A comprehensive performance by Kingston College yielded six wins on the track at the 2019 Gibson McCook Relays as the Purples unveiled a mighty Boys Championship challenge. Though not nearly as dominant, Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School took a trio of relay victories on the girls’ side with no other team able to win more than one. The meet’s top performer was Kimar Farquharson of Calabar High School, who produced a sensational anchor leg to rescue his team’s victory bid in the boys 4x800 metres.
GOOD START FOR KINGSTON COLLEGE
KC peeled away from their rivals by winning the first three 4x100 finals, with times of 45.64 in class 4; 43.71 in class 3 and a nippy 41.18 second clocking in class 2, thanks to urgent legs by Terrique Stennett and Adrian Kerr. Calabar led all class 1 qualifiers at 39.97 seconds and with captain Christopher Taylor in the midst, things looked good. Calabar crossed the line first in the final too but surrendered the treasured Gibson-McCook winners’ watches to Wolmers Boys after a late anchor leg baton change led to their disqualification.
2012 Olympic gold medallist Nesta Carter got the MVP Track Club off to a good start and with former CARIFTA 200 champion Chad Walker on anchor, the Stephen Francis coached unit won the event in 38.89 seconds. Carter’s former clubmate Sherone Simpson, the 2008 Olympic 100 metre runner-up, anchored Sprintec to the women’s 4x100 crown. The super Edwin Allen class 2 4x100 team took its collective foot off the gas and still trimmed the meet record to 44.75 seconds with Kevona Davis speedy on the second leg.
Minutes later, Davis’ incredible class 3 teammates blasted around the track in 44.59 seconds. That team included the terrific Clayton twins, Tia and Tina.
Those times made fans almost forget the win by St Jago in class 1 – 45.62 and the close win by Holmwood over Immaculate Conception – 48.86 to 48.90 – in class 4.
BIG WINS FOR ENID BENNETT AND QUEENS
Then came big moments from Enid Bennett High School and the Queens School. Thanks to a strong anchor from Tyrese Taylor, Enid Bennett got its first ever Gibson McCook win in the Boys Medley. With outstanding hurdler Daszay Freeman speeding her 200 metre leg, Queens held on to the lead despite a fast closing Holmwood effort. Both Medley winners set record, 3 minutes 25.99 seconds for Enid Bennett and 4.00.83 for Queens.
KC got two more wins in the 4x200 finals. First came an easy win in class 4, and after the outstanding Christopher Scott keyed a Jamaica College win in class 3, the Purples outran strong opposition from Wolmers and Calabar to take the class 2 final in 1 minute 28.12 seconds.
With Taylor off duty for Calabar, St. Jago took the class 1 final in a notable time of 1 minute 25.39 seconds. Similarly, Edwin Allen rested Davis in the girls’ 4x200 Open so Holmwood stepped forward to win in 1 minute 34.19 seconds.
FARQUHARSON FASTEST 800 LEG
Triumphant in the class 3 4x200, JC sought a second win in the boys 4x800 and bossed the race for the first three legs and sent outgoing senior Dugion Blackman off with a big lead. Calabar and KC gave chase and soon, Blackman, Calabar’s Kimar Farquharson and Tarees Rhoden of KC were within arms’ length of each other. Blackman surged and Farquharson went with him and eased gradually past with the finish line in sight. Down 1.8 seconds at the exchange, Calabar came through to win in record time – 7 minutes 31.71 seconds. Stunningly, Farquharson’s leg of 1 minute 47.9 seconds is the fastest 800 metre split time by a Jamaican schoolboy. Blackman and Rhoden were solid at 1.49.9 and 1.50.6 respectively.
Edwin Allen won the girls’ equivalent comfortably in 8.58.00. In the field, KC’s 2018 World under 20 long jump bronze medal winner Wayne Pinnock continued his undefeated season against all comers with a wind assisted leap of 8.14 metres. The performance made fans wonder if the 26 year-old Boys and Girls Championships class 1 standard of 7.87 would be broken a month later. Then the meet came down to its traditional climax with the 4x400 metre finals. York Castle schoolboy Anthony Cox sparkled with a 45.2 second final leg to give the Racers the win in the men’s event, just after international runners Ronda Whyte and Christine Day piloted Sprintec to victory in the women’s race.
A first leg mishap for Holmwood in the high school girls heats made it easy for the big Hydel 4x400 team of Brooks, Whyte, Vassell and Simpson in the final, which they won in 3.42.44. Then came win number 6 for KC. Jevaughn Powell, the former class 2 200 and 400 winner for Edwin Allen, made it safe for KC with a strong second leg and that allowed his captain Rhoden to cap a winning time of 3 minute 10.99 seconds.
It was a thoroughly entertaining day where KC, and to a lesser extent Edwin Allen, had the ascendancy and where Farquharson showed that there is hope for Jamaica at 800 metres.