Report24 Mar 2024

Quality performances highlight Jamaican High School Championships


Damor Miller wins the 100m at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships (© Athelstan Bellamy)

The 113th staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships (Champs), held in Kingston, Jamaica, from 19-23 March, was a highly entertaining spectacle.

In front of a capacity crowd, Edwin Allen High School dethroned defending champions Hydel High in a hard-fought contest decided by 9.5 points (335.5-326) to reclaim their championship title. Conversely, Kingston College easily brushed Jamaica College's challenge aside with a 57-point victory (335-278).

Slew of sprint PBs

All seven 100m age group finals contested saw the winners achieving personal bests. But perhaps the most anticipated final resulted in something of a surprisingly muted reaction from the winner.

After breezing through the rounds of the U16 100m with confidence and composure, Theianna-Lee Terrelonge had her sights set on breaking the championship record of 11.16. Although she missed out on that mark, she won in a world U18-leading 11.22 PB. Terrelonge of Edwin Allen High could not hide her disappointment, though.

On the other hand, silver medallist Sabrina Dockery (11.36), who got off to a great start before being overtaken by Terrelonge with 20m to go, was more animated in her celebration.

For the first time in more than 50 years, an athlete from Excelsior High School won the U19 boys’ 100m title. Damor Miller tore up the script and motored away from a highly competitive field to win in a lifetime best of 10.31. Calabar High’s Khamari Gordon (10.37) and Yourie Lawrence Clarke of Kingston College (10.45) took the other podium places.

In an exciting U15 boys’ 100m final, Nyron Wade from Kingston College gave an inspired performance with a brisk 10.43, registering his second personal best of the championships. The competition for the other two podium spots was fierce as Malike Nugent (10.52), Tavaine Stewart (10.55) and Johan-Ramaldo Smythe (10.56) were involved in a close finish.

The senior boys’ 200m final was one of the most exciting races of the championships. Overwhelming favourite Gary Card of Wolmer’s Boys came off the curve with a significant lead but was relentlessly chased down by the unyielding Kingston College pair of Marcinho Rose and Amal Glasgow. As the pressure mounted, Card faltered, allowing Glasgow to finally claim an individual victory at Champs. Glasgow stopped the clock at 21.22, followed closely by Card 21.23 and Rose at 21.24.

Double winners

There was a plethora of double winners over the five-day championships.

Alliah Baker, the team captain of Hydel High, stepped down from her 400m specialty to win the U18 girls’ sprint double. Baker won four gold medals, leading her team to victories in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.

Baker’s teammate Texiera Johnson was equally peerless as she captured the sprint double in the girls’ 10-12 category. Other double winners include Demarco Bennett of Excelsior High, who produced lifetime-best performances to claim the rare double of the U15 boys’ 400m (46.91) and 400m hurdles (51.70) and the impressive Mario Ross from Wolmer’s Boys, who won the 100m and 200m, registering personal bests.

Shanoya Douglas of Muschette High demonstrated she was in superb condition, winning the U16 girls’ 400m title before handing the 100m winner Terrelonge a shock defeat in the 200m.

Kenyan-born Brian Kiprop, representing Kingston College, gave a clutch performance, winning the U15 boys’ 2000m steeplechase and 1500m titles.

Championship records on the infield

Elsewhere, 15-year-old Zavien Bernard of Hydel High climbed into the top three on the world U18 list when she soared over the bar at 1.83m and set a championship record in the U16 girls’ high jump. Kimeka Smith, representing St Jago High, established a championship record in the U16 girls’ shot put with 16.44m.

History was created in the U19 girls' triple jump, where, for the first time, three athletes leapt beyond 13m in a riveting contest that saw the lead swapped on a few occasions. After three fouls in her series, St Jago’s Jade-Ann Dawkins did not panic and nailed her final attempt, cutting the sand at 13.28m, edging out Jaeda Robinson (13.21m) of Immaculate Conception High and Celine Riddle (13.04m) of Holmwood Technical High.

Noel Francis for World Athletics