Champs 2018: The weekend will belong to St Jago - Goburn building for the future
Even though St Jago High School is poised to surge in 2019 and 2020, head coach Keilando Goburn is promising a strong performance from his team at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships. Goburn feels confident that his girls will finish in the top five for the 10th consecutive year. However, he isn't ruling out a higher placing.
"The strength of the team is in the lower classes", the former St Jago 400-metre runner analysed during a team workout at the National Stadium East field last week. "So that augurs well for the future but this is St Jago, never say die and we always save our best performances for the season at Champs."
His team did just that last year with Aneka Brissett and Tissana Hickling leading the way in Class One. Brissett, Hickling and 400-metre runner up Alesha Kelly are gone now, a fact Goburn acknowledged. "We lost a couple of girls in Class One, so we're a little thin in the upper classes so we're basically playing our cards safe", he said.
The Monk Streeters do have proven winners like Kimone Shaw, Joanne Reid, 2017 Class Four sprint double champion Brianna Lyston, long jumper Kay Lagar Clarke and hurdlers Crystal Morrison and Danae Nembhard. Shaw, a champion in classes two, three and four, has had some injuries but is back on track, while Reid, Lyston and Nembhard all debut in higher age groups this year.
RUN IN TO FORM
The coach hopes Reid, a four-time gold medal winner, will run herself into form at the Championships. The Class Two 400 metre form chart is headed by Janielle Josephs from St Andrew High School, who has clocked 53.56 seconds, but coach Goburn advanced a case for Reid.
"She has never lost a 400 at Champs and I don't thing we should write her off," he said.
Reid ran 54.29 to defend her Class Three 400 title last year.
He also holds high hopes for hurdler Crystal Morrison who has made a fine start to her endeavours in Class Two.
Noting the fine work of throws coach Marlon Gayle, he reckons that St Jago captain Gabrielle Bailey will show a strong hand in the Class One throws and the javelin. Bailey has swapped wins with Edwin Allen Comprehensive High standout Fiona Richards. Goburn thinks the Champs meeting the two girls and Aiko Jones of Wolmer's will be worth watching.
As St Jago builds for the future, Goburn has started to build its middle-distance corps. He hopes to exceed last year's five point production at Champs this time around.
"We're hoping to at least get at least 20 points out of the middle distances this year", he pinpointed. "I love when people write us off, I live for those moments. We're going to turn it up on Friday and Saturday."