Champs 2018: Day 1 belonged to Kevona Davis and Shaquena Foote
It was all smooth sailing on the track for the top schools on the opening day of the 2018 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships, at the National Stadium.
The opening day truly belonged to sprinter Kevona Davis of four-time defending girls' champions Edwin Allen and middle-distant runner Shaquena Foote of Petersfield High.
Davis clocked an effortless 23.92 seconds in the preliminary round of the Girls' Class 2 200 metres and is a sure bet for an easy gold medal.
Davis won the opening heat unchallenged to advance to the semi-finals on Thursday, and as a result of her easy 23.92 clocking, the ace sprinter could challenge the long-standing Champs' record of 23.13 seconds.
Holmwood Technical's Anneisha McLaughlin set the Champs' record in 2002.
Foote also outclassed her rivals, winning her preliminary round heat of the Girls' Class 2 800 metres in an impressive 2:07.91 seconds, well clear of second-place Zenon Kerr of Hydel High, who finished in 2:19.38.
Foote's 2:07.91 clocking is very close to the Champs' record of 2:07.74 set by Christiana High's Carlene Robinson in 2001 and that also makes her a sure bet for the gold medal on Saturday's final day.
All the top sprinters progressed smoothly to the semi-finals in the remaining Girls' 200 metres with Holmwood Technical's Kishawna Wallace and Selisa Palmer, also of Edwin Allen, clocking identical 24.32 seconds in their respective heats to advance with the joint second fastest qualifying times, behind Davis.
In the Girls' Class 1 200 metres, the top three qualifiers entering the semi-finals are Holmwood Technical's Michae Harriott and Petersfield High's Ockera Myrie, both with 23.78 seconds, and Edwin Allen High's Kasheika Cameron (23.86).
The Class 3 top qualifiers are St Jago High's Brianna Lyston (24.07), Edwin Allen High's Tina Clayton (24.19) and Manchester High's Asheika Smith (24.53); while the top qualifiers from Class 4 are Hydel High's Alana Reid (25.42) and the Wolmer's pair of Mickayla Gardner (25.64) and Damoya Compass (25.82).
Meanwhile, the long-awaited mega clash between Calabar High's Christopher Taylor and KC's Jhevaughn Matherson in the Boys' Class 1 200 metres will not happen as Matherson was not among the competitors in the heats.
Christopher Taylor of Calabar High.
That clash was also expected last season but did not materialise after Matherson suffered a devastating hamstring injury in the 100m semi-finals, one of the mishaps, which denied KC of the championship title.
Mattherson has sparingly compete this season.
The top qualifiers heading into the semi-finals are Calabar High's Anthony Carpenter (20.94), Jamaica College's Ryiem Robertson (21.20), Wolmer's Xavier Naire (21.31), Jamaica College's Colby Jennings (21.34) and Taylor, who is only competing in one individual event, with 21.61.
The top qualifiers in the Boys' Class 2 200 metres are Zidane Brown (21.51) of Glenmuir High, Javari Thomas (21.72) of St Jago High, Antonio Watson (21.77) of Petersfield High and Sachin Dennis (21.96) of St Elizabeth Technical High School.
In the Boys' Class 3 200 metres, the top qualifiers are KC's Adrian Kerr (22.57), Camperdown High's Jalan Bennett (22.67), JC's Jaquan Linton (22.72) and KC's Nkrumi Bouwahjgie (22.78).
And the highly anticipated battle between Calabar High's Kimar Farquharson and Tyrese Reid of Spot Valley High in the Boys' Class 1 800 metres look set to materialise following the preliminary round.
Farquharson, a first year Class 1 athlete, scored a comfortable victory in heat one of the preliminary round to advance to the semi-finals. He completed the trip in 1:58.43 seconds to beat Kingston College's (KC) Conroy Ellis, who clocked 1:58.80.
Reid, a second year Class 1 athlete, also secured a comfortable victory, clocking 1:58.42 seconds in the fifth and penultimate heat.
The top two qualifiers came from heat three with Munro College's Rushane Fullerton winning in 1:56.02 seconds from Taree Rhoden of KC, who clocked 1:56.12.
Calabar, the six-time defending boys' champion, has a second qualifier in the semi-final through Javon-Taye Williams, who won heat 6 in 1:56.15.
In the Boys' Class 2 800 metres, the top three qualifiers going into the semi-finals are Clarendon College's Marcus Hutchinson (1:59.53), Ferncourt High's Assinie Wilson (2:00.22) and Jamaica College's (JC) J'Voughnn Blake (2:00.45).
Clabar High are also through with 2:01.00, the fourth fastest qualifying time, while the KC pair of Rayon Campbell (2:01.53) and Giovouni Henry (2:04.14) have the ninth and 12th fastest qualifying times.
The top three qualifiers in the Boys' Class 3 800 metres are St Jago High's Tafar-hi Hinds (2:05.61) and the JC pair of Omarion Davis (2:05.85) and Lox lox Reid (2:05.91).
Junior Murray (2:09.75) of Calabar High has progressed with the fourth fastest qualifying time and his teammate Kewarny Fletcher (2:05.92) has the sixth fastest qualifying time.
KC's Raheem Richards (2:06.89) has the eighth fastest qualifying time.
In the girls' section, four-time defending champions Edwin Allen have the two two qualifiers going into the Class 3 800 metres semi-finals through Jessica McLean (2:18.13) and Rushana Dwyer (2:20.36).
St Jago's Alesia Douglas is the third fastest qualifier with 2:21.27.
The top three qualifiers in Class 2 are Petersfield High's Shaquena Foote with 2:07.91, Cemore Donald of Edwin Allen with 2:16.58 and Daniella Deer of Holmwood Technical with 2:19.50.
The 800-metre semi-final in all classes will take place on Thursday.
In the field, KC's Wayne Pinnock and Jamaica College's (JC) Safin Willis are the top qualifiers heading into the final of the Boys' Class 1 long jump competition following preliminary round action.
Both athletes progressed safely into Wednesday's final with efforts of 7.32 metres, which handed them victories in their respective section.
Pinnock just got the better of Alexander Thompson of Calabar High in section one of the preliminary round. Thompson cut the sand with a mark of 7.31 metres.
Cornwall College's Owayne Owens (7.03m) and Glenmuir High's Ashane Beckford (6.99m) also qualified from that section.
Willis outclassed his rivals in section two, as his 7.32m was well clear of second-place Tevin Thompson of Excelsior High, who leapt 7.08m.
Wolmer's Boys' Daniel Bogle (7.05m), Calabar High's Daniel Allen and KC's Shacquille Lowe, both with 7.03m, are the other qualifiers for the final.
Pinnock, a first year Class 1 athlete, is the big favourite for championship honours after he turned in a big effort to erase the Boys' Under 20 long jump championship record at the Digicel Grand Prix Finale - G C Foster Classic - at the National Stadium on March 10.
Pinnock on the day outclassed the field with a big effort of 7.99m, well ahead of the previous championship record of 7.79 seconds set by his teammate Carey McLeod.
Pinnock's effort was also better than the Champs record of 7.87m set by Vere Technical's Leon Gordon in 1993.
The Boys' Open Javelin Throw, also had its preliminary round on the day. Kobie Henry of Calabar High is the top qualifier going into the final, which is scheduled for Saturday's fifth and final day of the championships.
Henry won flight one with an effort of 51.64m. He finished ahead of Buff Bay High's Shavaine McFarlane (51.27m) and KC's Shakwon Coke (50.93m), the other top qualifiers going into the final.
JC's Tajay Broomfield won flight one with a throw of 49.56m.
Meanwhile, in the girls' championships, Immaculate High's Danielle Sloley is the top qualifier going into the Class 2 shot put final on Wednesday.
Sloley won flight two of the preliminary round with an effort of 14.44m. Aliesha Shaw of Rusea's High, who finished second with 13.98m has the next best effort going into the final.
Defending champions Edwin Allen will be well represented in the Girls' Class 1 Discus Throw final on Wednesday with two qualifiers.
Representing Edwin Allen in the final are Fiona Richards, who is the top qualifier with 43.94m, and Kimone Reid (42.42m), who finished second in flight two of the preliminary round behind Aiko Jones (43.43m) of Wolmer's Girls.