CHERYL OCTOBER of Heideveld High School was the successor to Tania Brown of Marian High School in the girls’ high jump at the inter-schools sectional athletics meetings at Athlone Stadium, Cape Town.
October burst onto the scene in the late 1980s as a junior and delighted the packed stadium with her record exploits.
In 1989, October set a new record of 1,67m in the girls under 15 high jump. She broke Brown’s record of 1,66m set in 1987 by the proverbial whisker.
October represented Heideveld High and the Western Province Senior Schools Sports Union (WPSSSU) on a regular basis. She was selected in 1989 to the South African Senior Schools Sports Association track and field team to travel to Port Elizabeth for the inter-provincial championships.
In 1990 in the girls under 16 high jump event, she set a new WPSSSU mark of 1,64m at the Athlone Stadium.
October jointly held one more girls open record in the books of the South African Senior Schools Sports Association. The height 1,63m. The other three names were Claudine Fisher, Anushkha Govender and J Alacaster. Brown did not participate as a girl’s open high jumper as by then she had matriculated from high school.
The winning schools in 1989 of the A, C, G and I of the inter-schools sectional meetings were Mondale, Westridge, Strand and Zeekoevlei. The balance of power shifted as no longer did the Athlone and southern suburbs high schools hold sway at the inter-schools sectional meetings.
Much later Steenberg High, situated deep in the southern suburbs, regained the upper hand in high schools athletics. In a complicated and, perhaps, in an incomprehensible understanding of the situation of sport in South Africa, by then, 1993, athletics was fragmented and sports unity imminent as South Africa was to become a democracy in 1994 under Nelson Mandela.
High school athletics was never the same again.