Sat | Apr 13, 2024

Cameron, Goburn plotting St Jago’s future title challenge

Published:Sunday | March 26, 2023 | 1:26 AMDaniel Wheeler - Staff Reporter
PHOTOS BY Rudolph Brown/Photographer
Coaches Bert Cameron (right) and Keilando Goburn exchange ideas during a team training session at St Jago High School in St Catherine on Friday.
PHOTOS BY Rudolph Brown/Photographer Coaches Bert Cameron (right) and Keilando Goburn exchange ideas during a team training session at St Jago High School in St Catherine on Friday.
St Jago High School’s Abigail Martin holds the discus during a training session at St Jago High School in St Catherine on Friday.
St Jago High School’s Abigail Martin holds the discus during a training session at St Jago High School in St Catherine on Friday.
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St Jago High has prided itself in being one of the few schools that have finished in the top five consistently at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships in both categories. Although cognisant of the tough task that lies ahead of them...

St Jago High has prided itself in being one of the few schools that have finished in the top five consistently at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships in both categories.

Although cognisant of the tough task that lies ahead of them this year, technical director Bert Cameron and girls’ head coach Keilando Goburn are not only guaranteeing a fight to maintain their consistency, but plotting a course to become title contenders in both categories in the near future.

St Jago finished fourth in the boys’ category with 147 points and third in the girls’ with 249 points last year. What has Cameron excited this year for the boys is the emergence of their class three athletes.

“The class three boys are making us feel rejuvenated. We are on a three-year plan to see how best we can build for this year and the coming years. It has not been a surprise (their success this season) because they were class four last year and they came true to form,” Cameron told The Sunday Gleaner.

Those who have impressed include Ray J Reece, who has the fourth fastest 100m time (11.11 seconds) this season, and sprint hurdler Marquis Page, who has the fastest time this season (13.40).

Ideally, a title challenge is the goal for Cameron, but he is under no illusion of the difficulties to crack the top three of Calabar High, Jamaica College and reigning champions Kingston College.

“We have finished fourth and fifth for the past several years. So we are hoping that things go our way, the way we would like it to go. If it goes the way that we would like it to go, we will be surprising a lot of people,” said Cameron, whose St Jago last won the boys’ title in 1993. “We have the formula to win and we are starting now. If we keep on doing what we are doing now, with our recruiting in class four and class three, we will be title contenders in three years, and I am not asking for more than that.”

The three-year plan also includes the girls becoming a series title contender, having last tasted success in 1999. Although Goburn expects that maintaining their top-three spot will be difficult, he not only has faith in the now but in the future of his team.

VERY YOUNG TEAM

“It is going to be difficult. We are under no illusions. Based on what has happened throughout the season, the top-three is going to be difficult for this season. But going forward, I think this team is going to be very dangerous very shortly because it is a very young team. Two-thirds of the team is in the first year of their class and they can only go up from here,” Goburn said.

Training has been limited at the school because their playing field is unavailable, because of upgrading work. That has led to greater emphasis on field events, which have boasted a great season for class one discus thrower Abigail Martin and class two horizontal jumps standout Jade-Ann Dawkins. Embracing the unique position of St Jago boasting two strong programmes, Goburn believes in his team’s future, both short and long term.

“In the absence of the field (playing) we spent more time doing the field events, maybe that is why the field events are progressing over the track events. This is year one of three of becoming serious title challengers. We did it in 2020 when we thought we had a serious shot at winning the title, but that team dissolved (because of COVID-19) and the wheel is going around again,” Goburn said. “But we have been doing it year in and year out. We are just unable to put the finishing touches together. I think it will happen very shortly. I think we are going to be very dangerous.”

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com