Kingston College delighted fans at the 41st staging of the Gibson-McCook Relays. The boys in purple and white ran away with six wins in front of an appreciative crowd at the National Stadium on February 25, 2017. Nevertheless, KC shared the spotlight with record breaking teams from Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School, St Jago High School and Hydel High School.
The purple blaze was brightest in the 4x100 relays. The Class 1 Boys team of Yashaun Hamilton, Carey McLeod, Jhevaughn Matherson and Tyreke Bryan set the tone. With McLeod and Matherson moving rapidly, this fast foursome produced a strong performance timed in 39.90 seconds. Their teammates followed suit in Classes 2, 3 and 4. The last two featured big wins but in Class 2, Oshane Peart had to rush to catch Jamaica College. A spectacular finish gave Kingston College the edge, 41.15 to 41.17 seconds for the True Blues. The other Kingston College wins came in the Class 4 4x200 and the Open 4x400 metres relays. The former was easy but the latter was a riveting battle with St Jago High School. In-form Deshawn Morris needed every inch of his nely judged anchor leg to stave to Leon Clarke by 0.02, as Kingston College got home in 3 minutes 12.01 seconds.
Earlier in the evening, St Jago broke KC’s meet record of 7 minutes 33.87 seconds in the Boys 4x800 metres. Four teams swapped the lead until Keenan Lawrence gave St Jago the ascendancy with the fastest leg of the entire race – 1 minute 51.6 seconds. Clarke added a 1.52.5 split to complete the record run in 7 minutes 32.76 seconds.
Edwin Allen bashed the Gibson-McCook record book twice. Firstly, the Girls Class 3 4x100 team of Salecia Myles, Kevona Davis, Lisandra Brown and Shanique Rowe sprinted into history in 44.91 seconds. Never before had a Class 3 team beaten 45 seconds … ever. Well behind after the first leg, Edwin Allen looked certain to lose to Holmwood Technical High in the Girls 4x800 metres. Undaunted, Kara Grant and Kayann Green repaired the damage and gave the outstanding Cemore Donald a lead she defended well.
Edwin Allen’s first 2017 win over their rivals in this event yielded a fine time of 8 minutes 47.71 seconds, with Holmwood also fast at 8 minutes 49.71 seconds. Edwin Allen also zoomed to victory in the Girls Class 1 4x100 metres. This effort of 44.56 seconds was just 0.08 to the Gibson-McCook record. Ironically, an Edwin Allen mistake in the Girls Class 4 4x100 gave Hydel High School to start a double record performance of its own. The Edwin Allen bid fell apart at the second exchange and Hydel steamed past to win in 47.22 seconds. Later in the proceedings, Hydel assembled a team of Roniesha McGregor, Gabrielle Matthews, Isheena Belnavis and Ray-Donna Lee to blast an excellent record in the Girls Open 4x200 metres. Together they created a new standard – 1 minute 33.82 seconds – to consign the old mark of 1.34.73 to memory.
Those weren’t the only highlights. 2011 World Champion Yohan Blake cruised home as his Racers Lions team won the Men’s 4x100 in 38.59 seconds, while a big third leg by Anniesha McLaughlin-Whibly secured an insurmountable lead for Sprint Tech in the women’s 4x100. McLaughlin surged past World under-20 champion Tiffany James of the Mico University on the second leg with the fastest split time of the Women’s 4x400 – 51.3 – to put Sprint Tech on the road to a triumph clocked in 3 minutes 30.87 seconds.
Javon Francis, the last leg runner on Jamaica’s 2016 silver medal Olympic 4x400 team, skipped past four other anchor men to give Akan Track Club the win in the 4x400 for Clubs and Institutions. The winning time of 3 minutes 06.23 seconds wasn’t remarkable but his anchor leg split time of 45.2 seconds was. The high school Girls’ 4x400 metre final had a moment of drama. Hydel qualified with the fastest time of the season, 3.36.35, but its third leg runner tripped and fell in the final while contending for the lead. That left Holmwood to a comfortable win in 3 minutes 39.25 seconds.
Then KC closed the show at the 41st Gibson-McCook Relays with that thrilling 4x400 metre win over St Jago. It was a fitting end to a day that fans will long remember.
HUBERT LAWRENCE has attended the Gibson-McCook Relays since the nineteen eighties.