Hundreds of junior athletes competed in one of the major events of the English Schools’ Track & Field calendar recently. Gateshead International Stadium played host to the young hopefuls who have already achieved great things by representing their County, but wanted to go one step further by doing the same at the English Schools’ National Finals.
Selection of the Durham team had been hampered the week before when the County Championships fell foul of the English summer; the track was flooded and the event was cancelled. Subsequently, selections for this event were made based on PBs and the Power of 10, but it was a tense wait before the County team was finally announced on the Wednesday before. The Cleveland Championships had more luck and went ahead as planned so selection of their team was a much simpler process. Thankfully, there were several of our Junior Harriers who had made the grade; 10 for Durham County and 1 for Cleveland
Junior Boys Not wanting to tempt fate, but Nat Bell went into this race with an impressive unbeaten record since moving over to the 300m last season. He was desperate to continue with his winning streak, but at this level was up against some tough competition. He certainly gave it his all and crossed the line in a tremendous 1st place with a new PB of 37.95 – agonisingly close to the English Schools entry standard. Great job, Nat, Inter-County Champion, well done! Next up we had Benedict Davies in the High Jump; still a year young he was proud to wear his County colours for the first time today. He jumped well against the older competition, with a best on the day of 1.55m finishing a very respectable 4th place. 1st, 2nd and 3rd all jumped 1.60m, and with a PB of 1.63m at least he knows on another day he could have won. Well done, Benny,great effort.
Junior Girls All our Junior Girls were competing for their County for the first time today. One of them, a young athlete who has wowed us with her sprinting over the last couple of years is Kate Williams in the 100m. It wasn’t going to be easy up against the older athletes but she pulled off an excellent performance, bringing her home in 4th place, not far off her PB with a time of 13.45s. Top sprinting, Kate, well done! Olivia Bell has followed in her brother’s footsteps and moved up to the 300m this season, and she’s produced some cracking runs. Today was another very competent performance putting the older athletes under pressure and crossing the line in 4th place, 6th overall. Finally it was the turn of Lily Thompson to get in on the action. Two events for Lily; the Discus and the Hammer. A great effort in the Discus, just shy of her PB with a best of 22.74m to finish an impressive 2nd place; and in the Hammer she pulled off a tremendous throw of 25.73m which was a new PB to take 2nd place again. Well done to all our Junior Girls, a fantastic debutfor their County.
InterBoys Adam & John Russell both ran as guests today; their first year as intermediate athletes. Adam made it to the National Finals last year as a Junior Boy but this time he was up against the older competition as he took on the 1500m. The race as a whole was a little off the pace but he ran it well crossing the line in 4:17.90. John plumbed for the 3000m for the second time this season and smashed his PB by a massive 19 seconds. His new best was an impressive time of 9:21.72. Team mate, Dan Boyer, joined John in the 3000m. It was a great effort from Dan which wasn’t far off his PB, eventually finishing in 4th place in 9:16.05. Some top running from our Inter Boys,well doneto all.
InterGirls It was only the second time that Logan Fawcett had run the 300m hurdles. The first time was at an NEYDL meeting just a few weeks ago where she ran by herself, and against the clock it was a magnificent effort. Today she ran as a guest and had some tough competition to deal with but once again she had an excellent race, and was just a second outside of her PB with a time of 54.43s. In the Discus it was Rosie Thompson wearing the purple vest today. Although her best was a few metres off her PB she still managed to take a very respectable 3rd place with a throw of 23.30m. And finally, wearing the white of Cleveland, it was Charlotte Rutter, in one of her favourite events, the 80m Hurdles. It was really close at the front with less than a second separating the first five! Charlotte finished an excellent 2nd place in an impressive 12.06s. Great job from all our Inter Girls, well done!
Overall there were some top performances from our Junior Harriers. Some had already made the all important English Schools Entry Standard, whilst others were just a fraction outside. Then there were those that were still a year young and looked really promising for next year. All they could do now was wait until selections were made for the County teams that would travel to Birmingham for the National Finals next month.