Why Springer and QC rule
Springer Memorial’s superb management of their resources and Queen’s College’s ruthless desire to stay on top are two of the possible reasons why the champions of the 2012 Powerade Barbados Secondary School’s Athletic Championships (BSSAC) are still the same.
It takes more than numbers and talent to win a title for ten straight years and it is in this respect that the Physical Education Department at Springer Memorial must be given overdue credit for being able to spot natural talent and simply make the best use of athletes who may not be considered to be extra-ordinary in terms of ability.
It is noteworthy that at times Springer has been able to benefit, like the rest of the schools, from outstanding athletes progressing from the primary schools. So, it is a myth they have an unfair advantage in this area.
It might be true that being the only all-girls school at the secondary level, they would have an advantage in numbers, the inference being they would always have more options to choose from than the others.
But who’s to say that would make it a formality for them to win a championship? Indeed, the point should be self-explanatory when you ponder on what happened in the years before they started winning titles. They still had the most numbers but weren’t winning and in fact didn’t always appear to be serious contenders at all.
If we concede that with the dawn of the 1990s they made a more deliberate attempt to organize and mobilize their athletes into a winning unit, their detractors may provide a much stronger and truer argument on why they hold a seemingly unbeatable status.
Not only that, in years gone by the school was scarred by many perceived negatives and in such an environment it might have taken a lot for students to muster the morale to stand up and be counted. Therefore, even more credit must be given to those who were able to help them shed that inferiority complex and to come out fighting, not only in the avenue of sports but in other areas as well.
In my opinion, they have devised a winning formula that sees an almost flawless balance between track and field events. I have no doubt that it is their legacy, too, which encourages the average girl to get involved and play a part in keeping them at the top with aplomb.
Can you imagine they got 400.50 points without an input from the outstanding Tristan Evelyn who is injured! Last year they amassed 375 – well ahead of the pack.
From the newer secondary schools’ viewpoint, I am seeing incremental improvement from the likes of the Garrison, Parkinson and Lester Vaughan, all Top 10 finishers. I hope they can sustain it notwithstanding some of their counterparts from schools like St Lucy, St George and Ellerslie were outstanding in former years.
The defining moments of the boys’ championship was the enduring battle between Queen’s, Lodge, Combermere, St Leonard’s and Lester Vaughan.
Up to midday on the final day none of them was assured of the ultimate glory.
However, I think two crucial factors were instrumental in Queen’s retaining their crown. The fact that they fought like warriors shouldn’t be discounted and this was best exemplified by Raphael Jordan, who defied a couple of ups and downs to inspire the troops.
The other one wasn’t of their making but two disqualifications for Lodge at a critical stage of their great fightback proved decisive as they trailed Queen’s by only five points at the end (251-246). The lads from St John proved that they have a legendary and phenomenal fighting spirit coming from down in the pack to create panic at the top.
The Combermerian revival must be recognized and complimented in both sections and their eternal bonding, notwithstanding gutsy performances by their athletes, played a significant role in their final positions.
St Leonard’s must find the formula to deliver the knockout punch. This is the third successive year they had a view of the promise land but couldn’t enter. There was much improvement by Lester Vaughan who worked all year and maybe 2013 could be theirs to dominate.
If there was a special honours list, Parkinson’s Sonia Gaskin would be out front for her unprecedented triumph in the 3 000 metres, 1 500 metres, 800 metres (done in record time) and the 400 metres. Lester Vaughan’s Rivaldo Leacock would be next, not only because he was victor ludorum but he provided evidence that in addition to his middle distance forte he could develop into a first-class hurdler as well.
Much kudos to Queen’s Alana Ince who competed for the last two days with a broken wrist. I’m not sure she should have taken the chance in the hurdles in her condition but it worked out for her. Maximum points for courage.
I have already mentioned the determined Jordan and I would like to add Lester Vaughan’s Tiana Bowen and Combermere’s Ramarco Thompson to the list of those I would recruit anytime I was fighting a track and field war.
It’s off to CARIFTA in Bermuda and I hope the team will supersede their superb performance in Jamaica last year.
• Andi Thornhill is an award-winning freelance sports journalist.