Photo: Yardie Sports Senior Athletics writer - Oshae Hudson
As I sat inside the National Stadium, watching as jubilant supporters streamed into the facility on Saturday afternoon, something said to me, it was definitely looking to be a day we will always remember. Drenched in sunshine, there was the mire of supporting colours, noise and excitement. A mega race to the line for Champs 2016 was waiting to unfold— it just didn't get any better. Truly it didn't.
Credit must go wholeheartedly to the fans that flowed in by the numbers, despite previous circulating argument about ticket price becoming a deterrent to fans. But perhaps Champs is one event locally that track and field lovers will find every means to be where the action is live, despite the cost.
There were 48 scheduled finals on the final day of action that going at 1pm.
The respective leaders were, Edwin Allen (142 points) on the Girls' side and Jamaica College (102.5 points) on the Boys' side.
The Frankfield team was pretty much in the driver’s seat, but the latter, Jamaica College and Kingston College were looking to exert the sustained pressure needed to crack the defending champions Calabar High and hope they crumbled under the chants and roars of the Hope Road and North Street masses. The defending champions were nine points adrift of the leaders but set to close fast.
The talks about preventing a fifth straight hold on that Mortimer Geddes Trophy became a belly full for those who uttered them. They had to eat there words — at no point did either of the defending champions appear out-smarted or even phased by their challengers. Indeed, they were too crafty for their opponents.
In every race contested there was a glimpse of that swagger which great athletes carry, suggesting that there was much in store to cheer and bask about.
Both of the defending champion teams, proved that they have become a dominant pack who could out-scrum and out-muscle anyone that dares to test them. This has resulted in the Michael's copping an important historic “Five”. It was five straight for Michael Clarke and the fifth title for Michael Dyke.
After a gruelling five days of a real battle royal and 10 new records established with one equalled, Calabar High finished with 287.50 points to claim their 26th lien overall and Edwin Allen with 329 points won their fifth overall crown.There were so much to talk about, but here are just some of the moments that made the Champs what it was:
Christopher Taylor – This young class two charge was in really spanking form from the start to the very end of champs, literally. He was responsible for the first record at Champs 2016, speeding to a 46.64 seconds in the heats of the 400m to erase Devaughn Baker’s record set in 2013. He returned with 20.80 seconds to smash Ramone McKenzie's 200m record of 20.89 from 2007.
Taylor was also a strong link in the quartet that became the new record holders of the Class Two Boys 4x100m relay, as Calabar clocked 40.29 seconds to win. He later brought the house down with a superb display of courage and mental strength in piloting Calabar to victory in 3:09.77 in the 4x400m final. What made it a sweeter treat was the fact that he defeated the Class One 400m and national 400m junior record holder, Akeem Bloomfield, who was on anchor for Kingston College.
Junelle Bromfield – 'By their fruit you shall know them\ and that is true of Queen of Champs 2016 - The St Elizabeth Technical High (STETHS) athlete, Junelle Broomfield. She produced the fruits of her season’s labour, but copping three individual gold medals and a fourth as a part of the 4x400m Open relay team. It was a mighty challenge for any athlete who would decide on competing in the three events she did - the 400m, 800 and 1500m. Bromfield however stamped her class in all those disciplines.
She took care of the 1500m first, winning the 1500 final in 4:40.77 on Friday, She then came out, spanking a quality field to win the 400m in 51.74s on Saturday afternoon. She joined the ranks of the special talents of sub 52 runners over that distance, namely Sonita Sutherland, Chris Ann Gordon and Shericka Jackson. She closed out business in a no nonsense mood romping to a dominant 800 metres victory in 2.09.70 to bring the crowd at the National Stadium to their feet.
Bromfield took her last bite at the Champs cherry, piloting her team to the title over the mile relay. She was declared the Girls' Champion after amassing 27 points.
Nigel Ellis – The emerging face of Jamaican sprinters, Ellis ensured that he delivered on the promise he showed since last year and based on what his pre-Champs competitions indicated. The St. Elizabeth Technical athlete won the Class One sprint double with times of 10.18 and 20.76 seconds, just shy of existing records of 10.12 and 20.25 seconds in the 100m and 200m respectively. He silenced a lot of doubters who thought he wouldn’t be able to deliver in the most anticipated event at Champs, the 100m.
Thaleetio Green – It was truly fantastic championship for this St Jago High athlete. Green lifted his 2015 performance a notch, converting two bronze medals to two Gold medals. He won the 200m steeplechase in 5:53.14 seconds to eclipse the record previously held by Obrien Frith, formerly of Holmwood Technical. He came back to bag the 5000m title in 15:56.41 seconds. Green was named the Runner-up Champion Boy for 2016 after amassing his 18 individual points.
Obrien Wasome- All season long the senior man and captain of the Old Hope Road based, Jamaica College, had given an indication of his double-gold intentions at the championships and the final year athlete, did produce the goods for his team, retaining both his titles with marks of 7.74m and 16.39m (record) in the long and triple jump respectively.
Daniel Cope- A Product of the Petersfield High stable of outstanding field event athletes in 2016, Daniel Cope continued his consistent discus and shotput throwing to not only win double gold at champs, but also establishing a new Class Two Discus record of 53.41m. He surpassed the old record of 52.09m set by Munro College’s Kino Dunkley. He later won the Class Two shot put with a throw of 16.81m in the finals.
Dejour Russell –The man with the heart, the bulk and the speed was in fine form at the 2016 championship and his exploits earned him the coveted award of being Champion Boy. Russel contested three events, the 110m hurdles which he won with a record equalling time 13.45 seconds. He was the runner up second in the 100m and 200m, clocking 10.54 and 21.38, respectively in a double quinella for Calabar high.
Russell lost his 100m title to Michael Stephens and was led home by Christopher Taylor in the 200m. He subsequently anchored his 4x100m team to victory in a new record of 40.29 seconds.
Kenaan Lawrence- This young St Jago High athlete produced one of the most magnificent effort from the athletes on show, and it gave him some sweet reward. The runner up Class Two Champion Boy sped to 3.57.28 seconds to erase Kemoy Campbell's old mark of 3:58.06 which stood since 2007. He returned a day later to wrap things up with another comfortable win the 800m, clocking 1:54.84 seconds.
Shanice Love – She delivered on her promise to herself and her family. The Excelsior High captain was in a no nonsense mood, claiming the Class One Girls Discus gold medal in a new event record of 52.73m on the second day. The previous record of 51.15m was held by Edwin Allen's Tara Sue Barnett in 2013.
Janell Fullerton – Campaigning this year in a new colour and new management, Janell was able to formalise herself as a double individual gold medalist at Champs 2016 and earn the title of the Strong Woman at Champs'. The St Jago athlete scored 25 points to be the runner-up Champion Girl after she won threw 114.46m to win the Class 1 Shot Put and took on the grueling Girls Open Heptathlon and won with relative ease. She was a finalist in the Girls Javelin event and the Class 1 Discus event.
Britnie Dixon – Team Captain for Vere Technical returned to winning ways, by grabbing the Class 2 - 800m and 1500m, clocking 2:14.29 and 4:38.32, respectively. She displayed one of the most determined and tactically rewarding races to nip her rival from Holmwood Technical, Chrissani May on the line. She was just short of the triple, after she was not successful in the attempted defense of her 3000m title, finishing second in 10:19.50 seconds to Hydel’s Monieefa Green
Akeem Bloomfield- Many were saying that they were hoping for the National Junior 400m record older and Kingston College’s Captain doing phenomenal things' at the Championship. Despite the argument that his race was not really a hot topic during champs, Bloomfield was easy as ever in retaining his 400m crown. He captured the final in 46.12 seconds. The time was way below the 44.93 seconds he ran to secure the title last year.
Kimone Shaw- The Class Three triple winner form 2015 had set up an anticipated Champs showdown between herself and the Class Two champion Shellece Clarke. Clarke of Edwin Allen, had a not so good Championship due to an obvious injury. Whilst other counted their loses, Shaw was smiling after clocking a brisk 11.40s to win the Class Two- 100m final. The previous record of 11.46 belonged to Jura Levey formally of Vere Technical. She was beaten to the line by her teammate Shaniel English who secured the gold in second 24.52 in the 200m finnal.
Britany Anderson - A combination of speed and smooth technique gave Vere Technical’s Brittany Anderson a new 80m hurdles record . She stopped the clock at 11.10 to win her heat. She was a bit slower in the final (11.24 seconds) but was still able to win comfortably. Anderson also won the Long Jump final with a leap of 5.78m. In the 200m finals Anderson couldn’t find the extra gear to press home and had to settle for third position in the final in 24.59s.
Kevona Davis- A double sliver in 2015 was successfully converted to double gold in 2016 after Edwin Allen High's, Kevonna Davis was in spanking form at the championship. She ran 11.63 and 23.91 in the 100m and 200m respectively to hand debutant Julien Alfred of St Catherine back to back defeat.
Sashekia Steele- This athlete lived up to her team and coaches expectation by capturing the Class Four Girls sprints in 11.91s and 25.06s respectively. Steele literally stole the chances of the youngsters that were tipped by the pundits to defeat her, winning the races in a true Holmwood Technical warrior style.
Annia Ashley - Edwin Allen star won the Girls’ Class Two Long Jump and High Jump double. The confident and composed first year Class Two athlete won the High Jump section with an effort of 5.78 metres to win ahead of Susan Francis of Holmwood, who did 5.64 metres with Camperdown’s Monief Heslop doing 5.60 metres for third. She also won the High Jump on Saturday with a mark of 1.78m.