It was in the spring of 1978 that for the first time in the country’s history, a Jamaican schoolboy leapt over seven feet.Thousands discarded abiding love for schools nurtured in the competitive atmosphere that characterised Champs.Track and field enthusiasts were keen to partake in a delectable piece of history that was tauntingly placed before them.Former Kingston College (KC) high jumper Desmond “Zele” Morris, might have been the only athlete at Champs to silence the entire stadium in one soaring swoop.No one dared to cheer when he lifted his lanky frame beyond seven feet, a new feat at the great games.Zele was a tall, lanky, hurdler and sprinter.A gazelle in his own right, but Zele was not quite as quick over the hurdles as his teammate, Kenneth ‘Sonny’ Gray.Nor was he as fast in the sprints as Marlon Pottinger.But there were no two ways about it – Zele was the supreme high jumper, constantly rising to new levels since the early 1970s.So it was that the lanky lad, already the holder of the classes three and two long jump records, was expected to soar to unprecedented heights in 1979.The record for Class One high jump 37 years ago was in the region of 6′ 10″ when he lounged for the tackle.It was twilight under the glare of the National Stadium lights.Zele had broken the old mark and was approaching the hitherto unbelievable height of seven feet.The suspense was heightened by Zele’s need to don his purple and white sweat suit as if some magic was concealed in its secret compartment.Thousands waited on him.Zele jumped.Again.The painstaking process was repeated.Finally, Zele was challenged to clear the unbelievable height.He did and even went a quarter of an inch above the “unreachable” mark.The packed stadium, awe saluted by applauding.Like many had done before, another Jamaican had created history to make the Boys and Girls’ Championships only the greatest of its kind on the globe.
SBVC (27-7) had its nine-game winning streak snapped and missed a chance to enter the state tournament for the third straight year. Along the way, Gerry Wright became the team’s interim coach after Derrick Pugh was relieved of his duties. Wright started the week in Texas to attend the funeral of his father, Henry Wright, who once was a flight mechanic at Norton Air Force Base. Reserve Leandre Richardson hit a three-pointer and followed with a bank shot on the next possession. The Gauchos never trailed after that point, but it wasn’t easy as the Wolverines were still effective with their pressure and managed to cut the lead to four twice in the final minute. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Wolverines didn’t have their tallest player, Devon Davis, because of a sprained ankle, Through it all, SBVC won the Foothill Conference regular season title. “When we break from the huddle, we say `1-2-3 family,”‘ said Lance Hurdle, who led all scorers with 27 points and was the Foothill Conference Most Valuable Player. “We didn’t become a team, we became a family and that’s what makes this loss so tough because the family will be breaking up. I love these guys.” Without Davis, Valley faced a height disadvantage and Saddleback prevented the Wolverines from getting inside shots. SBVC made only 4 of 20 from three-point range and couldn’t open its half-court game. “We were getting the shots we wanted, but the shots weren’t falling” said Wright, who has applied for the full-time coaching position. “I think we became impatient and missed some layups.” Saddleback scored nine consecutive points to take a 58-48 advantage with 6:26 remaining in the game. Brandon James, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, scored on an offensive rebound and power forward Gerard Anderson had a dunk after a Valley turnover. SAN BERNARDINO – The San Bernardino Valley College men’s basketball team endured difficult times this season, and Saturday night’s 72-68 loss to Saddleback in the Southern California junior college playoffs was another example of how the team shared strength through the hardships. Saddleback (25-7) overcame Valley’s pressure defense to advance to the eight-team state tournament that begins Thursday in Fresno.
Listen to the best bits from Friday’s show, with Bob Mills and Perry Groves joining Colin Murray in the studio.