Schools compete in track meet

A field of competitors takes off in the 100 meter dash.

The swiftest kids in Cayman got a chance to measure themselves against their peers on Thursday. Nearly all of Grand Cayman’s secondary schools competed in the 2018 Inter-Secondary Track & Field Meet at Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Thursday, and they will come back to compete for a second day on Friday.

The athletes were divided into five age groups – 12 & under, 14 & under, 16 & under, 18 & under and 18+ – and they competed in sprints, hurdles, relays, shot put, discus, javelin, long jump and high jump.

Carl Morgan, a three-time gold-medal winner at the Island Games in the triple jump for Cayman, doubles as a track coach for John Gray High School. Mr. Morgan was thrilled to have his athletes competing at a high level and enthusiastic about the prospects of several local jumpers.

“It’s great because we get to see all the talent showcased among all the schools on island,” he said.

“We also get to see some of the future up-and-coming athletes that we can groom. We have a lot of potential here that can one day in the future maybe compete to represent Cayman internationally.”

Mr. Morgan said that his athletes have been in training since the start of the school year and that several of the kids are members of extracurricular track clubs. Those young runners have probably been training since September, which means they have had half a year to get to their peak performance.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Mr. Morgan of watching his runners compete at a high level. “We know that without the parents’ support and without the support of some of the other schools, we’d never really have a good competition. It’s good for the athletes to get to compete in front of their peers.”

An early leaper scales the high jump bar in unorthodox fashion.

The track meet is hosted by the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education Services and the Department of Sports, and it will wrap up with a second day of competition on Friday. Cyril Gairy, a coach for Clifton Hunter High School, said his athletes have had great success in this meet.

“Over the past four years, we’ve been the champions three times,” he said.

“We lost it last year to John Gray, but we hope to win it back this year. They have a slight advantage because they have use of a track where we don’t have that at Clifton Hunter. We run on the grass.”

Mr. Gairy also said that his track team does not have access to long jump or high jump facilities at Clifton Hunter, but many of his athletes are involved in after-school programs where they work with top-notch equipment.

For these two days, at least, everybody is playing on a level playing field.

“The kids look forward to this,” he said. “We’re in the country, and for a lot of them, this is a chance to come to town. They’re enjoying it. It’s a bit tough, but in life, nothing comes easy unless you fight for it.”