2 Digicel Grand Prix records fall on Day 1 of Eastern Championships
Buff Bay High School pair of Romaine Beckford and Jamara Scott accounted for the first two meet records of the 2018 Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship, as the fourth staging of the five-series development meet, for high schools, opened on Monday with the two-day Eastern Championships at the National Stadium.
Beckford send a strong message going into the Grand Prix Finale (the GC Foster Classics) on March 10 by breaking the Boys' Class 2 discus meet record with a throw of 45.64 metres in the final. His record breaking effort came 14 years after Nicolas Mendez set the previous mark of 45.00 metres.
It was a one-two finish by Buff Bay High as Kimoye Adams finished second with a throw of 40.80 metres. St Thomas Technical's Shamar Reid finished third with a throw of 33.38 metres.
As a result of the victory, Beckford took the only automatic qualifying spot in the age category from the Eastern Championships for the Grand Prix Finale as the Class 3 winner Gawain Montague of Titchfield High could only record 35.24 metres.
For the Grand Prix Series, athletes are placed in two age categories used by the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association. For the males (Class 1 athletes compete in one age category, while Class 2 and Class 3 athletes complete in the other age category) and for females (Class 1 and 2 compete in one age category and Class 3 and 4 in the other age category).
This means that only the fastest time in a Grand Prix event in each age category at each of the four regional meets automatically qualify for the Grand Finale. As a result, the four automatic winners in each of the 10 Digicel Grand Prix event from the four regional meets will be joined by the next four best to compete in the Grand Prix Finale.
Scott's meet record came in the Girls' Class 3 high jump. She cleared 1.65 metres to erase the previous mark of 1.60 metre held jointly by Tashian Smith of Yallahs High School in 2005 and Rushellee Jones, of Buff Bay in 2013.
Cordeali Williams of St Mary High, who finished second, had earlier cleared 1.60 metres to join the previous record.
All the Digicel Grand Prix discus automatic qualifying spots from Eastern Championships were decided on the opening day.
The Boys' Class 1 age category discus throw automatic qualifying spot went to Moses Parkinson of Titchfield High who won with a throw of 45.36 metres, beating Oberlin High's Shakiel Dacres (43.00 metres).
Buff Bay High swept the discus throw automatic qualifying spots among the girls.
Dahlia Harris (31.78 metres) took the class one age category, while Nicole Campbell (31.63) of Buff Bay High qualified from the other age category (Class 2 and 3).
The other automatic qualifying spots for the remaining Digicel Grand Prix events at Eastern Championships will be decided on Tuesday's second and final day.
Meanwhile, two other records were broken on the day, those coming in events that were not a part of the Digicel Grand Prix races.
The star performer of the day was Chadrick Bacchus of Port Antonio High, who dismantled the Class 3 Boys' 1500 metres.
Bacchus outclassed his rivals to post 4:23.85, well ahead of the previous record of 4:31.34, which was set in 2011 by Shavanes Robinson.
Devounie Williams of St Mary High finished well behind for second place in 4:41.35, while St Thomas Technical's Caballero Walters clocked 4:41.90 for third place.
There was another record in the 1500 metres as Shone Walters of St Mary High won the Girls' Class 3 final in 4:57.05 to erase the previous mark of 5:02.33 held by Shanique Masters from 2013.
Vanessa Ward of Titchfield finished second on 5:05.36, while St Mary High's Jhamelia Myers finished third in 5:07.23.
Meanwhile, Buff Bay High and Titchfield High are leading the girls and boys' standings at Eastern Championships.
After 12 finals scored in the girls' section, Buff Bay are leading with 117.50 points, 12.50 points over second-place St Mary High on 105 points.
Titchfield High (57 points), Oberlin High (50.50) and Morant Bay High ( (37) complete the top five.
After eight finals completed in the boys' section, Titchfield High are leading with 59 points, 12 clear of second-place Buff Bay High on 47 points.
Oberlin High (46 points), St Mary High (35 points) and St Thomas Technical (21 points) complete the top five.
And in the combined team score after 20 finals, Buff Bay High are ahead with 164.50 points after 20 finals, a 24.50 lead over second-place and defending champions St Mary High with 140 points.
Titchfield High (116 points), Oberlin High (96.50 points) and Morant Bay High (55 points) complete the top five.
And the second of the four regional meets in the Digicel Grand Prix (Western Championships) will begin today (Tuesday) at the St Elizabeth Technical Sports Complex in Santa Cruz, starting at 9:30 am.
The championships will be held over three days. The second and third days will take place on Thursday and Saturday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
All the field events are scheduled to take place on today's first day.
St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and Rusea's High are the boys and girls champions.
The Digicel Grand Prix series has attracted cash prizes.
One again, school teams (boys and girls) will vie for the title of Digicel Grand Prix champion and $1 million each towards gym equipment or development of their school’s training facilities.
There will also be an overall second and third place cash prizes of $500,000 and $200,000 respectively.
Record-breaking athletes at the Grand Prix Finale - the GC Foster Classics at the National Stadium on March 10 - will be rewarded with cash for their schools.
Digicel will pay $25,000 for each championship record and $50,000 for each national junior record.
In addition, Digicel will reward every athlete who qualifies to run at the Grand Prix Finale with $5,000 each for their school.
There will also be cash prizes for the top three finishers (boys and girls) at each of the four regional meets. First place is guaranteed $250,000, with second getting $100,000 and third place, $50,000.
Coaches will also be rewarded with cash prizes between $20,000 to $50,000.
This year, with SportsMax as the media production partners for all five meets, event content will be even more accessible for the public through live broadcasts and via the Play Go app for track enthusiasts on the go.
GRAND PRIX SERIES
Eastern Championships (February 12 – 13 at National Stadium)
Corporate Championships (February 15 – 16 at National Stadium)
Western Championships (February 13, 15 & 17 at Montego Bay Sports Complex)
Central Championships (February 20 - 21 at GC Foster College)
Grand Prix Finale - GC Foster Classics - (March 10 at National Stadium)