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O’Hara Leads Calabar to 25th Champs Title


Calabar High School brought the 105th Jamaica Boys and Girls Athletics Championship (Champs) to a scintillating finish with a record run in the Boys Open 4x400m relay in Kingston Saturday night (28th). The green-and-black uniformed team amassed 280.5 points – 15.5 points more than archrivals Kingston College (KC) – to take home the Mortimer Geddes championship trophy for the fourth straight year and the 25 time in the history of Champs.

Completing the top ten finishers were KC, 265; JC, 200; St. Jago, 183; STETHS, 132; Wolmer’s 68; Petersfield High, 50; Holmwood Technical High, 44; Cornwall College, 38; and Edwin Allen High, 34.

Running without team captain Michael O’Hara (in photo above) who already had copped gold in the Class One 100m, 200m, 110m hurdles (where he ended the reign of World Youth champion Jaheel Hyde), and the sprint relay, the self-dubbed Calabar Lions utilized the services of its Class Two double champion Christopher Taylor to anchor the team against a field of super quarter-milers in a stunning record of 3mins, 6.76secs. The scorching finale sent the standing-room-only crowd into sheer pandemonium.

The 15-year-old Taylor was fearless; having “been there and done that” with a time of 45.69 in the 400m flat at the recent CARIFTA Games Trials that removed Kirani James’ time as the fastest by a 15-year-old, as well as earlier victories at this Champs in the 200m and 400m, Taylor ran with the focus and confidence of an elite athlete to get the job done for 12 key points that would remove any threat to Calabar’s position.

Prior to the race, a blistering backstretch leg by O’Hara allowed their sprint relay team to destroy their own record of 39.35 set last year and their Gibson 2015 Jamaica junior record of 39.32. The quartet of Edward Clarke, O’Hara, Jullane Walker and Seanie Selvin clocked a high school boys’ world record of 39.08, which they wanted under 39secs. Jamaica College, 39.79 and St. George’s, 40.43 battled for the other podium spots. Even then, KC’s points standing had come too closely for Calabar’s comfort in the dying minutes as KC battled to pick up 11 points in the Class One high jump. And so, Calabar was leaving nothing to chance, considering their ace Class Two team with Dujour Russell on anchor dropped the baton in Friday’s heats and lost their chance of gaining 12 more valuable points.

Still, the highlight of all individual command performances at Champs could well belong to KC’s 17-year-old Akeem Bloomfield, who dismantled the Class One 400m record set last year by former Calabar quarter-miler Javon Francis who broke Usain Bolt’s 400m with 45.00secs. The 6’-5”, long-legged Bloomfield, who wants to become a cardiologist, became the first Jamaican junior to run below 45 seconds, setting a new national junior record of 44.93.

The rising star later told his coach that his legs had nothing left to run the crucial mile relay that proved to be a real cracker.

Edwin Allen Girls Repel Challenges

In the girls competition, defending champions Edwin Allen High School ran away with a third title. After 20 finals on Friday night, the Clarendon-based girls led the ever-rising Hydel High by only 18.5 points (131.5 to 113), with St. Jago High on 86.33, and former champions Holmwood Technical on 75. Then on Saturday, Hydel went into the lead briefly, but the 2014 champions did not panic, even in the face of the disqualification of their captain Saqukine Cameron in the Class One 100m heats and winning only one the four 100m races on Friday. The group rallied to garner several points in races they did not win.

On Saturday, Edwin Allen High snatched two of the four sprint relays in record times. Powered by Shellece Clark on third leg, they won Class Two in 44.88, erasing the old record of 45.04 set in 2006. The Class Four team (10 to 12 years old) then broke the record for the second time this week, running 46.65, lowering the 46.90 they clocked in the preliminaries on Wednesday.

In the end, Edwin Allen topped the standings with 321 points. They were followed by Hydel, 221; St Jago, 219.33: Holmwood, 206; Vere, 136; Wolmer’s, 82.50; Manchester High, 61; Convent of Mercy, 60; STETHS, 51; and St. Catherine, 44.  See Detailed Results

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