Gripping battle ends with a tie
Neither the photo-finish cameras nor calculators could separate Christ Church Foundation and The St Michael School yesterday as they battled to a historic tie for the girls’ title in the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship (BSSAC) at the National Stadium.
In an exciting finish, both teams dramatically ended on 326 points, with St Michael clinching the crown in the last girls’ event – the Open 4×400-metre relay – after trailing Foundation by two points at the start of the race.
Sprinter Ashlee Lowe, who had conquered Foundation’s Hannah Connell earlier in the 200 metres, was entrusted with the first leg and she critically gave St Michael a five-metre cushion on Sarah Belle.
Foundation’s second leg runner Chloe Lucas, who got the baton in third position, had cut the lead significantly when she handed over to Connell, who chased down Ashley Weekes.
The lion-hearted Connell, the 100 and sprint hurdles queen, passed over to anchor Rosette Hoyte marginally ahead of St Michael’s Rhea Hoyte.
The two Hoytes, who are the daughters of brothers, former athlete Otis Hoyte and road tennis player Rickey “Body Doc” Hoyte, respectively, battled along the back straight with Rhea dictating the pace as she developed a two-metre lead.
Coming off the curve into the home stretch, Rosette challenged but there was no relenting by Rhea, the 400 metres and 400-metre hurdles champion.
She motored away from her first cousin, who gallantly fought to the end but there was no denying St Michael the share of glory as Rhea crossed the line in 3:52.40 minutes, to the delight of the cheering St Michael students on the far side.
The battle for track and field supremacy was a ding-dong affair throughout the day as the lead inter-changed between schools, along with former 16-time queens, Springer Memorial, who finished a respectable third on 300 points.
While it was the third consecutive year for Foundation as girls’ champions, it was the first time since 1987 that St Michael tasted success after also gaining the most points among the girls in 1985 and 1986.
Nothing typified St Michael’s hunger for success – they won the boys’ title for the second straight year – more than Lowe’s triumph over Connell (24.75) in the 200 metres.
Lowe sped out of the blocks and came off the bend in front and motored down the straight to emphatically win in 24.15 seconds.
Rhea Hoyte (61.75) also dug deep to pip Alexandra’s Shonita Brome (61.79) in the Under-20 Girls’ 400-metre hurdles.
St Michael got an important one-two punch when Asia Foster (2:24.27 minutes) edged teammate Weekes (2:24.36) on the line in the Under-17 Girls’ 800.
Samiya Dell (5.14 metres) and Skye Spencer-Layne (4.87) also provided St Michael with a one-two in the Under-13 Girls’ long jump while Tenielle Chapman-Goodluck (33.17m) added to St Michael’s tally by winning the Junior Girls’ discus.
Foundation were kept on track when Belle emphatically won the Under-17 Girls’ 300 metres hurdles in 44.15 minutes.
Shonte Morris (13.43) also forced Spencer-Layne (13.49) to settle for second place in the Under-13 Girls’ 100 and later anchored the 4×100-metre relay squad to victory.
Lucas (2:19.49) and Rosette Hoyte (2:20.72) grabbed second and third for Foundation behind Daryll Jordan’s Mary Fraser, who collected her third victory in the Under-20 Girls’ 800, clocking 2:18 minutes to be crowned victrix ludorum.
Other noteworthy performances among the girls came from Springer Memorial’s Briana Baird, who won the Under-13 Girls’ 400 metres (62.58), while teammate Maliah Edwards prevailed in the Under-15 Girls’ 200 hurdles (29.31 seconds).
Harrison College’s Layla Haynes captured the Junior Girls’ 1500 with her trademark sprint to the finish line in 5:08.27 minutes.
Ellerslie had a double winner in Tiara Stewart, who triumphed in the Under-15 Girls’ long jump with a leap of 5.25 metres and won the 400 metres in 58.45 seconds.
Princess Margaret’s first-year Under-17 multi-event competitor Anita Blackman completed her victory in the Girls’ pentathlon by winning the 800 metres in 2:45.38 minutes to finish with 2939 points.
Lester Vaughan’s Rowland Kirton-Browne amassed 2700 points for second place and also captured the Under-20 Girls’ discus with 33.32 metres. (EZS)