The English Schools’ T&F Championships are the pinnacle of school athletics in England. Held each year over two days, the Finals are the 4th largest athletics event in the world, and over the years, many who have competed here before have gone on to represent Great Britain at the Olympics, European and Commonwealth Games. This, the 89th year of the Championships is particularly poignant as it’s the last time they’ll be held at the Alexander Stadium. As Birmingham starts preparation for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, ‘The Alex’ will be transformed into a brand new stadium, with construction due to commencelater this year; so this really is the end of an era.
Entry to this event is by virtue of athletes being selected by County Team Managers to represent their County. Prime consideration is given to performances at County/Inter-County Championships but outstanding performances at other events may also be taken into consideration. The event brings together the best athletes in each County in England to compete for the honour of being the best athlete in the Country at their particular event. You’ve probably read in recent Junior Reports that four of our young harriers have been selected for the Finals.
The bad news is, India Pentland and Jasmine Sharp both had to withdraw. India had been suffering for a couple of weeks after a nasty case of food poisoning. She is on the mend now but the knock back meant she was nowhere near the level she wanted, or needed to be for the English Schools’ Finals. We’re all gutted for her as she was, without doubt, a definite medal contender. We heard on the grapevine that Jasmine withdrew due to an injury, but not 100% sure on that…..but whatever the reason we wish both girls well and look forward to seeing them compete again very soon!☺
….and then there were two. So, with India and Jasmine out of the picture, that just left Nat Bell (Durham Junior Boys 300m) and Charlotte Rutter (Cleveland Inter Girls – 80m Hurdles and 4 x 100m Relay.)
Junior Boys With Nat up against several highly ranked athletes, he wasn’t really expecting to get any further than his Heat on Day 1. But as always he gave it 110% and in the closing stages of a tough 300m race he made up plenty of ground, and dipped over the line to take 3rd place, with automatic qualification to the Final! It was a long wait on Day 2 to the Final at 4.35pm. Up against the country’s best, Nat’s plan was to focus on his own race and see if he could come away with a new PB – which he did! He ran a great race, battling all the way, and finished a very close 8th with a new best of 37.63s – well within the English Schools Entry Standard and a AAA Grade 1 time. He also improved his UK ranking to 14th, so well done, Nat, a fantastic achievement!
Inter Girls With Charlotte still in her first year as an Intermediate athlete, she was just pleased to be competing at the Finals. But it’s always a tough battle when the opposition is a year older than yourself! As there were so many events happening at once, the 80m Hurdles took place down the back straight. Quite a harsh breeze had picked up and unfortunately the hurdlers were running straight into it which meant times weren’t going to be fast. But as always, Charlotte gave it her all and finished in 5th place in a time of 12.58, just missing out on progressing to the semi-final. In the 4 x 100m the were 4 Heats with the winners of each, plus the 4 fastest losers going through to the Final. The Cleveland girls had a great run, including a cracking first leg from Charlotte, but unfortunately they finished in 3rd place in a time of 49.15s – an excellent English Schools Entry Standard time. Well done, Charlotte – looking forward to next year when you’re one of the older Inters!
So a big round of applause to both of our Junior Harriers. Getting to the ESAA Finals is an achievement in itself; with some tremendous performances from both Nat and Charlotte, they can be very proud of themselves– they’re an inspiration to us all!
Rosie Takes On The Seniors
Our Under 17 throwing expert Rosie Thompson stepped up a gear last Sunday as she competed in the Senior League at Whitley Bay. It certainly was a busy day for Rosie as she took on the hammer throw, the shot and the discus! In hammer she threw the 4k 30.89m for a new 4k PB, beating her old one by over 2.5m, to finish in 2nd place. She’s been focussing hard on her hammer technique so it was a just reward for all her hard work. In shot she has developed a good relationship with an older, more experienced athlete from Scarborough. They pushed each other along and Rosie got another PB with a best of 8.89m adding a massive 57cm, to take 2nd place. In the discus, she threw a solid 26.17m to win the competition. A fantastic performance, Rosie, well done!