The marquee 100m races were scheduled to be the highlight of yesterday’s events of the ongoing 58th National School’s Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships.
High jumpers Jada LaCruz (District 1), Dejaun Grant and Okemi Porter (District Five), did not get the memo.
On a cold, rainy day at the National Track and Field Centre, the three leapers brought the large crowd to their feet and stole the show with record-breaking performances.
Porter, the 6’5 inch, 19-year-old recorded the highest jump of any student-athlete from the 592 in recent memory.
After breaking the previous synthetic track mark (1.74m) set by Yannick Walcott last year. Porter, urged on by a rhythmic handclap by the onlookers and his fellow competitors, proceeded to set a new mark at 1.77m.
The athlete from the Mahaicony Technical Institute then asked for the bar to be raised to 1.79m and he easily scaled that, much to the jubilation of the crowd.
Porter who stated post-jump that he just watched YouTube videos to mirror the correct technique, then requested the bar to be raised once again to 1.80m.
In his debut high jump competition, most of Porter’s lanky frame cleared the bar but his right heel brushed it on his descent on three consecutive attempts.
Unbothered, Porter then changed shoes and took his talents to the track and snared a silver medal in the Boys U-20 event which was won by District 10’s Ronell Newton. Jamal Scott of District 14 snared the bronze.
Nevertheless, it will be a day to remember for Porter who won his debut event on the biggest stage of local school athletics.
As for setting a new personal best, he said “I can definitely jump higher.”
Meanwhile, LaCruz raised the bar on her own mark yesterday to 1.17m, bettering her measurement of 1.15m recorded last year in the Girls U-10 event. Grant (1.41m) of District 4, erased the previous height (1.39m) set last year by Steve Semple.
Another record breaker yesterday was District Six’s Melon Lowenfield. He captured the Boys U-16 Long Jump gold and record after disturbing the sand with a 6.47m landing. It was previously held by Troni Semple who set a standard of 6.14m last year.
Meanwhile, in the blue riband 100m events, Shane Haynes (District 10) and Tonya Rollins (District 3) took the top honours in the Boys and Girls U-20 finals respectively.
Haynes’ District mate, Deshanna Skeete, emphatically won the U-18 Girls 100m final. The CARIFTA Games 400m bronze medalist is a shoo-in to record a sprint treble. She will be going for gold in her pet 400 and 200m events today and tomorrow. Up to press time, the official timing of the races were yet to be disclosed.
The penultimate day of the fixture starts at 9 this morning. The day’s activities will be highlighted with the 200 and 1500m finals. See you there as more records are anticipated to tumble.