Coaches always confident
FOR THE CHAMPS, the challenges weren’t shocking.
The results were even less surprising still.
Both coaching staffs of Springer Memorial and Queen’s College said they were always confident of retaining their respective Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletic Championships (BSSAC) titles despite expecting serious competition at the five-day meet.
The two schools expressed the sentiment after Queen’s College were pushed to the wire by Lester Vaughan’s boys, while St Michael managed to cut into Springer’s customarily large margin of victory.
“I was a little bit nervous because we have never led these championships from Day 1, and that’s what happened this year, but it’s not been hard to win because we preach one thing all the time – give of your best at all times,” said QC physical education teacher Brian Holder.
“This one was a real test of character and we really had to dig deep and stay focused but I keep telling my kids all the time you are performance athletes because no one is interested if you didn’t train or how long you trained, people are interested in your performance on the day.”
It was a point echoed by Holder’s opposite number Julie Phillips, who explained there was nothing accidental about Springer’s success considering the preparations the 15-time champs put into the meet.
“We’re not really surprised [at the declining gap] because we knew that the year we missed last year we wouldn’t have known what we had in second form,” said Phillips after Springer won their 11th straight crown.
“But we prepare from August from the time we meet our first years. We talk with everyone and we start our planning preparation from the previous year. We plan this, we don’t just decide we’re showing up.”
No one still expected Springer to be dethroned, but St Michael managed to pull within 84.5 points of the perennial queens going into the final day – a feat unheard of during Springer’s run of 11 straight crowns.
And Queen’s College were actually passed by their Cane Garden rivals, with Lester Vaughan holding a slim advantage following the completion of the sprint hurdles.
“This year we talked about having something that somebody wants and if they want it they will have to come and take it but we won’t be giving it up,” said Holder after QC managed to hold on for their third straight cup, and fourth in six championships.
“It almost happened when the sprint hurdles were on but through our assessment we realised that they didn’t have enough of a lead to beat us. Then our field eventers stepped up big time.”
The Under-13 division also proved pivotal to Husbands lads staging a successful defence, as QC leaned heavily on the most junior division for a lot of their points.
“We acquired some very, very talented under-13 athletes like Ajani Haddock, Samuel Alkins and the 4×100 team, and
I think they were the bedrock for our performance so that may have been a blessing in disguise not having BSSAC last year,” joked Holder.
“But honestly we put a lot of dedication into this one and we’re indeed very, very proud that we were able to defend our championship.”