Hydel High School has been doing well at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but their achievements might not have been possible save for the intervention of Express Canteen, whose last-minute efforts got the team on a plane to the USA earlier this week.

Hydel High's athletes have been blazing a trail of success and their girls’ team placed second at the recently-concluded ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium.

In a media interview after the meet, Hydel’s head coach Corey Bennett revealed challenges that the school faced in securing funding for Champs and getting to the Penn Relays, noting that due to a financial shortfall they had to cut the number of members on their team.

Express Canteen, which caters to the school as its concessionaire, answered the call as they had done before and Bennett said it is testimony to the company's commitment to the development of some of the nation's finest athletic talent.

"The fact that the Express Canteen franchise has answered the call to lend their support to the Hydel High School team travelling to the Penn Relays shows once again their commitment to invest in Jamaica’s youth and the continued nurturing of their talents," Bennett said.

"We are sincerely appreciative of Express Canteen’s financial contribution towards our team, affording them the opportunity to compete amongst some of the best teams internationally.

"We would like to publicly thank the Express Canteen’s Management for their consistent and unwavering support towards the Hydel High School track and field programme."

The largesse was not lost on Hydel’s star sprinter Briana Lyston, who expressed her gratitude.

“The support for sports, and in particular the Hydel High’s Track and Field program, is truly important to us and most appreciated by us,” she said.

“The fact that some members of the corporate world continue to understand their importance to our development in the sport is simply great!”

Two of the events in which the Hydel High girls team will be participating are the 4x100 metres and 4x400 metres relays, in which they are favoured to battle for top honours, especially in the 4x100 metres where they came face to face with arch-rivals Edwin Allen and Ryan Foster, Chairman of Express Canteen, views their contribution as an investment in the next generation of athletes.

"Express Canteen is extremely proud of the exploits of all our schools at the recent Boys' and Girls' Champs. We believe in a holistic approach to our partnerships in schools, so when we saw the need of Hydel High to attend the Penn Relays it was an easy decision to support them," said Foster, who is also he is also the General Secretary/CEO of Jamaica's apex sporting body, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

"We are extremely proud of Corey and his achievements with the Hydel track programme and believe this investment is not only an investment in Hydel but also the next generation of athletes that will become our future Olympians.”

 The Hydel High School team has also secured support from Florida-based SupaJamz radio and a perennial sponsor for Jamaican high schools competing at Penns, Team Jamaica Bickle.

 

The Cornwall Warriors used a total team effort to secure a six-wicket win over the Middlesex Titans in their Dream 11 Jamaica T10 fixture at Sabina Park on Friday.

The Warriors won the toss and chose to field first, a decision which looked like the wrong one at the halfway stage of the game.

Former West Indies Under-19 representative Tristan Coleman was in destructive form for the Titans with a rapid 23 off just 10 balls including three sixes.

Cameos from Oshane Walters (20), Wayne Davis (18) and Jamaica Scorpions all-rounder Jamie Merchant (16) helped the Titans post a formidable 106-6 off their 10 overs.

Mikheil Silver (3-11 off two overs) and Andre McCarthy (2-21 off two overs) were the best bowlers for the Warriors.

Cornwall then got contributions from all their batsmen to eventually overhaul the Titans' total on the very last ball of the match reaching 107-4 off 10 overs.

Ockeeno Farquharson (29), Andre McCarthy (23) and Kerry Holness (17) were the main contributors while Jamaica Scorpions batsman Paul Palmer Jr and Captain Damion Ebanks chipped in with 13 and 13 not out, respectively.

Merchant took 2-21 off his two overs for the Titans.

Camperdown High led all qualifiers to the Championship of America High School Boys 4x100m final as the 2022 Penn Relays continued at Franklin Field in Philadelphia on Friday.

The team of Roshawn Clarke, Rimando Thomas, Junior Harris and Nickoy Drummond sped to 40.96 to advance as the fastest qualifiers.

Saturday’s final will also see the likes of St. Jago (41.06), Jamaica College (41.20), STETHS (41.48), Calabar (41.73), St. Catherine High (41.78), Excelsior (41.84) and Herbert Morrison (41.90) in the field.

Jamaica College was the fastest qualifier for the High School Boys 4x800m final. The team of Khandale Frie, Omarion Davis, Handal Roban and Kemarrio Bygrave ran 7:53.41 to be the only Caribbean team to advance to Saturday’s final.

In the field, Edwin Allen’s Trevor Gunzell (61.79) and Jamaica College’s Raquil Broderick (59.43) were the top two finishers in the High School Boys discus. Bergen Catholic’s Benjamin Shue was third with 58.82m.

Carifta U-20 champion and record holder Keyshawn Strachan of the Bahamas won the High School Boys javelin with a throw of 72.48m representing St. John’s College. Jose Santana of Eugenio Guerra Cruz in Puerto Rico was second with 60.29m while Wyoming Area’s Drew Mruk was third with 58.60m.

Jamaica once again got the top two spots, this time in the High School Boys shot put thanks to Edwin Allen’s Christopher Young (19.87m) and Calabar’s Kobe Lawrence (19.68m). Joe Licata of Gill St. Bernard’s was third with 18.75m.

Dejone Raymond of STETHS cleared 2.05m to win the High School Boys high jump ahead of South Brunswick’s Damarion Potts (1.99m) and Kingston College’s Aaron McKenzie (1.99m).

Jamaica College’s Uroy Ryan was second in the High School Boys long jump with 7.54m behind Lawrenceville School’s Gregory Foster (7.59m). Altoona’s Jake Adams was a distant third with 7.08m.

Kingston College’s standout long and triple jumper Jaydon Hibbert jumped out to 15.94m to win the High School Boys triple jump ahead of Valley Stream North’s Ryan John (15.02m) and Brandon Hutchinson of St. Augustine’s in the Bahamas (14.93m).

 

 

 

 

 

The Middlesex United Stars defeated the Surrey Risers by nine wickets in a rain-affected fixture in the Dream 11 Jamaica T10 at Sabina Park on Friday.

The Risers found it hard from the start after winning the toss and electing to bat first.

Delbert Gayle (27) and Nicholas Lewin (15 not out) were the only batsmen to reach double figures as pacers Ojay Shields (2-9 off two overs) and Andel Gordon (2-13 off two) combined to restrict the Risers to a modest 72-6 off their 10 overs.

Jamaica Scorpions all-rounder Alwyn Williams with 30 not out and Damani Sewell with 15 not out then helped the Stars reach 71-1 in the eighth over before rain ended proceedings with the Stars comfortably 19 runs ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis par score.

West Indies opener John Campbell earlier made 20 for the Stars who now have four wins from eight matches.

Kristen McGregor opened her 2022 season with an encouraging top-five finish at the Fit Muscle Championships in Mexico last weekend (April 23). The performance sets the tone for what could be an outstanding season for the fitness athlete, who is desirous of competing at the Miss Olympia competition in December. However, she can only achieve this if she can get consistent sponsor support.

McGregor, the winner of the 2020 Miss Olympia Amateur title in the Women's Figure Category, is a former national champion and CAC Champion and is arguably Jamaica’s best female fitness athlete of the modern era. However, it has been a struggle to attract consistent sponsorship support as she strives for her career goals.

“The major challenge I face as a national athlete is corporate sponsorship. I am a bit disappointed with the responses I received for sponsorship requests seeking help to represent my country and hoping that I would have gotten good responses, even given the fact that I am a recipient of the Prime Minister's Youth Award,” lamented McGregor, who is the holder of a Bachelor's degree in Sports Science from the University of Technology (UTech).

“However, I have to give big thanks to the companies that gave their generous support such as EduCom, Geolosndo, VM Group and to the contributing supporters.

“I do hope that going forward I might receive better responses from other corporations and our sporting body. The lack of support and sponsorship can impact my goals to represent Jamaica at the Olympia, as I am unable to cover the expenses related to travel and accommodation to participate in the various competitions, where I can only compete as a professional athlete in my discipline. It is my dream to represent Jamaica at the highest level of bodybuilding.”

That dream has been the fuel driving McGregor's ambitions ever since she transitioned from athletics in 2017 and what sparked her singular focus during the off-season in preparation for 2022.

“It has been nothing but hard work for every show. Hard work and focus are the common denominators for every season prep. l am in the gym every day and on diet for a maximum of 16 weeks during preparation,” she revealed.

That work paid off in Mexico.

“A top-five finish is a great accomplishment, considering the progress from last year, where I also finished in the top five in Puerto Rico Pro, and in the Tampa Pro placing 4th and 11th, respectively. However, for my first show since 2022, finishing in the top five is a great place to finish because I have already started to accumulate points toward the quantifying for the Olympia Competition,” she said.

“Only second through fifth-place finishers for each contest, depending on the tier of the contest can accumulate points. All competitors will have between September 13, 2021, to November 20, 2022, to qualify whether by placement or points for the big show in December, the Olympia held in Las Vegas. That being said, the progress has been going well.”

Too well even. In fact, she worked so hard during the off-season she might have bulked up a tad much.

"Last year was a bit different from this year, as I really didn’t get a chance to train properly for my debut and my first Pro show coming out of winning the Amateur Olympia in December 2020. I contracted the COVID virus which caused me to stop training and in the time between recovery and my first show, which was the Puerto Rico Pro, I didn’t have much time to bulk so we went straight in for competition," she said.

"I figured that was the reason I was too small because I was burning muscles while in recovery. My coach, too, reassessed and ended my season after the Tampa Pro in June and we started working on bulking up from that time. I had a wonderful off-season, no injuries or sickness so I was training right through.

"I think this time around we gained good size. I was able to condition properly without burning muscles. Coming out of this show, the judges said I was perfect in shape. However, based on how the other girls came in I was too big so I have to lose a bit more and I would be okay. So yes, I am on a good path but with that, my coach has decided on reducing by about five to six pounds more for my next show on June 17-19, 2022 which is the Puerto Rico Pro."

 

 

Newly crowned ISSA Under-16 champions St Andrew Technical (STATHS) have dedicated their victory to slain Manning Cup forward Omar Laing.

On Thursday, STATHS claimed their first football trophy in over three decades following a 2-1 triumph over the previously unbeaten Kingston College.  In fact, prior to the shock loss in the final, the North Street-based team had failed to concede a goal all season.

A brilliant Delaney Whyte free-kick blotted that copybook and gave STATHS the lead in the 25th minute.  After missing several presentable opportunities, in the first half, Kingston College did manage to pull back on level terms when Dujuan Richards scored soon after the resumption.  However, an own goal in the 54th from Anthony Ricketts sent the Purples crashing to a surprise defeat.

Laing, the leading scorer for the school’s Manning Cup team last season, was killed in a drive-by shooting incident in downtown Kingston last week.  His younger brother is currently a part of the triumphant Under-16 squad.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have been confirmed to face South American giants Uruguay in a friendly international set for June 17.

The fixture will come during a busy period for the national team, ahead of preparations for the CONCACAF Nation’s League.  Prior to that, the team will be in action against the Spanish region Catalonia in another friendly international set for the 25th of May.

In five matches the Jamaicans have a losing record against Uruguay, managing just one win, which came in an international friendly in 2004.  The last time the teams met was in 2016 at the Copa América Centenario.  On that occasion, Uruguay coasted to a 3-0 win after both teams had already been mathematically eliminated from advancing to the next round of the tournament.

The Uruguayans will be using the fixture as part of preparations for the 2022 World Cup, which will get underway in Qatar at the end of the year.  The Reggae Boyz, who failed to qualify for the tournament, are currently ranked 64th in the World, while Uruguay are ranked 13th.

Hydel High was the fastest qualifiers to the Championships of America High School Girls 4x400m final at the 2022 Penn Relays at the Franklin Field in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The team of Alliah Baker, Brianna Lyston, Kerrica Hill and Onieka McAnuff ran an impressive 3:39.34 to lead all qualifiers into Friday’s final.

Holmwood Technical (3:41.45), Edwin Allen (3:45.29), St. Jago (3:49.50) and Excelsior (3:51.15) also advanced to the final.

The region will also have two representatives in the 4x800m final, also scheduled for Friday, as both Edwin Allen (9:13.89) and Holmwood Technical (9:23.48) advanced from the heats.

 

Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams was recently inducted onto the Champs Sports Wall of Game in Pembroke Pines, Florida, honouring those in the community who make and have made a positive contribution to local sports.

Champs Sports, part of Foot Locker, Inc. is the brand's first iteration of its new Homefield concept and is the largest of any Foot Locker, Inc. subsidiary in the world at 35,000+ square feet.

The 20-year-old Williams was inducted in a ceremony held on April 23 along with four other honourees: Mark Montimurro, Roderick Rocky Gills, Tamara James, and posthumously, Jason Stein.

“It’s always a privilege and a blessing to be honoured by the community that helped to raise me,” said the Jamaican Olympic gold medallist.

“It's also the biggest Champs store in the country so I'm humbled to be one of the first names inducted.”

Montimurro is the Head Coach at Coral Springs Charter School Softball, "Rocky" Gillis is Athletic Director at Broward County Schools and James is a former WNBA player and Mayor of Dania Beach. Stein was the Athletic Director/Baseball Coach/Teacher at JP Taravella High School.

 

 

Edwin Allen High School was the fastest qualifier to the final of the High School Girls 4x100m at the 2022 Penn Relays which got underway on Thursday morning at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.

The team of the Clayton twins, Brandy Hall and Shenequa Vassell scorched the track to run a time of 44.64 to win their heat. Hydel High (46.37) and IMG Academy (47.03) were second and third fastest to the final.

Holmwood Technical (47.12), Immaculate Conception (47.15), St. Catherine High (47.56) and St. Jago (47.37) will also be in Friday's final.

Holmwood Technical’s Cedricka Williams was dominant in winning the High School Girls discus with a throw of 54.00m. Camperdown’s Victoria Christie was second with 44.88m while Ella Lucas from Warwick High School was third with 42.53m.

Edwin Allen’s Serena Cole, who ran the first leg on Jamaica’s world record-breaking U-20 girls 4x100m team at the recently concluded Carifta Games, jumped 5.98m for second in the High School Girls long jump behind Avery Lewis of Friends’ Central (6.05). Hailey Rios of Somerset jumped 5.84m for third.

St. Jago’s Annishka McDonald was third in the High School Girls' high jump after clearing 1.69m. The event was won by Spring-Ford’s Nene Mokonchu (1.72m) while Conard’s Audrey Kirkutis was second with 1.69m.

The 2022 Penn Relays will run from April 28-30.

Nicolas Lodeiro scored two late penalties as the Seattle Sounders snatched a 2-2 draw against Pumas in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Trailing to a double from Juan Dinenno, Seattle battled back in Mexico City to make it honours even ahead of next Wednesday's second leg at Lumen Field. Lodeiro's leveller came in the ninth minute of stoppage time.

This opener at Estadio Olímpico Universitario saw Dinenno take the lead with a twice-taken penalty in the 38th minute. His first attempt was saved by Stefan Frei, but the goalkeeper was ruled to have stepped off his line.

Dinenno headed in powerfully for Pumas' second goal in the 48th minute, but the comeback began when Seattle were awarded a penalty for a handball by Sebastian Saucedo, and Lodeiro drove home in the 77th minute.

Lodeiro fired into the right corner on that occasion and was handed another spot-kick deep into stoppage time.

Cristian Roldan was judged to have been fouled on the right side of the penalty area by veteran defender Efrain Velarde, and Lodeiro chose to go the same way, again beating goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera with a powerful strike.

As a teenager, Anthonique Strachan showed the tremendous potential of becoming one of the world’s brightest stars in track and field.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons insists he understands and respects the decision of recently retired captain Kieron Pollard but insists the player’s passion and desire will be sorely missed.

After nearly 16-years representing the regional team and three years in charge of both the One Day International (ODI) and T20 squads, the 34-year-old Pollard announced his decision to step away from international cricket last week.

“Skipper it is sad to see you retire from the maroon shirt so early…I completely understand,” Simmons said, addressing the issue via Facebook.

“Your ability to give players your backing and trust to deliver and your strong leadership both on and off the field was a joy to work with,” he added.

Pollard took charge of both squads in 2019 and experienced mixed fortunes during his tenure.  The T20 squad lost 21 of 39 matches and had a disastrous defense of its World Cup title.  The ODI squad on the other hand fared better, winning 13 and losing 11 of 21 matches played.  Still, Simmons hailed Pollard as a positive force for pushing players to reach their full potential and having a genuine desire to see the team do well.

“Your passion for pushing players to build on skills and knowledge of the game and more. Your unwillingness to settle for mediocrity was a pleasure to work with,” Simmons said.

“Your undoubted passion for the game and especially the Maroon Shirt together with your desire to bring success to the West Indies cricket team henceforth Cricket West Indies will be missed. You will be missed.”

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