By Noel Francis, Trackalerts.Com Contributor
As we continue our review of the 38th staging of the Gibson Relays, we now turn our focus on the performances of the girls. Despite not matching the achievements of the boys with a host of record runs, a few surprises and disqualifications occurred throughout.
Girls 4X400 Meter Relay OPEN High Schools
Edwin Allen are on a mission this year and taking no prisoners. The present Edwin Allen team seems to be in a different class and frame of mind this year and their biggest threat in this event is not their opponents, it is ensuring their athletes stay injury free. Therefore, I hope the Edwin Allen runner that was seen being taken away on a stretcher after the end of the 4x400m relay would be fit and healthy for ‘champs’.
The school romped to victory by such a wide margin at the Gibson Relays that no one can bet against them in this event at ‘champs’ this year. It will be sweet revenge after their disappointing 3rd place finish at ‘champs’ in the final race last year. That painful defeat was compounded by injuries to two of their top runners Saqukine Cameron and Marleena Eubanks that prevented them from competing in all their events including this one. Some persons believe their absence severely affected the school’s title aspirations.
4X100M CLASS 1
Edwin Allen continued their dominance from the Milo Western Relays and showed why they are ranked number one in this event. It was very clear from the qualifying heats that the team to beat was Edwin Allen after clocking the fastest time in heat one, an impressive 45.10 seconds. Some persons expected a serious challenge to come from Holmwood Technical, Wolmer’s Girls and St. Jago in the finals.
However, this was not to be as Edwin Allen ran flawlessly with the speedy Christania Williams returning to fitness on the first leg and Monique Spencer on anchor lowering the meet record to 44.48 seconds. The other finalists struggled to replicate their earlier times in the heats and have a lot of work to do before ‘champs’. Edwin Allen should win easily at ‘champs’ barring any unforeseen setbacks. Tragedy struck St. Jago High whose second leg runner pulled up after some 15 meters and fell to ground; this unfortunate incident started the first of three relay disappointments for the school.
4x100m CLASS 2
An exciting final was promised based on the quality athletes distributed amongst the top teams for this event. Fresh on the heels of their impressive showing at the Milo Western Relays Holmwood Technical came to the Gibson Relays with high credentials to battle St. Jago High and Wolmer’s Girls who were absent from that particular meet. It was a hotly contested event up to the final exchange with St. Jago High, Holmwood Technical and Green Island a few meters ahead of Wolmer’s Girls with Shauna Helps on anchor.
The Wolmerian ran a blistering leg to bring the stadium audience to its feet surging past her opponents like a formula one car to give her team a deserving victory in 46.19 seconds. I am confident this event will attract a large following at the upcoming Boys & Girls Championships next month. There was disappointment for Hydel High who promised so much in the heats but twice ran out the exchange zone on the second and final legs and was disqualified. I would love to see all the teams bring their ‘A’ game next month.
4x100m CLASS 3
A noticeable absentee from the finals and great disappointment for many persons was St. Jago High through disqualification in their heat. The expected face-off between Hydel High and St. Jago High had been brewing for several weeks especially with Shaneil English and Kimone Shaw in their respective line-ups.
Those encounters never materialize and the showdown was now between Hydel High and Edwin Allen. Both teams were engaged in a lively dash to the finish line with Hydel prevailing by a whisker in 46.33 seconds to Edwin Allen’s 46.34 seconds. It is my view that St. Jago High has some unfinished business to take care of at ‘champs’ and this race is far from over. A very fast race is on the cards.
4x100m class 4
In my view, one of the most disappointing relays from a spectators perspective. Firstly, Hydel High who won this event at the Milo Western Relays were disqualified in heat one, which deprived the finals of some quality. Secondly, favourites St. Jago’s relays woes continued with another disqualification after running out of the exchange zone on the anchor leg despite having a clear 10-meter lead. Nevertheless, relays are about making the least mistakes and seizing the moment and Edwin Allen capitalized to perfection. It was refreshing to see Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha) with a promising quartet pushing Edwin Allen all the way to the finish line.
The Gibson Relays was a great success with many outstanding performances and cherished memories. Some arguments were settled and several lessons learnt by the athletes and coaches. It was a mock exam and despite its importance, the results will have no bearing on ‘champs’. We look forward to the schools having a crack at each other again in March when everything is at stake.
**The views expressed in this article are those of the author (Noel Francis) and do not necessarilyrepresent the views of, and should not be attributed to, trackalerts.com.