The C.R. Walker Knights held on to claim their fifth straight title at the 27th Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) Senior Track and Field Championships held at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium yesterday afternoon.
At the end of the three days of competition, the Knights were able to score 626.67 points to come out on top.
While, the Knights won comfortably, it was a battle for second place, as that position was determined by a half-point.
Claiming second place with 479.50 points was the C.I. Gibson Rattlers. After holding a 13-point lead over the Rattlers at the end of day two, the C.V. Bethel Stingrays slipped to third place to finish with 479 points.
Coming into the final day of competition, there was little to any doubt that the Knights would still lead the field after coming in with 340.67 points – 82.67 points more than the Stingrays, who lurked in second position.
Head coach of the Knights, Tia Rolle, said it was not very difficult winning a fifth straight title.
“It was not that difficult. We try to have our house sports early because that determines who make our final track and field team. We have a lot of children that are a part of clubs. The club coaches were very co-operative,” Rolle said.
According to Rolle, she was a little worried on the first day because the younger athletes did not know about the Knights’ winning culture. However, at the end of the day, they were only 29 points ahead of the Stingrays.
Sharing in the excitement was the Knights’ principal, T. Nicole McKay.
“I am on top of the world,” McKay said.
“I was really worried yesterday. My coach said to me: ‘Ms. McKay, there are three schools that are neck and neck. We are only separated by 20-plus points.’
“My heart was in my mouth. When I came out here today (Friday), I did not know what the score was but finally I heard persons saying that C.R. Walker had pulled ahead, so I am ecstatic.”
Rounding out the competition was the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins (394.33 points), R.M. Bailey Pacers (273.50), Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves (235.50), Government High Magic (149) and C.C. Sweeting (81.50).
The Knights came up huge in the 4×400 meters (m) relays, winning three out of the four relays – the under-17 boys, and both the under-20 girls and boys. They were third in the under-17 girls relay.
“Our strategy was to get as much points as we can get in the double – the relays. We had relay practice three times out of the week, so that everyone got familiar with who is winning with them,” Rolle added.
In the under-17 boys 4x400m relay, the Knights was able to win that race with a time of 3:37.78 – almost eight seconds faster than the silver medalists.
Winning the silver medal was the Mystic Marlins with a time of 3:44.42. The Pacers won the bronze medal after they clocked 3:47.30.
In the under-20 girls 4x400m relay, the Knights managed to outlast the Stingrays to win the gold medal. The Knights crossed the finish line in 3:28.04.
The Stingrays clocked 4:33.79 as they held on to win the silver medal. The Rattlers ran away with the bronze medal with a time of 4:39.97.
The final race of the day saw the Knights under-20 boys 4x400m relay team punctuating the Knights’ victory when they won the gold medal. Their time was 3:28.04.
Settling for the silver medal was the Pacers with a time of 3:34.97. Securing the final podium spot was the Stingrays with a time of 3.43.45.
The Knights won three of the four division at this year’s meet. They won the under-17 girls division with a score of 170.67 points. The Stingrays was second with 115 points and the Rattlers was third with 111 points.
The under-20 girls division saw the Knights winning with 166 points. The Rattlers scored 141 points to finish second and the Stingrays scored 106 points to finish third.
The final division that the Knights won was the under-20 boys after they amassed 180 points. The Stingrays was second with 146 points. The Pacers finished third with 115 points.
As for what’s next, McKay said that there will be a celebration.
“All of the children have been screaming for a motorcade,” McKay said. “I think we are going to do something different this time. We don’t only have sports to celebrate but we also did well in academics, so we have academics and athletics to celebrate. We are not looking for the motorcade – we are not saying what it is.”
Rolle said that looking ahead to next year, the Knights will be a strong contender in getting their sixth straight title.
“We won three of the divisions,” Rolle said. “Our under-17 boys division was a little bit weak. Hopefully, next year, we work on that. I am sure we are going to come strong again because we have two seniors leaving and most of our under-20 team is in grade 11. We still will be the strong contender.”
On Thursday, the C.H Reeves Raptors successfully repeated as the GSSSA junior track and field champions. Overall, they scored a total of 559 points. The A.F. Adderley Tigers finished with 380.50 points. The S.C. McPherson Sharks managed to finish in third place with 269 points.