Monday 17 February, 2020

Digicel Grand Prix: 5 records set in morning session of Western Champs

STETHS' Winsome Harris wins the Girls' 400-metre open hurdles final on Saturday at Western Championships at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. Harris won in a meet record time of 1:01.67 seconds. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).

STETHS' Winsome Harris wins the Girls' 400-metre open hurdles final on Saturday at Western Championships at the Montego Bay Sports Complex. Harris won in a meet record time of 1:01.67 seconds. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).

Five meet records were broken in the morning session of the third and final day of Western Championships, the third regional meet of the 2018 Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship, on Saturday at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

The very first event on the day witnessed a meet record as Brithton Senior of Rusea's High won the Boys' Class 1 110-metre hurdles final in a new mark of 14.05 seconds to erase the previous record of 14.23 seconds set by Marvin Williams in 2015.

Senior finished well ahead of the St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) pair of Michael Buchanan (14.67) and Brandon Cohen (14.81).

Petersfield's Shaquena Foote claimed the second record on the day by outclassing the previous record holder Shadae Findley of STETHS to win the Digicel Grand Prix Girls' Class 2 800-metre final in two minutes 07.83 seconds, a time which represents the fastest ever at the championships.

Findley set the record of two minutes 17.41 seconds in 2017. A year later she also improved on that time, but had to settle for second in two minutes 17.00 seconds.

STETHS accounted for two of the five meet records in the session, those new times were recorded in the Girls' 400-metre open hurdles  final and the Boys' Class 1 400-metre hurdles, both events among the Digicel Grand Prix disciplines.

STETHS' Winsome Harris proved a cut above the field, clocking one minute 01.67 seconds to win the Girls' 400-metre open hurdles final and in the process erased the previous mark of one minutes 04:97 seconds set in 2017 by Terice Steen.

Second-place Letanya McDonald (1:04.07) also bettered the previous mark.

Jauavney James claimed the second record for STETHS by taking the Boys' Class 1 hurdles final in 51.47 seconds. Rovane Williams of Rhodes Hall, who had set the previous record of 53.48 in 2017,  had to settle for second place. Williams also bettered his previous record with a 52.17 clocking.

Cjay Whyte of Rhodes Hall achieved the day's other record in the session by winning the Boys' Class 2 400-metre hurdles final in 54.74 to erase the previous mark of 55.54 set by Brithton Senior in 2017.

Jordani Woodley of Rusea's High clocked 54.94 for second place and also improved on the previous record.

And in the battle for championship honours, defending champions Rusea's High are still leading the girls' race, while STETHS have surged ahead among the boys, also attempting to defend their title.

Ruseae's High, which entered the day with a 40-points lead over STETHS, saw that lead cut in that session.

At the break, Rusea's High had tallied 247.25 points to lead STETHS (226.26) by 21 points.

Petersfield High were in third place on 140, with Mannings High in fourth with 109.50 and Mount Albernia, fifth, with 85.50.

In the boys' section, STETHS - which entered the day in third place - had surged ahead going into the break.

STETHS moved to 227.50 points after 32 events, leading second-place and second day leaders Petersfield High (179.25) by 48.25 points.

Munro College were in third place at the break with 140, with Cornwall College in fourth with 103 and Herbert Morrison Technical, fifth, with 76.

The Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship is a five-series development meet for high schools, which comprises four regional meets and a Grand Finale - the GC Foster Classics - at the National Stadium on March 10.

The 10 Grand Prix events are the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus and 4x400m relay, medley relay and the 400m hurdles

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.

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.

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