THE CALABAR TEAM Despite all the spicy ingredients that continue to flavour the run into ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships 2017 (Champs), my prediction that Kingston College (KC) will win Boys’ Champs at a canter remains intact. Admittedly, my confidence in my prediction was jolted by the marauding display by Calabar High in the final leg of the Digicel Grand Prix. Many colleagues and friends keep warning that the margin of 70 to 100 points for the KC victory was excessive and premature, but despite the extra motivation for the defending champions, Calabar, fuelled by the still fuming Ari Rodgers controversy, as well as the several annoying pundits, myself included, who are guilty as charged of effectively underestimating the heart of the champions. KC, despite their rich Champs history, have not lifted the prestigious Mortimer Geddes trophy in eight years, which means very few of the current coaching staff, athletes, and the general student body even know what it takes or what it feels like to win Champs. Conversely, very few, if any of the Calabar athletes and general student body knows what it’s like to lose Champs. All that said, I remain resolute that all things considered, KC will score a much easier win than all the experts are saying. Outside of the predictive point-by-point, race-by-race, and event-by-event analysis and tabulation, I wish to add some invisible intangibles that I posit will help to propel the Purples to a spectacular victory. Intertwined in those obnoxious often irrational cultish characteristics exhibited by most of the KC faithful, especially at this time of the year, is an innate championship mettle, confidence and self-belief, qualities that are passed down to every KC athlete of every generation. This very same superior inflated impression of self, and innate confidence in their limitless abilities, are quite often what push even the average KC athlete to unfathomable heights of performances. Whenever there is that confidence and belief, backed up by real quality in a KC Champs campaign, they are near-impossible to beat. Calabar, for sure, has the bigger individual names, especially in Class One. The likes of the irrepressible Christopher Taylor, Michael Stephens, and Dejour Russell, are all showstoppers in their own right; but Champs is a numbers game and a points game. The meticulously deployed collection of smaller named athletes could conceivably scrape together more points than the relatively few big-performing stars, and that’s the exact formula that KC will employ to ensure my brave prediction is fulfilled. As for the girls, Edwin Allen will win comfortably. Indeed, the three-time defending girls’ champions will make it look very easy, much easier that many of the experts are predicting. For sure, Hydel, St Jago and the resurgent former champions Holmwood Technical and Vere Technical will all garner big points. However, as is the case with KC, the depth and quality of the Frankfield-based institution will prove way too hot to handle for all the other pretenders. Champs 2017 promises to be spectacular and historic, and before a single race is run, I wish to posit an equally spectacular and historic prediction. For the first time in the long and storied history of Champs, the boys’ champions, who I predict will be Kingston College, and the girls’ champions, who I predict will be Edwin Allen, will win their respective titles by the same points margin, within the range of 70-100 points. That will happen come the night of April 1, 2017, and when it happens, it certainly will not be an April Fool’s trick.