A strong overall team performance from St. Catherine led them to victory over the defending champions, St. Andrew at 2014 Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) Sagicor National Athletics Championships inside the National Stadium.
St. Catherine was capturing their first title since 1989 and sixth year parish coordinator Colin Spence was jubilant at his team’s success.
“It is a great feeling to come away with the championships this year and I must commend the coaching staff and the athletes for a tremendous championship. When I first took over the team six years ago we were 11th and we were awarded the most improved team that year after finishing 6th, each year after that we have been planning and improving and it is just unbelievable to see what we have achieved here today.”
St. Catherine took over the lead from St. Andrew after thirteen finals and did not look back. Despite strong performances from Anthony Haslam who captured the Boys U-13 double sprint titles, recording a new record in the 200m of 24.08 erasing his own record set in Qualifying of 24.30, the title defence proved too much.
St. Catherine then ran away with the championships after dominating the relays. The Colin Spence headed team captured the 4x100M Boys’ Under-9, Boys’ and Girls’ Under-11, Girls’ Under-13, Girls’ Under-15 and Girls 800M Sprint Medley.
“We really planned our championship effort around the relays simply because, the relays are worth more in terms of the points available, so it was a direct and very deliberate tactic to have strong performances in the relays”, said Spence.
St. Catherine finished on top with 302 points ahead of St. Andrew 257 and Portland 244, Kingston 214 and St. Elizabeth 176 rounded out the top five. Manchester was sixth with 164 followed by St. Thomas 144, Clarendon 139, Westmoreland 138 and St. Ann 120. St. Mary managed to finish 11th on 59 points, while Trelawny accumulated 51 points and St. James 29 points. Hanover put forward a gallant effort at the championships even though they failed to make any of the finals.
St. Catherine captured their second title in twenty-five years after a tactical championship display in which they capitalized on strong relay performances to dethrone defending champions, St. Andrew at the 31st staging of the JTA Sagicor National Athletics Championships.