Digicel Grand Prix: St Mary High retain Eastern Championships title
Champion Girl Tamera Howell, of St Mary High, on her way to victory in the Digicel Grand Prix Girls' Class 1 800-metre final from Buff Bay High's Kayann Samuels on the final day of Eastern Championships at the National Stadium on Tuesday (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).
St Mary High dominated the second and final day of the 2018 Digicel-sponsored Eastern Championships on Tuesday at the National Stadium in Kingston to defend their title, although pressed by Buff Bay High.
Eastern Championships is the first of four regional championships in the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship leading up to the Grand Prix Finale (the GC Foster Classics) on March 10, also at the National Stadium.
At the end of the two-day championships, St Mary High tallied a combined team scores of 710 points from the 81 finals to beat second-pace Buff Bay High by 54.50 points.
Buff Bay High compiled a combined 655.50 points.
The top two schools finished well clear of third-place Titchfield High, which finished with 396 points. Oberlin High (343.50) and Morant Bay High (217 points) complete the top five.
Of St Mary High combined total of 710 points, the female team contributed 433 points to win that category, beating Buff Bay High (358.50) by 74.50 points.
Titchfield High (217), Oberlin High (191.50) and Morant Bay High (107) compete the top five in the female section.
Buff Bay High (297 points) took the male section, beating second-place St Mary High (277 points) by just 20 points,
Titchfield High (179), Oberlin High (152) and Morant Bay High (110) compete the top five in the male section.
On Tuesday's final day, St Mary High won 28 of the 61 finals after entering the day in second place on 140 points and trailing Buff Bay High (164.50 points) by 24.50 points.
St Mary High scored very heavily throughout the day with 10 one-two finishes. In addition, St Mary High won three of the four girls' sprint relay final, two of the three boys' sprint relay finals and took the boys and girls' open 4x400m relays.
Buff Bay High, on the other hand, won 13 finals on the day, which included four one-two finishes.
St Mary High's Tamera Howell won the most individual points for the meet to secure the Champion Girl title.
The 18-year-old Howell competed in four individual events and gained 34 points from three first place finishes and a second place.
Howell secured her first victory on Monday's opening day by easily taking the Girls' Class 1 1500-metre in 5:02.60. She returned on Tuesday to win the Girls' Class 1 400 metres in 59.05, the Girls' Class 1 800 metres in 2:29.29 and finished second in the Girls' 3000-metre open in 11,27.87, beaten by Titchfield High's Vanessa Ward (11:27.87).
There was a three-way tie among Garth McDermoth (Morant Bay High), Romaine Beckford (Buff Bay) and Aaron Lowe (St Mary High) for the Champion Boy title.
All athletes tallied 27 individual points.
Meanwhile, Cordealia Williams (St Mary High and Garth McDermoth (Morant Bay High) won the Class 3 female and male titles; Tony-Ann Morris (Glengoffe High) and Romaine Beckford (Buff Bay) took the Class 2 female and male titles; while Dahlia Harris (Buff Bay High) and Aaron Lowe (St Mary High) walked away with the Class 2 female and male honours.
Showdown at the Stadium
For this year, the Digicel Grand Prix Athletics Championship has attracted two new events to bring the total to 10.
The two new Grand Prix events are the 400m hurdles and the medley relay, which have been added to the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, long jump, high jump, discus and 4x400m.
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)