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Relay foul-ups


MIKE KING

Relay foul-ups

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THERE?was a record 25 disqualifications in the sprint relays in a compelling day three of the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletic Championships (BSSAC) that was also marked by the continued surge of The St Michael School in the boys division.
In the topsy turvy final session in the afternoon, almost every single event in the nerve-jangling relays was dogged by misfortune with countless athletes goofing up their exchanges by running out of their take-off zones either before or after the exchange.
The division most affected was the under-17 boys 4 x 100 metre relay in which there were seven disqualifications in the three heats of that event.
Powerful Springer Memorial, the runaway leaders among the girls, were also beset by bad luck, one of their athletes dropping the baton in the under-20 division.
Both Queen’s College, the leaders thus far in the boys category, and the St Michael School who are breathing down their necks, were among the many schools that just couldn’t get the baton exchange right. The St Michael School, who are just nine points now behind Queen’s College in the standings, crashed out of the 4 x 100 metre relay for under-17 boys while Queen’s College made a mess of their exchanges in both the Under-15 boys and under-17 girls divisions.
If the hundreds of spectators at the National Stadium, who included 1960 Olympic bronze medallist Jim Wedderburn, only had eyes for the relays in the afternoon, the focus was of a different kind in the morning as the field events stole the spotlight in the morning.
Yesterday was a big day for St George Secondary. On a day that had 11 finals, St George Secondary won two of them, both by lion-hearted 17-year-olds, Dario Grandison and Dequan Lovell.
Grandison, who only enrolled in the school three weeks ago, made a resounding start to the day with a front-running victory in the 5 000 metres Open. Grandison, who turns 18 next week, kicked well clear of Raheem Skinner of Combermere and Jonathan Jones of Coleridge and ?Parry for the commanding win.
“It was comfortable. I could have gone faster. I am happy to deliver for the school,” he said.
Lovell, the rugged fifth-form student from Clifton Hall, St John, will never forget these championships. On Thursday, watched by his mother Francine Lovell, he took pride of place in the under-20 boys shot put. Yesterday, he sent the discus sailing 40.65 metres to complete back-to-back conquests.
The most captivating event of the day may have been the high jump for under-20 boys. Hakeem Clarke, the 6 ft, 3 in Lodge schoolboy, won an absorbing clash with Todd Lavine of Harrison College and Akeem Rowe of Queen’s College. All three cleared the bar at 1.97 metres but Clarke, a national junior volleyball player, was the only one who came up big when the bar was raised at 2.00 metres.
“That feels nice. You ain’t know how hard I trained for that,” he screamed in delight seconds after making the clearance.
Lavine, who didn’t have a single knockdown all the way through the rounds, before knocking the bar at 2 metres, took second place ahead of Rowe, as he had fewer knockouts based on the countback system.
Clarke’s win was the most riveting, but it was Hayley Matthews of Harrison College, who had the standout performance of he day, making the Carifta qualifying mark in the under-17 girls javelin where she was easily the class of the competition. Matthews, who turned 16 on Wednesday, fouled on her first two throws, but brushed aside that disappointment with big efforts on her fourth and fifth throws, measured at 41.45 and 41.68 metres respectively.
Hayley, watched by her father, cricketer Mike Matthews, won with a throw 12 metres clear of second-best Okera Hill of Combermere.
The St Michael School closed the gap on Queen’s College thanks largely to Gabriel Browne who captured the junior boys shot put with a throw measured at 12.47 metres.
Springer, the queens of local track, who have not been upstaged since 2002, maintained their stranglehold and now lead the girls standings by 48 points. Winmalecia Bowen led the Springer surge on day three with an emphatic victory in the under-20 girls discus with a toss measured at 34.39 metres.
Druanne Butler had the Foundation posse smiling with a win in the junior girls shot put, her first throw of 9.55 metres doing the trick for the third-former.
Her victory and that of Jaliya Denny in the under-13 long jump, catapulted Foundation from seventh to second in the standings. 

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