After two days of intense action on the track and on the field, the C.H. Reeves Raptors have successfully defended their Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) junior track and field title.
Action wrapped up for the junior schools in the 27th annual championships yesterday afternoon at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
This is the second consecutive GSSSA junior track and field title for the Raptors after the A.F. Adderley Tigers stopped their string of 10 in a row in 2018. The Tigers have been second to the Raptors in each of the past two years.
Head coach for the Raptors Rashad McKenzie said to repeat is inexplicable.
“It is one of those indescribable moments. I cannot explain it. Just to come back and defend it with God’s grace I am just thankful,” McKenzie said.
Others who assisted McKenzie were Sydline Justilien, Varel Davis and Thurman Johnson.
The Raptors came into the final day with a score of 295 points and an 89-point lead over the Tigers. By the end of the day on Thursday, the Raptors had extended that lead to over 150 points.
Overall, they scored a total of 559 points. The Tigers finished with 380.50 points. The S.C. McPherson Junior High Sharks managed to finish in third place with 269 points.
“The program has a winning culture,” McKenzie said. “The kids believe that they can win. I always tell them that once you believe in yourself everything else will follow. With the winning culture around the school and the hard work that they put in along with the dedication, the results were proven on the track today.”
Rounding out the other positions were H.O. Nash Lions (241 points); Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves (215); L.W. Young Golden Eagles (168.50); T.A. Thompson Scorpions (158); and D.W. Davis Royals (126).
The Raptors swept both the under-14-and-16 divisions.
In the under-14 division, the Raptors scored 207 points. The Tigers registered 174.50 points to finish second and finishing third were the Sharks with 134 points.
The under-16 was the most dominant for the Raptors as they scored 352 points. Finishing second to them was again the Tigers, this time with a distant 206 points. The Timberwolves held off the Sharks to finish third in that division, scoring 139 points.
Once again, the Raptors put their stamp on the relays as they went 3-for-4.
They won the under-14 and under-16 girls, and the under-16 boys 4×400 meters (m) relays.
The under-16 girls put themselves in the championship record books when they recorded a time of 4:21.48. That time lowered the old record of 4:26.92.
Making up that team was Melvinique Gibson, Marquell Newbold, Laquay Kemp and Aliyah Brown.
They led the way for the entire race, finishing almost 20 seconds ahead of the silver medalist.
Winning the silver were the Sharks who clocked 4:38.54. The Tigers came away with the bronze medal as they recorded a time of 4:52.42.
In the under-14 girls 4x400m relay, the Raptors recorded a time of 4:48.65 to win. They finished ahead of the Tigers who were second as they clocked 4:50.89. Finishing third were the Lions as they crossed the finish line in 4:52.71.
The third relay the Raptors won on the day was the under-16 boys 4x400m as they held off the Tigers who attempted to make a comeback on the last lap.
In the end, the Raptors hung on to win in 3:54.89. The Tigers dropped off in the final 200 meters as they finished the race in a time of 4:05.94 to secure the silver medal.
In third place were the Scorpions who recorded a time of 4:07.47.
In addition to these three relays, the Raptors also won three relays on Wednesday to finish 6-for-8 in the relay races.
McKenzie spoke about their dominance in the relays.
“It was not a surprise,” McKenzie said. “When you have about three to four strong runners on a team, you know that you are going to see the results. I was not unsure about what we would have done. When I saw them compete after the first one, I said it looked like we could break some records. They did what they had to do.”
Breaking the under-14 girls 800m championship record was the Golden Eagles’ A’Karee Roberts. She finished her two laps in 2:40.34. The old record was 2:43.10.
The Royals’ Kamia Smith was able to secure the silver medal as she clocked 2:47.40. Winning the bronze medal was the Raptors’ Bernechia Nelson. Her time was 2:52.83.
There was also a new championship record in the under-16 girls 75m hurdles as the Raptors’ Marquell Newbold was victorious in a time of 12.56 seconds. She lowered the old record of 13.52 seconds.
Newbold’s teammate Darvinette Hanna won the silver medal in 14.03 seconds. The Scorpions’ Phillipa McCartney was able to win the bronze medal as she clocked 14.19 seconds.
McKenzie said he will celebrate the victory while thinking about a three-peat.
“I want to bask in this moment and celebrate – show the kids that we really appreciate them. We also look forward to going for number three,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie said they hope to have a motorcade after not being able to have one last year.
Today is the final day of competition for the senior division as the C.R. Walker Knights look to repeat as champions. They are looking to win their fifth straight title.
After two days of competition, the Knights lead the way with 340.67 points. Lurking in second place are the C.V. Bethel Stingrays with a score of 258 points. Not far behind them are the C.I Gibson Rattlers with a score of 245 points.
Action starts at 9 a.m. this morning.