Kingston College and Wolmer’s Girls assumed pole position on the boys’ and girls’ standings at the Anthrick Corporate Area Championships, after an exciting opening day of action at Jamaica College’s Ashenheim Stadium on Friday.

The curtains fittingly came down on the day with the much-anticipated 100 metres, where three records were broken, two by Wolmer’s Girls representatives Natrece East and Tiana Marshall in Classes three and two respectively.

It was those performances that assisted in pushing the Heroes Circle girls to the summit on 150 points, three ahead of defending champions Excelsior on 147, with Immaculate High (133 points), The Queen’s School (77 points) and St Andrew High (61 points), complete the top five heading into Saturday’s final day.

On the boys’ side, Kingston College, on 146 points, opened up a 25-point gap on rivals Calabar, on 121 points, with Jamaica College in third on 109 points. Excelsior (56 points) and Wolmer’s Boys (52 points) occupy the other top five positions.

Earlier, East gave the 100m series an explosive start when she stopped the clock in a new meet record of 11.67s to top the girls’ Class three event. Immaculate’s Kayla Johnson (11.93s) and Tashika Thompson (12.43s) of Excelsior, were second and third respectively.

Marshall, also of Wolmer’s Girls then topped the girls’ Class two event in a meet record of 11.94s, in a negative 1.3 metres per second wind reading. Tashay Faulkner (12.32s) of Alpha Academy was second, with Immaculate’s Shevi-Anne Shim (12.33s) in third.

The Wolmer’s Girls sweep of the top three classes was completed by Mickayla Gardener, who successfully defended her Class one title and secured her ninth Corporate Area Championship medal. She recovered from a stumbling start to win in 12.21s, ahead of Excelsior’s Sharlla Whittaker (12.56s) and Abigail Watt (12.56s) of St Andrew High.

Meanwhile, Mario Ross of Wolmer’s Boys, became the first Class three athlete to clock a sub-11 time at the championship, when he stopped the clock in a meet record 10.99s. His time ran in a negative 1.1 wind reading, saw him finish ahead of Kingston College’s Orandy Campbell (11.41s) and Naethan Bryan (11.42s) of St George’s College.

The soft-spoken Ross expressed surprise at the time.

“I am very surprised that I ran that fast because I have been trying hard to get there since the start of the season and it wasn’t happening. But my teammates believed in me and told me I could do it and I finally did it, so I am happy,” he said shortly after catching his breath.

The boys’ Class two event was won by Excelsior’s Malike Nugent, who clocked a personal best 10.75s in a negative 1.2 wind speed. Nugent upset his more fancied rivals Nyrone Wade (10.79s) of Kingston College, and Tyreece Foreman (10.90s) of St George’s College.

Finally, Kingston College’s Yourie Clarke, signalled a return to form, as he clocked a personal best-equalling 10.55s to win the boys’ Class one 100m, ahead of Calabar’s Shaquane Gordon (10.59s), who is contesting his first year in the class. Damor Miller (10.63s) of Excelsior, was third.

NB: Action of Saturday’s final day of the Corporate Area Championships will be live on SportsMax and the SportsMax App.

After a decline in performance at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships, St Andrew High School, once a dominant force in Jamaican high-school athletics, has appointed Mathue Tapper as their new head track and field coach. Tapper, determined to revive the school's athletic program, plans to bring back the glory days when athletes like Trishana McGowan, Toni-Ann Doyley, Arusha McKenzie, Megan Tapper, Anna-Kay Campbell, and Latoya McDermott consistently excelled.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Tapper stated, "I am looking to make history at St. Andrew High. Right now, we are starting from the ground level, but I am excited and eager to turn things around." Tapper, who currently runs the Top Track club for children at Maxfield Park in Kingston, recognizes the potential of St. Andrew High and aspires to restore its status as an athletics powerhouse.

To achieve this goal, Tapper believes it is crucial for St. Andrew High to attract emerging talent from prep and primary schools without compromising the school's prestigious academic standing. He said, "Right now, we are looking at recruiting, especially at the Class IV level, from the prep and primary schools. I plan to focus on developing a strong sprints and hurdles program over the next three years."

Having been a student at St Andrew Prep, Tapper expressed his disappointment at the decline of the school's athletic program. He shared, "I am really excited to get to work. St Andrews is a good school that is close to my heart. I grew up at St Andrew Prep, so it’s sad to see where the program had gotten to, but I plan to lift it once again."

Tapper's commitment to youth development extends beyond St. Andrew High. At his Top Track Academy, the first Kingston-based track academy, Tapper aims to provide training opportunities and foster a love for the sport among young athletes. Speaking about the academy, he said, "We provide an opportunity for kids to get training they don’t necessarily get anywhere. At this age, it is more important that it is fun so that the kids don’t get bored of the sport too soon. We have a high-level program, but we have to ensure that it is fun so that we can keep them when they are 17/18 and ready to make those big steps."

Tapper's efforts have garnered support from sponsors, including Jamaica's Ministry of Sports and AustroJam, managed by Martin Zsifkovics, a two-time Jamaica champion farmer. Zsifkovics emphasized the importance of healthy nutrition for the children involved in athletics and expressed his support for Tapper's initiative, stating, "It is very important for the children of Jamaica to eat healthy. We wouldn't have the best athletes in the world if they only eat chips."

With sponsors recognizing the value of Tapper's academy, Zsifkovics hopes that his venture could serve as a platform for similar projects across the island, empowering young athletes and fostering a brighter future for Jamaican athletics.

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