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Two on Cloud 9

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Two on Cloud 9

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If shootings and accidents couldn’t stop Springer Memorial, then the competition at the 2011 Powerade Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletic Championships (BSSAC) could hardly do so.
Springer Memorial won their ninth title on the trot at the National Stadium yesterday, while Queen’s College fought off all challengers to win only their second boys’ title ever, after taking the lead on Thursday.
With 372.5 points, Springer overcame all of the challenges they faced to get their 13th crown in the last 14 years, building a legacy that will be hard to beat.
Queen’s College gave another valiant effort and were second with 234 points, followed by The St Michael School (220), a resurgent Harrison College (177.5) and Combermere School (145).
The Queen’s College boys never faltered on the final day. Each time the lead narrowed, they pulled ahead and 262 points were enough to secure the title.
Defending champions Harrison College maintained second place with 231 points and The Lodge School came up big to take third place with 191 points.
Ellerslie were fourth with 189 and St Leonard’s fifth, 14 points behind.
Sandra Jones, physical education (PE) teacher at Springer Memorial, said they never doubted, even in the face of adversity.
“This time was particularly special because we had several challenges this year, at least this term. But we are a school that believes in prayer and prayer works. Also, our girls believe in themselves and their capability,” she told THE SATURDAY SUN.
A shooting that occurred while they were training at Blenheim, St Michael, proved to be the first hurdle.
“The shooting was very traumatic for most of the girls who were there.
We don’t have our own playing field and that is one of the bases that we used.
“We had to get the counselors and the psychologists to calm their nerves and their fears, and their parents as well,” she explained.
However, police presence when they returned went a long way to allay those fears.
They were hardly over that, when there was an accident at Waterford, St Michael, involving several young members of the track team, causing them to miss about three weeks of training.
“We convinced them [the parents] that we had their interest at heart and would not do anything to jeopardise that,” said Jones.
She lauded the other members of the PE staff and the support they got from principal Pauline Benjamin.
Queen’s College didn’t have those types of challenges, but they needed to believe they could win. PE teacher Bryan Holder did something different this time around.
“I keep telling the boys they need to understand the concept of digging deep and coming up with something good,” he said.
“You are tired, everyone else in the competition is tired, and it is a matter of who wants it most. We wanted it most this time.
“I don’t usually talk about winning, but this time I spoke about winning from Day 1.”
They won the first title in 2008, and while they came close, always faltered to Harrison College.
“I actually think it was sweeter than the first time. We had so many narrow misses after that first title that this one was really, really sweet.
“What pushed us over the top really was we got some Under-13 athletes who are really, really good.
“After our narrow misses we made the decision that our field eventers were not contributing enough and we made conscious efforts to spend more time in the teaching of the field events. The hurdlers put us over the top today.”
In a totally dominant display, the girls were second overall and he praised Tanya Oxley, Ryan Holford, Rory Sidaway and Luna Rouse, who is not in the department, but is always there to help.
Last year, both Springer Memorial and Queen’s College went to the Penn Relays and while Queen’s College will be going back, Springer will be seeking opportunities closer to home.
In what has become a trend, the top individual awards were shared. Akela Jones of Springer Memorial won her third victrix ludorum title in five years with the full 40 points but had to share it with Cristanna McConney of Queen’s College.
Shamar Rock of The Lester Vaughan School spent the day waiting to see if he would also have to share, and after Ellerslie’s Anthonio Mascoll set a new record in winning the Under-20 boys’ 800 metres, they both ended with 40 points.