub-47-second times.

KC also boast the top two ranked athletes in the 400m hurdles event, with Antonio Forbes clocking 50.73 seconds and Shamari Jennings with a time of 50.94 seconds, making them the only two sub-51-second performers in their category. Following them is JC’s Princewell Martin with a time of 51.52 seconds.

Forbes ran the 50.73-second race at the Corporate Area Development meet where he comfortably defeated Calabar’s Shadane Smith, who achieved a personal best of 51.78 seconds, and JC’s Sean Gardener with a time of 52.21 seconds, also marking a personal best.

Given the impressive performance of KC’s quarter-milers and hurdlers, they are expected to dominate the 4x400m relay. KC currently hold the top two times in the event, recording 3:08.82 at the Corporate Area Development meet on February 3 and 3:09.46 at the Gibson McCook Relays on February 24. In contrast, JC have the third-best time of 3:11.36.

KC are poised to dominate two other open events with Kenyan athletes Elthan Gioko and Brian Kiprop leading the charge.

Gioko has proven to be the standout performer in the 5000m open event, boasting a season’s best time of 15:27.43 set at the Corporate Area Development meet, where he outpaced Kiprop, who achieved a personal best time of 17:26.21.

Additionally, Gioko holds the top ranking in the Class One 1500m category, clocking an impressive time of 4:00.48 at the Corporate Area Development meet. His teammate Jaquan Coke should score valuable points for KC, as he has shown that he is capable of finishing in the top three. Coke is currently ranked third with a lifetime best time of 4:02.84 achieved at the Carifta Trials.

JC’s Kemmario Bygrave holds the second rank in the event with a time of 4:01.58.

Kiprop has posted the two fastest times this season in the 2000m steeplechase open, recording a season’s best of 6:00.47 at the Youngster Goldsmith meet on February 3 and a time of 6:06.70 at the Central Hurdles, Relays, and Field Event meet on January 24.

KC boast a high-quality Class Two team and are expected to score heavily. The Kenyan duo of Chris Wanjiku (4:02.54) and Nahashon Ruto (4:05.30) are comfortably ranked as the top two athletes in the 1500m event. Nyone Wade holds the top two times in the 100m event with 10.46 and 10.49 seconds, while Taj-Oneil Gordon is ranked first in the 110m hurdles with a time of 13.79 seconds.

In the field events, KC appear formidable, especially in the triple jump discipline. Amani Phillips and Zachary Merchant are poised to lead in Class Two, while Javar Thomas is expected to claim the Class One title.

Phillips secured the Corporate Area title with a wind-aided hop, skip, and jump of 14.17m, narrowly edging out Merchant, who matched the distance but settled for second place.

Thomas clinched the Corporate Area Class One title with a wind-aided leap of 15.46m.

Last year, Hydel High dethroned Edwin Allen High to win their first-ever title. The girls’ championships went down to the final event – the 4x400m relay open – and Aaliah Baker ran the race of her life on the anchor leg to ensure that Hydel finished second to secure a two-point victory. The Corey Bennett-coached team amassed 279 points from the 46 finals while Edwin Allen ended on 277 points, missing out on their ninth consecutive title and 10th overall.

Edwin Allen, though, were plagued by multiple setbacks, including a disqualification in the penultimate event – the 1600m sprint medley open – for a lane violation after a commanding victory.

Based on what has taken place in the qualifying meets leading up to Champs, Edwin Allen are set to score a mammoth victory. They are the frontrunners across Classes One, Two, and Three, with Class Four being their only potential weak spot.

Expectations are particularly high for athletes like Jounee Armstrong and Trezeguet Taylor in the sprint races of Class One.

Armstrong won the sprint double at the Central Athletics Championships at GC Foster College in February where Edwin Allen dethroned Hydel High for the title. Edwin Allen narrowly lost the 2023 title to Hydel by half a point. However, this year, the Michael Dyke-coached team was untouchable, winning the championship by 119.75 points. This turnaround underscores the rapid changes in dynamics between these schools in athletics in just a year.

Armstrong heads into Champs as the leading Class One 100m sprinter, boasting a lifetime best of 11.58 seconds achieved during the Carifta Trials on March 1. This marks a significant improvement from her previous time of 11.97 seconds, which secured her victory in the 100m event at the Central Athletics Championships.

Hydel’s Alliah Baker ranks as the second-best Class One 100m sprinter, clocking in at 11.59 seconds during the Pure Water/JC/R. Danny Williams meet held at Ashenheim Stadium on January 5.

Taylor is ranked number four with 11.69, which was also achieved at the Pure Water/JC/R. Danny Williams meet. Taylor, however, will pick up quality points for Edwin Allen in the 200m where she is ranked as the top athlete with 23.90 achieved at the Carifta Trials.

Rickeisha Simms.

Led by Rickeisha Simms and Monique Stewart, Edwin Allen are also positioned to assert dominance in the middle-distance races.

Simms is a standout favourite in the 1500m event, boasting a personal best of 4:31.33 from the Carifta Trials. She used the 4:31.33 to avenge her previous defeat against Hydel’s Kaydeen Johnson at the Central Athletics Championships on February 20. Johnson finished second in a personal best 4:32.56, which represents the second-quickest time going into Champs.

In the 3000m open, Johnson holds an unmatched top rank with an impressive lifetime best of 10:19.82 achieved at the Carifta Trials.

Stewart is the top-ranked 800m runner with 2:08.86 seconds achieved at the Carifta Trials.

Sushana Johnson is anticipated to capture maximum points for Edwin Allen in the 2000m steeplechase, boasting top-ranked times of 7:12.40 and 7:13.40 as she enters Champs.

Edwin Allen’s prowess extends to the 400m hurdles open. They have three quality hurdlers in Kelly Ann Carr, who is ranked number one and number two with times of a lifetime best 58.02 and 58.40; Tonyan Beckford, who is ranked number three and four with times of 58.52 and 58.95, and Natasha Fox, who is ranked number five with 59.00 seconds.

Abigail Campbell from Hydel High is expected to dominate in the flat 400m event, while Beckford, with a season’s best of 53.71, is poised to contribute points for Edwin Allen. Campbell holds the top rank entering Champs, showcasing an impressive personal best of 52.84 achieved at the Carifta Trials, the only sub-53-second performance recorded so far this year.

Star sprinter Theianna-Lee Terrelonge from Edwin Allen will lead the way in Class Two events.

Sixteen-year-old first-year Class Two athlete Terrelonge is poised for an easy victory in the 100m. She brings in the top two times of the season, including a lifetime best of 11.25 set at the Carifta Trials and a then personal best of 11.30 achieved in her season debut.

However, Terrelonge faces formidable competition in the 200m event, where she will clash with Shanoya Douglas of Muschett High. Douglas holds the top rank in this category with a lifetime best of 22.85, a record she achieved at the Carifta Trials. Terrelonge, who has a best of 23.53 from last year, is the fifth ranked with 23.73.

Sabrina Dockery from Lacovia High School will be a contender in the 200m event. Besides Douglas, Dockery stands out as the only other Class Two athlete to achieve a sub-23 time this season, clocking in at 22.92 on the grass track at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) during the Western Championships on February 15.

Terrelonge is anticipated to guide Edwin Allen to success in the 4x100m relay event, where they hold a season-leading time of 45.34 secured at the Gibson McCook Relays at the National Stadium on February 24. That season-leading time came just three days after Hydel narrowly edged out Edwin Allen with a razor-thin victory of 45.54 to 45.56 at the Central Athletics Championships.

In addition, Edwin Allen will be tough in Class One 4x100m and the 4x400m relay events, holding the top rankings with impressive times of 45.41 and 3:38.23, respectively.