Coach James: St Catherine will do some damage at Champs
St Catherine High are in position to do some damage at this year’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs). That’s the opinion of St Catherine’s head coach Marlon James after his team impressed in fifth place in the girls’ team competition at last week’s Central Championships. As he prepared to drive away from the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education & Sport, James was in a positive mood.
“We’re in pole position to do some damage at Champs but we’re still a little bit back in our preparations. However, I think we are in good stead. No major injuries, just a little niggle here and there, so I’m pretty confident going into Champs 2023”, James expounded.
Akeelah Ellis, Asharria Ulett, Rohanna Sudlow and Gabrilla Treasure delivered four gold medals for St Catherine. Ellis and Michaelann Lindo scored a one-two in the Class Three 80 metre hurdles, and Ulett won the Class One 100m hurdles in a wind-aided time of 13.76 seconds, after a painful fall for favoured Hydel High hurdler Shania Myers. Sudlow bounded to victory in the Class Two long jump with a winning mark of 5.94 metres despite a headwind gusting at 2.2 metres per second and Treasure outlasted a tight Class Four high jump field with a clearance of 1.45 metres.
Ellis and Lindo were so close in the hurdles that both were credited with the same time – 11.32 seconds.
James was delighted. “She has a little niggle”, he said of Ulett, “but she’s working over it. As you saw, she didn’t make the 100m final but at least she’s doing well in the hurdles. So pretty good one-two, really looked forward for that.”
Vere Technical’s Tiana Oliver prevented another St Catherine one-two, by taking the gold medal in the Class Three 100m in 12.27 seconds. Ackeelah White and Lindo placed second and third.
St Catherine scored 163.5 points to place fifth.
The coach had another reason to smile. Former St Catherine High School speedster Julien Alfred last week wrecked her St Lucia records for the 60 metres with a time of 6.97 seconds and the 200m at 22.26. James reiterated earlier 100 metre projections for Alfred in the near future.
“Great, great, great. So elated for her, pleased with her progress. Coach just working with her, doing well. I mean, it just goes to show that what we said earlier in the year, that 10-six, 10-seven low is on the cards and that 22.2!” he celebrated for the girl he coached to a Commonwealth Youth 100 gold medal.
Only 10 women have ever broken seven seconds for the indoor 60m.
Last year, Alfred won the NCAA 100m title for the University of Texas and chased Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson Herah home at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“Excellent indoors. Augurs well for the 100 metres. I can’t wait for the outdoor season for her,” he concluded.