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Confident Cougars

RIA GOODMAN, [email protected]

Confident Cougars

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The St Michael Cougars envisioned the victory before it was a reality. That positivity according to physical education teacher Gabriel Burnett propelled the boys to win the title and the girls to share the championship with Christ Church Foundation on the final day of the PowerAde Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletics Championships at the National Stadium yesterday.

“Both teams saw nothing but victory. This year was the 90th anniversary of The St Michael School and [principal] Dr [Yvette] Mayers said we were winning both titles and we set about going after them,” he said.

They captured the boys’ title with 310.50 points and shared the girls title after gaining 326 points, the same as Foundation.

Coach Burnett said TheSt Michael girls got close to the title on numerous occasions but were unsuccessful.

“I know the girls wanted it really badly. We have been so close to the top three all the time and we knew that this year we had a really good team, and once we didn’t have any injuries we would be able to pull it off,” he said.

“We had a lot of mishaps yesterday (Thursday) but the girls came back really strong today (yesterday). Yesterday (Thursday) was the first time I had a team meeting on day one because I am not big on meetings but I felt that we needed a pick-up and the girls came out very focused today (yesterday).”

“The St Michael boys won last year for the first time and though they had to defend the title they were a strong group so he knew they would do it.

“We knew we were defending but they are a very strong group of boys. They were focused from the get-go. We held hands and prayed. I said God is not going to bring us this close and not going to give it to us it,” Burnett said.

He mentioned that they were going to lose almost the entire Under-20 Boys group, which included Antoni Hoyte-Small, Nathan Fergusson and also a couple of girls, but they were going to be okay.

Foundation coach Seibert Straughn was astounded by the tie between his team and The St Michael girls.

“This is amazing. Who would have expected that there would be a tie in a championship at this level. I think it shows a lot for both our programmes at Foundation School and St Michael School,” he said.

Straughn said both teams had been working extremely hard over the last four or five years and other schools should follow the example.

“Other schools can learn that if you put a good system in place in terms of a good management structure you would get good results. I am happy because when you reflect on what could have happened and what really happened it could have been worse,” he said.

“There are some things that didn’t go our way and it is never a perfect track meet. I am never going to be one who would criticise the kids because I always think as a former athlete and I would not have wanted anyone to criticise me.  If I am not strong for these athletes, who will be strong for them, so I have to show good leadership. This is all a learning experience in life.”

Like Burnett, Straughn will be losing athletes but he will be working to make the team stronger.

“I must say someone like Josiah Atkins . . . he left this meet on a blaze winning the 100 and 200 and he ran a good leg in the 4×4 and they won with 40.80 and also did well in the 4×1.”

Straughn said with BSSAC completed he has a new challenge going to Grenada to compete in the Kirani James International meet on April 20.

The following week they will also be competing at the Penn Relays and are hoping they do well after the results they gained in their relays during BSSAC. (RG)