Though Hydel High started the high school athletics season strongly at the Purewater/Jamaica College/R Danny Williams Invitational on Saturday, head coach Corey Bennett says he still has some concerns as the road to the 2020 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships began at the Ashenheim Stadium.

Bennett says that adjustments will have to be made to the team’s training going forward, as he has identified the middle-distance races and the jumps as areas of weaknesses that need correction.

“I have some concern with our middle distance and our jumps. We are at about 30 per cent in our preparations and I think we have to make some changes going into the next phase of training,” Bennett said. “I think we are behind. We lost a few middle distance and sprint talent due to graduation and otherwise. I think we are taking a little bit long to get going in those departments, but I trust that we will find a way and we will try to press a little bit more to get some better results from those areas.”

The results in the 800m have been mixed. While Shanieka McDonald had the best time in the finals in Class Three with 2:17:24 seconds and Tamecia Roberts’ 2:26:51 was good for eighth overall, the Class Two athletes struggled.

Dejona Simpson finished sixth in section, while other representatives Daena Dwyer finished 10th in section two and Kebarna McIntrye finished sixth in section three. Garriel White fared better in the Class One event, placing third in her section.

TALENT DEFICIENCIES

The transition has been difficult for Bennett and his staff especially in the middle distances, as a lack of talent in those areas has caused early season frailties, which have also extended to the jump events.

“I think we have had genuine talent deficiencies in those areas. Many of our athletes especially the jumps are athletes who are worthy of the track. Because of the limitations of the amount of events you can do, it’s causing a little bit of a gap, so to speak, in terms of finding persons who can fit into those gaps in a proper way,” Bennett said. “As for the jumps, we weren’t really that bad, but I know that we have to be a lot better if we want to compete among the best.”

An area that will give Bennett some comfort is the sprint and sprint hurdles.

Jodyann Doyley won the Class Four 70m hurdles in 10.85 seconds, Kerrika Hill took the Class Three 80m hurdles, while Oneika Wilson dominated the Class Two 100m hurdles in 13.70 seconds.

Additionally, reigning Class One double sprint champion Ashanti Moore enjoyed a good start to her season, winning the 100m event in 11.74 seconds.

Bennett is pleased with how the athletes performed and hopes that other areas will see positive results as the season progresses.

“In terms of on the track, mostly in the shorter sprints and hurdles, I thought we acquitted ourselves very well. The athletes are giving us it little bit more of what we desire. They have been working well in training. I hope that other areas can come up to a speed where there isn’t a disparity between the sprints and the hurdles and other areas,” Bennett said.

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