The Best of ‘Champs’ 2013

ISSA Boys & Girls Athletics Championships 2013 was simply super! There were records galore and a whole host of other stellar performances over the course of the five days of competition inside the National Stadium. After much deliberation, I finally managed to come up with my top-10 list of performances from ‘Champs’ 2013 (plus a ‘likkle brawta’). Ready! Set! Go! And we’re off with…

1) 11.75 seconds – Girls Class 4 100 Metres (Kimone Shaw, St. Jago High School)

The fastest time ever run by a twelve year-old girl – by a country mile. This performance would even have placed her atop the list for thirteen year-old’s by a smidgen. The way she held her drive phase would have impressed even the likes of former 100-metre world record holder Maurice Greene.

With a few technical improvements, Shaneil English, who finished second in 12.09 seconds, will be much closer to Shaw when they meet next year. Reigning Class 3 100-metre champion Shellece Clark has to keep her eyes peeled. Objects in one’s rear view mirror are almost always closer than they appear.

2) 10.85 seconds – Boys Class 3 100 Metres (Jhevaughn Matherson, Kingston College)

The fastest time ever recorded by a thirteen year-old boy since human beings stumbled upon the thrillingly novel idea of strapping on special spiked shoes and drag racing down synthetic tracks. Enough said.

3) 13.24 seconds – Boys Class 1 110-metre Hurdles (Omar McLeod, Kingston College)

This sprint hurdling master class powered McLeod into the all-time top-10 list of junior performances. It also pulled Jamaica College’s Tyler Mason and Wolmerian Yanick Hart under the 13.53 second mark which had stood as the national junior record entering the event. Astounding!

4) 21.87 seconds – Boys Class 3 200 Metres (Jhevaughn Matherson, Kingston College)

In the final of the Class 3 200-metre event, Matherson disconnected himself from a quality field even faster than the Jamaica Public Service Company would terminate electricity supply to a delinquent customer. And despite their desperate efforts to get back on terms, ‘The Natural’ just kept gliding away. The new Class 3 400-metre record holder Nathaniel Bann was amongst those left in his withering wake.

5) 3:30.51 – Girls Open 4 x 400-metre Relay (Vere Technical High School)

The Shericka Jackson-anchored team, which also featured Yanique McNeil, Olivia James and Andrenette Knight, powered its way into the all-time top-20 list of female junior 1,600-metre relay performances with one of the most jaw-dropping performances at ‘Champs’ 2013. Many countries, including the likes of 4×4 powerhouses Nigeria, have never managed to put together a national junior team that has managed to go as fast as Vere did on the Saturday of March 16, 2013, inside the National Stadium.

With Simoya Campbell and Chris-Ann Gordon added to the mix for the Carifta Games, an assault on the world junior record is not outside the realms of possibility. At the very least, one would expect the Jamaican national junior record to be no more after four collective circuits of the track.

6) 20.27 seconds – Boys Class 1 200 Metres (Delano Williams, Munro College)

The super sprinter from the Turks and Caicos Islands sped to a time that was only two-hundredths of a second shy of equalling Usain Bolt’s epic 20.25 second Class 1 200-metre record. Such a time would have been a shoo-in for virtually all half-lap finals at the World Championships and Olympics in recent memory.

I see the 200/400-metre double in his future.

7) 49.98 seconds – Boys Open 400-metre Hurdles (Omar McLeod, Kingston College)

With this awesome record-breaking run, McLeod became the first Jamaican junior to breach the 50-second barrier in the one-lap obstacle event. In light of the fact that it was not a technically ‘clean’ race (i.e. his stride pattern was very choppy throughout), the man from Manchester definitely has the potential to push the national junior record much further south of where it currently stands.

8) 2.19 metres – Boys Class 1 High Jump (Christophe Bryan, Wolmer’s Boys)

Bryan’s stellar leap bettered Enrico Gordon’s 2.15-metre effort from 1995, which had withstood the assaults of a succession of competent would-be conquerors. This outstanding mark by the sixteen year-old also installs him as one of the firm medal favourites heading into this year’s IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.

9) 22.98 seconds – Girls Class 1 200 Metres (Shericka Jackson, Vere Technical High School)

Jackson became the first female Jamaican high schooler to sniff the rarefied air of sub-23 seconds in almost a decade. Only Simone Facey, Veronica Campbell (now Campbell-Brown)  and Anniesha McLaughlin sit ahead of her on the glitzy all-time Jamaican junior list.

10) 49.13 seconds – Boys Class 3 400 Metres (Nathaniel Bann, Kingston College)

In the mythical status stakes, the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman had very little on Ali Watson’s longstanding 49.63 second Class 3 400-metre record. However, in the space of 49.13 seconds, the legendary standard was blown to smithereens by Bann’s powerful gun-to-tape run.

Twelve year-old Christopher Taylor, who finished second with an outstanding 50.68 second clocking, will be back in Class 3 next year. It would not be entirely surprising if the little man scared Bann’s freshly minted record during the 2014 edition of ‘Champs’.

Honourable Mention

* 46.64 seconds – Boys Class 2 400 Metres (Devaughn Baker, Jamaica College)

After a year when the times did not quite match his obvious talent, former Class 3 400-metre champion Baker stormed back to the front of the youth one-lap pack with this majestic record-breaking effort. In the process, the easy strider pulled both the prodigious Jaheel Hyde and the rapidly improving Martin Manley into formerly uncharted sub-47 second Class 2 territory.

With these youngsters and many others in the mix, Jamaica’s junior male quarter mile stocks suddenly look as good as they ever have. National junior trials should be something special.

* 13.45 seconds – Boys Class 2 110-metre Hurdles (Michael O’Hara, Calabar High School)

O’Hara’s powerful run decimated a field that included Jaheel Hyde, who beat him to the Carifta Under-17 110-metre hurdles title last year. The performance confirmed his status as a very early medal favourite heading into World Youths later this year.

Of course, Hyde will be a much harder adversary to overcome when a hard sub-47 400-metre run is not required just hours before his next showdown with O’Hara. O’Hara v. Hyde should be a treat come national junior trials.

* 13.38 seconds – Girls Class 2 100-metre Hurdles (Peta-Gaye Williams, Camperdown High School)

Williams’ stunning 13.38 second effort in the preliminaries had spectators salivating ahead of her anticipated clash with Yanique Thompson in the final. However, unfortunately, she fell victim to the unforgiving one false start rule, robbing fans of the chance to witness what was one of the most highly anticipated clashes heading into this year’s renewal of the event.

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