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With the island's top stars off to Europe, Tissanna Hickling delighted fans at Saturday's Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) All-Comers meet with a booming long jump effort that surpassed the World Championships qualifying standard.
Jumping in the white and brown of the GC Foster College for Physical Education and Sport, Hickling lined up her first jump perfectly and soared 6.82 metres.
The personal best mark put her 10 centimetres past the World Championships qualifying standard of 6.72 metres and made her the number 3 Jamaican long jumper of all time.
Hickling, a star during her days at St Jago High School, wasn’t surprised. “For the past weeks, I’ve been working really hard, so it was expected this evening, ” she said afterwards. Nevertheless, she was grateful that the qualifying mark had been attained. “I’m very relieved, I’m relieved and I give God thanks for that as well,” she said.
Her performance on Saturday also buried her former lifetime best in the sand at 6.70 metres and leaves her behind only Elva Goulbourne, the 2000 Olympic finalist, and Lacena Golding on the Jamaican all-time list at 7.16 and 6.87 metres, respectively.
Seemingly an inch or two taller than she was in high school, Hickling is looking ahead to the June 20-23 National Senior Championships and to jumps beyond 7 metres. “Just putting in the work, getting the right technique off the board, getting the right aggression in the run-up and I should get there by Trials, hopefully,” she said.
The meet also saw a smooth 100 metre effort from 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Kemar Bailey-Cole. The Racers Track Club sprinter left the pack at the halfway point and strode to a time of 10.26 seconds. Queried late in May, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic relay gold medallist stated: “I always show up at Trials so I’m just looking forward for Trials right now and make the team.”
The 400 metre hurdles events went to Bailey-Cole’s fellow 2014 Commonwealth champion Kaliese Spencer-Carter in 57.24 seconds and 2017 World Championship team member Ricardo Cunningham in 50.57 seconds, respectively. First year professional Anthony Carpenter looked steady in his section of the 200, winning in 20.89 seconds, and Petersfield’s 400 and 400 hurdles Carifta champion Shaquena Foote did some speed work with a 12.11 second trip in the 100 metres.
Kevona Davis of Edwin Allen High School, and St Jago’s sprinter/hurdler Vashon Vascianna controlled their wins in the 100 metres. Davis was alone when she covered the ground in 11.36 seconds and Vascianna cruised home in 10.69 seconds.
G C Foster College swept to their fourth-straight win in the National Commercial Bank Intercol Track and Field Championships, beating closest rivals the University of Technology (UTech) Jamaica by more than 100 points at the two-day event.
G C Foster scored 207 points in the men's section and 228.50 in the ladies' section for a total of 435.50 points, while UTech males scored 141.50 and the females 155.50 as they tallied 297 overall. The University of the West Indies (The UWI) had 129 on the men's side and 102 on the ladies' side to finish third overall with 231 points, as the big three finished in the same order as last year.
The writing was on the wall after day one as G C Foster led comfortably in both sections after seven scored finals.
Shawn-D Thompson got things going for the champions on Saturday afternoon when he took the men's long jump with 7.84m, adding a second gold medal to the one he won in the triple jump on Friday. His teammate Aubrey Allen was third with 7.38m, as they were separated by Ojamu Graham of UTech, who took the silver medal with 7.49m.
Tavia Dixon of Mico University College was the only one to win gold in the women's section for her school, taking the shot put final with a best of 14.15m. Tia Gaye Johnson (13.99m) and Debisha Scarlett (13.59m), both of G C Foster took the silver and bronze medals.
National champion Fedrick Dacres of The UWI completed a routine win in the men's discus with a big throw of 65.17m. Second went to Glenford Watson of G C Foster with 56.99m, while Alec Longmore of UTech was third with 48.50m.
Tissanna Hickling was another double gold medal winner at the championships, adding the triple jump gold to her 100m gold won on Friday night. She registered 13.62m to win ahead of her teammate Ave Anna Venair (12.26m) and Ashantie Carr (11.82m) of UTech.
The highly anticipated women's 200m final was won by Ashley Williams of G C Foster in 23.65secs with Tiffany James of Mico second in 23.88 and Ishara Scarlett of The UWI in third in 24.46.
Mico got their lone men's individual gold medal from Jamari Rose who won the 200m in 21.13 followed home by his teammate Hujaye Cornwall in 21.55. Mazhino Barrett of The UWI was third in 21.63.
The men's 400m was a very exciting affair as the G C Foster pair of Akani Slater and Demar Murray were both credited with 46.40secs, but Slater got the nod for first place. Andy Williams of UTech was third with 47.27.
The women's 400m race went to Sada Williams of UTech in 51.71. Shiann Salmon of G C Foster was second in 52.42, while third went to Junelle Bromfield of UTech in 53.29m.
G C Foster went to town in the relays, winning four of the six finals.
UTech won the women's 800m sprint relay final in 1:41.40 minutes, followed by Mico (1:42.00 minutes) and G C Foster (1:43.37 minutes), but G C Foster defended their men's 1600m medley title in 3:22.32 minutes, followed home by Knox (3:23.87 minutes) and The UWI in 3:24.95 minutes.
G C Foster then took the women's 4x100m final in 44.24secs ahead of UTech (44.36secs) and The UWI (47.75secs). The men's final went to Mico who won in 39.44secs, ahead of UTech in 39.98secs and G C Foster was third in 40.31secs.
The final two relays went to the St Catherine-based school.
G C Foster won the women's 4x400m in 3:47.34 minutes ahead of UWI 4:01.49 minutes and Mico 4:15.73 minutes, and the men's race in 3:06.41 minute ahead of Mico in 3:06.66 minutes and The UWI third in 3:11.72 minutes.
By Christopher Gibbon Jr.
“Nothing is sweeter than another golden trophy!” This was the statement made by Khaydeen Thompson, former player of G.C. Foster College Female Basketball Team (The G.C Lionesses) after a 62 – 49 win over the UWI Pelicans when they went head to head in the Finals of 2019 Intercollegiate Basketball Competition on Friday March 8 at the GC Foster College courts.
It was like a jog down memory lane for G.C. College when they defeated the Pelicans 31-30 at the buzzer to hold the title in the 2017-2018 Intercollegiate Basketball Championships, now they have increased the gap to a whopping 13-point deficit closing the win on glory road for G.C. at 62-49.
‘Firing at Will’, the Lionesses stormed off on an 8-0 run in the first 5 minutes of the quarter. National Representative Kimoya Draggon and the Pelicans’ wings were wet putting them at slow start trailing with the first quarter ending at 16-09 in favor of GC.
Asha-lee Gordon, Gezelle Allison, and Jamelia Bennett with their combined score, totaled 40-points which gave the lionesses an outstanding performance. Half way in the 3rd quarter the G.C. Foster Fans were silent when the Pelicans for the first time in the game took the lead at a 4-point deficit also ending the quarter at 44-40.
THE LIONESSES ROAR
With 6 minutes 32 seconds remaining on the game clock the Fostodians snatched back the lead to 46-45. Cadene Cowen and Abigail Clarke of the Pelicans tried to make an upset on the Lionesses but it wasn’t enough as Draggon picked up her 5th personal foul.
Melisia Barnes with 7 points and 7 rebounds, Nassan-Gay Ricketts with 7 rebounds and Kelia Henry were strong defensively pulling down 14 rebounds and bucketing 7 points.
Both teams displayed outstanding performances coming into the finals, however, the Lionesses proved that they were hungrier for the win having all five games during the season.
New Basketball Head Coach and past student of G.C. Foster College, Cleon Morgan, congratulated the girls, saying that, “this win is very important to me, it helped in proving myself as a coach. With the objective at hand which is to win and in order to do so, I had to prepare the team through various training sessions so that when it comes down to crunch time, they will execute the way they should.” He alluded to their progress, that the team started out stronger than ever before, with their heads held up, they kept their end of the bargain.
In an Interview with Asha-lee Gordon, during her celebration she said, “every year when we make it to the finals it is something new, we had the same goal, we worked hard, we worked together as a team, we fought together to the end with all ounces of energy left within us and that’s what gave us this victory.”
“We lost the first half and we tried to pull it together in the 2nd half. But we fought back and it wasn’t enough to defeat G.C. Foster” Draggon said. “If I could relive the last 2 minutes of the game, I would’ve focused on two things. Seeing that I’ve fouled out of the game and if I was disciplined in the plays that I made, I would have made better decision in refraining from a foul. We also could have played better defense in the last quarter but we played well, we fought and congrats to G.C Foster College.”
This is the sixth consecutive Intercollegiate victory for the G.C. Foster Lionesses.