Photo: Duncan McKenzie defended his Class One Boys High Jump title on day one of the JISA/Tastee National Prep Schools Athletics Championships inside the National Stadium on Thursday.
Duncan McKenzie became the first champion to defend on day one of the 39th staging of the Jamaica Independent Schools Association (JISA)/Tastee National Prep Schools Athletics Championships inside the National Stadium on Thursday. On a day when three finals were contested, the high jump for class two and class one boys as well the girls class two long jump, McKenzie’s school, Mona Prep and St. Peter & Paul Prep were tied for first place on 20.5 points, followed by former champions Vaz Prep on 17 points.
On a cool afternoon, the diminutive McKenzie defended the Boys Class One High Jump title he won last year, but had to fight off a serious challenge from second place Blaine Byam of Quest Prep and third placed Christopher Seaton of Vaz Prep. McKenzie had needed to clear only 1.50m to win the gold last year, but was on the verge of finishing third after failing to clear 1.53m on his first two attempts while Seaton and Byam sat and watched him struggle. McKenzie got the clearance at the third attempt, but Seaton failed at 1.56m before Byam was next to be eliminated at 1.59m. After clearing 1.59m, the pint sized McKenzie then attempted to tie the meet record of 1.65m but failed to do so.
McKenzie who came into champs with the record on his mind told Yardie Sports, “I am pleased. This year I was training extremely hard. I wanted the…record of 1.65m.”
In the morning session, St. Peter and Paul teammates Probean Champagnie and Aaron Thomas battled each other for gold after seeing off third placed Shemaiah Salmon at 1.30m. Thomas could only clear 1.33m while Champagnie soared all the way to 1.45m to claim the gold medal.
In the late evening, with the stadium virtually empty, Jounee Armstrong of Vaz Prep upset favourite Lori Choy of Mona Prep to claim gold in the Class 2 Girls Long Jump. Armstrong jumped 4.27m for gold while Choy cut the sand at 4.11m for silver. Jody-Ann Daley of Hydel snatched the bronze with a 4.02m jump.
Day two will begin at 8:30am with the Class One Boys’ 400m semi-finals followed by the Class One Girls 300m semi-finals on the track. In the field, the finals of the long jump class one boys’ class and high jump class two girls will start, also at 8:30am. Four more finals are down to be contested on day two which ends at 5:20pm with the 4x200m relay open for boys.