Wednesday morning’s protest action by staff of the National Sports Council did not sidetrack the running of the 2017 Pine Hill National Primary Schools Athletics Championship semifinals at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex.
In fact, around 10 a.m. when the coaches took to the infield of the Ryan Brathwaite track for their brief strike, the show still went on with a number of eye-catching performances including the Open High Jump finals.
One of those outstanding moments came in the Girls High Jump Open when all focus was on Samiya Dell of Sharon Primary. Dell, the Under-13 champion of the James Wedderburn Zone this year, fell just one meter short (1.47m) of equalling a nine-year-old record of 1.48m belonging to Talasia Balgobin of Charles F. Broome Primary. It was indeed the highlight of the day with the crowd giving her the encouragement needed to go after the mark with loud cheers every time she took off to go over the bars.
The Boys Open High Jump finals won by Jaedan Best of St Paul’s Primary did not command similar attention. Best’s winning height was a mere 1.34m and despite a good effort from the young man, it was way below par compared to the girls.
Those were the only medal-winning events of the day, as Sharon and St Paul’s will both go into next week Wednesday’s (March 22) finals with a ten-points lead respectively.
Two records fell, first in the Under-seven Boys Standing Broad Jump when Christian Harding landed in the sand pit at 1.72m and surpassed the 1.71m by Amari Sondatt-Sealy of Luther Thorne Primary that has stood since 2005. The Under-nine Girls 150m record was also erased when Krisanne Jones of St John Primary crossed the finish line at 22.13 to remove the 22.64 once held by St Giles’ top athlete Desiree Joseph in 2003.
The athletes blazed the track for qualifying times to reach next week’s final in their respective events. There were two preliminary Heats for each racing competition.
In the opening race Wednesday, the Girls 600m Open, Jahzara Holford of defending girls champions, West Terrace Primary, clocked 1:50.22 and will definitely be favoured to take the gold medal. The second best time to Holford’s was the 1:52.99 by Isha Adamson of St Elizabeth Primary.
All Saint’s Primary should also take top honours in the Boys 800m Open once Joshua Husbands maintains his amazing form come next week. Wednesday morning the short lad gave it his all to clock 2:30.05, way ahead of the 2:33.10 by Daniel Duncan of Bayley’s Primary. Duncan, who anchored Bayley’s to victory in the Boys 800m Sprint Medley, also advanced into the Under-13 Boys 400m finals with the fastest time of 1:02.90.
The Under-13 Girls and Boys Division will bring lots of excitement even though it is clear Nya Browne of Christ Church Girls and Josiah Cato of Roland Edwards Primary have stamped their authority as the ones to beat in the 100m and 200m.
Five girls have ran under 14 seconds to reach the 100m finals and Browne who has remained consistent throughout this NAPSAC season, clocke 13.32 to lead the way. She also sprinted 27.60 to convincingly advance ahead of Tianna Applewhaite of St Giles’ (28.22) and Dell of Sharon Primary (28.39).
Cato was also large and in charge when he ran a brisk 26.59 to set the pace in the Under-13 Boys 200m, ahead of the 27.30 clocked by his nearest rival Shaquon Weekes of Bay Primary. Cato, running out of Heat One, produced 13.12 to dominate the 100m. Weekes clocked 13.56 in Heat Two and had the closest time to Cato.
In the Under-11 Girls age group, Aniya Nurse of Hillaby Turners Hall Primary ran 1:08.07 and will need to be in her best form in the final after Tonika Griffith of Lawrence T. Gay Primary clocked 1:08.90. Griffith has a time of 29.46 heading into 200m finals next week with Tania Applewhaite of St Giles’ following closely with 30.06.
Speaking of Applewhaite, the twin towers, Tia and Tania, will lead the quest for gold in the 100m after finishing in 14.48 and 14.66 respectively to advance.
Dahrion Belgrave of Milton Lynch Primary outpaced the Under-nine Boys 100m field running 14.84, and also clocked a winning 22.05 in the 150m. Zion Ifill won the Boys 80m dash in 12.41 while Makel Alleyne captured the Girls Under-nine 80m in 12.73. The Girls 100m went to Jones of St John in 15.09.
The relays were just as hot and Bayley’s boys secured the fast lane in two of them, which were the 800m-sprint medley and Under-13 4x100m. Charles F. Broome Primary took top spot in two relays and they were the Under-nine and Under-13 Girls 4x100m.