Springer Memorial has returned to the top as they captured the girls’ overall title, while Harrison College ran away with the boys’ title at the 2023 Dasani-Powerade Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships (BSSAC).
Holders of the longest winning streak in the championships, which stands at 15 consecutive years, Springer returned to reclaim their throne when the dust settled at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex this evening.
Springer amassed 306.50 points to edge second placed St Michael (301), while Combermere finished third on 260 points. Fourth place went to Christ Church Foundation School with 174 points, while the Alleyne School rounded off the top five with 162.75 points.
Speaking to the media after claiming the coveted title, Physical Education teacher Julie Phillips said along with the other coaches and teachers at the school, they had to make the students believe that it was possible to win again.
“The hardest part was self-belief. There’s a lot of talent there but we had to work on the mind. The mind is still a work in progress. But if you realise, even though we were not champions, we were always in the top three and we kept reinforcing that to them all the time. They inherited a rich sporting legacy, and they are charged with the responsibility of taking it forward,” Phillips said.
And that is exactly what they did in a hard-fought battle that lasted two days, as they trailed eventual second place finishers the St. Michael School by 10 points heading into today’s final day.
It was midway through the final day that Springer took over the lead of the girls’ division, but the St Michael School kept nipping at their heels with the advantage never reaching double digits.
After the 200 metres finals for the Under-17 and Under-20 girls, they held a slender seven point lead with just the 1500 metres and relays to run.
These two distanced themselves from Combermere, who at the end of the second day was five points behind Springer.
St Michael won the first 4x100m relay, the Under-13 girls, as Springer finished third. In the Under-15 girls’ 4x100m relay it was Springer who captured the top spot, with St Michael finishing fifth. St Michael rebounded to take the open 4x400m relay, but with their fourth place finish, Springer had done enough to win the title.
Phillips said that her first goal was to win the zonal title which they did a week earlier. She said anything after that she considered a bonus.
She also praised the cohesiveness of the team.
“I am thankful, I am grateful for every single thing that I did with the girls,” said Phillips as she looked across at the team sitting in the middle of the field waiting to hear the results announced.
“We had instances where girls were crying, they were tired, but the encouragement from the team members, they really rallied around. There was a rallying call not only amongst the team, but the general staff at school. And the parents, the well-wishers, the old scholars, everybody. It was like a different type of energy and vibe and constantly talking to them, encouraging them all the time telling them they’re good, and they’re the greatest. They’re the best. I can’t say that it was a single one individual, one athlete. It was a committed team after and it was a different mindset,” Phillips maintained.
It was a different story in the title race for the boys as Harrison College (283.5 points) ended with a comfortable lead over Combermere who finished second on 234 points. Christ Church Foundation was third on 213 points, while Lodge School with 198 points was fourth and Queen’s College fifth on 183 points.