St Andrew High School's new track and field coach Mathue Tapper aims for resurgence

By June 14, 2023
Tapper and two of the athletes from Top Track Academy at their recent media day. Recently appointed head track and field coach at St Andrew High School, Tapper hopes to return the all-girls school to his glory days in athletics. Tapper and two of the athletes from Top Track Academy at their recent media day. Recently appointed head track and field coach at St Andrew High School, Tapper hopes to return the all-girls school to his glory days in athletics.

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.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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