Calabar boys deliver 'Champs' for 100th year
BY HOWARD WALKER Observer Senior Reporter
Sunday, April 01, 2012
CALABAR High captured their 23rd lien on the Mortimer Geddes Trophy for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium, on March 30, to celebrate their 100th anniversary in fine style.
The green and black-clad standard bearers from Red Hills Road amassed 287.5 to beat Kingston College (KC) 265, and dethroned champion Jamaica College (JC) 220.5, with Wolmer's Boys' fourth on 140.
It was "Utmost to the Highest", a fitting tribute to the school established by theJamaica Baptist Union in 1912 for the children of Baptist ministers and the children of the poor blacks and was named after the former slave port Calabar in Nigeria.
It topped a fine week in which they also won the Schools' Challenge Quiz title for the fifth time for the double triumph referred to as "Quamps".
Calabar, who last won the title four years ago in 2008, are second only to KC's 31 titles and ahead of JC on 21 victories. They finished in style with a wonderful victory in the 4x400m in a creditable 3:10.19.
Moments after capturing yet another event, Bob Marley's Rat Race echoed from the sound system to a loud roar from the Calabar faithful. Only recently, Calabar had to close after being infested by rats.
The Michael Clarke-coached boys showed good all-round strength, especially in the field events, with Fedrick Dacres, Ashinia Miller, Demar Robinson, Shamar Kitson and Andre Beckford, while Michael O'Haro copped a fine display on the track, winning the Class Two 110m hurdles and the 200m.
But Calabar didn't have things their own way and had to stave off a renewed challenge from KC who scored a pair of victories in the 800m and the Class One 4x100m relay.
KC's victory in 1,600m Medley Relay reignited the famed Purples' chances, with the anchor leg runner erasing a 40-metre deficit held by JC had to win in 3:30.55.
Calabar's skipper Demar Robinson, however, gave his team some breathing space after outjumping David Hall of KC on the countback in an intense high jump battle. Both leaped 2.10m.
Calabar, who started the day ahead by 16 points, drew first blood in the Class Three 400m, grabbing 14 points after Aykeeme Francis won in 50.96 and teammate Gawayne Porter placed fourth, and went on to earn 31 points to JC's 24 and KC's 10.
Calabar's Javon Francis upset the favourite in Class One 400m, winning in 47.58 ahead of Lennox Williams of Manchester High, 47.85, and KC's Jovan Williams, 48.04.
KC responded in the 800m, winning the Class One and Two events en route to 34 points, compared to Calabar's 22.
The outstanding Sanj Powell used his blinding burst of speed to win the Class One race in 1.53.17, ahead of Danielle Richards of Holmwood, 1:53.40, and teammate Alex Saunders, who set a blistering pace, in third with 1:53.47.
Powell was winning his second event, having broken the 2,000m steeplechase Open record on Thursday night.
JC's Waquar DaCosta ended his 'Champs' career in a disappointing fourth spot with 1:54.54. DaCosta had dominated both Class Three and Class Two.
Chad Miller of KC won the Class Two event in 1:56.63, ahead of Alex Hutton of Calabar, 1:56.97, while third went to Ricardo McKenzie of Cornwall College in 1:57.68. KC's Miguel Morrison was fifth and earned four points.
In Class Three, Calabar garnered 13 points courtesy of first- and fifth-place finishes. Chevenne Hamilton won in 2:05.04.
After 28 finals, Calabar were leading by 24.5 points with 204.5 to KC's 180 and JC falling to third with 140. But Calabar didn't rest on their laurels. Immediately, the impressive Michael O'Haro, who had earlier won the 110m hurdles, completed his double by sprinting clear of his rivals in 21.56 seconds in the 200m.
The fancied JC pair of Rohan Walker and Devaughn Baker were second and fourth, respectively.
Meanwhile, the outstanding Delano Williams of Munro Colege completed the Class One sprint double, easing to 21.18 to win the 200m.
KC's Travane Morrison finished well for second in 21.67, ahead of Nethanee Mitchell-Blake of JC, 21.72. Jevaughn Minzie of Bog Walk was fourth in 21.74.
Raheem Chambers of St Jago also won his second gold, stopping the clock at 22.78, well ahead of Munro's Rushane Edwards, 23.01, and KC's Jhevaughn Matherson, 23.25.
Stefan Fennell, who will be taking up a scholarship to the University of Arkansas despite having a year left at KC, won the Class One 110m hurdles in 13.74, ahead of arch-rival Yanick Hart of Wolmer's, 14.12.