English Schools Athletics National Combined Events Final, Birmingham 21-22 Sept 2013
The girls, Maike Chapel, Lucy Hooper, Hayley Perrin (all Radley AC) and Adela Hussain (Oxford City) had won the regional round of the schools competition back in June and were representing the Midlands against the rest of the UK. Unfortunately Maike was injured and so did not travel to Birmingham. This meant the girls now all had to complete all 7 events to ensure the team had a chance as 3 members count in the points calculation.
The first event was the 100mt hurdles and all 3 girls competed well Adela with a new legal PB of 15.79sec, Hayley very close to her PB in 16.18sec and Lucy won her heat with a spectacular new PB of 16.85sec. This meant the team went into the lead in the team event with the girls in 6th, 9th and 13th place respectively. A great start!
As Hayley had a long standing ankle injury the strain of event 2, the High Jump, could have literally been the team Achilles heel! However Hayley lead the team with a comfortable 1.55mts Adela followed with 1.52mts and Lucy jumped near her best (1.48mts) with a 1.46mt effort just nudging 1.49mts of with the lightest of touches. This form meant the girls increased their lead over chasing counties Kent and Lancashire.
The third event, the Shot, was not a strong event for any of our girls. Adela was the best of them with 8.77mts and all 3 were some way down on their best with Hayley hitting 7.35mts and Lucy 6.89mts. The shot being the lowest scoring event helped ensure that both the chasing counties didn’t actually catch us up and so with the 299mts as the final even ton day 1 the girls ran their hearts out to ensure they ended the day as as the leading team. Adela ran 26.18sec(her second fastest ever time) Lucy ran 27.04sec to be close to her best and Hayley ran 28.13sec for an electronic seasons best. All this meant that after 4 events Oxfordshire lead with 7189pts, Kent were secomd with 6479pts and Lancs third with 3962 pts.
The girls, all competent Long Jumpers, lived up to their billing! Hayley lead the way with a 5.13mts Adela followed with 4.75mts (this without actually getting near the take off board!) and Lucy matched the 4.75mts to further etand the team lead over the now fast disappearing opposition.
The sixth event, the Javelin would effectively guarantee the national title if each girl could out throw their counterpart from Kent. The girls duly all delivered with Hayley throwing a seasons best 27.12ms Adela throwing a new PB of 24.08mts and Lucy throwing 18.80mts. This meant that they now had over a 1000 point lead going into the final event, the 800mts.
The girls did not let the lead affect their performances however as they all pushed hard. Adela won heat 3 in 2min 35.56 sec. Hayley ran her second best time of the year with 2min 45.71 sec and Lucy stormed to a new PB of 2 min 51.40 sec.
The national heptathlon team title was secured!! The girls all ended the weekend with a hatful of PBs, and they received their trophy with relish. This is the first national title for the Senior Girls since 2001 and with Lucy and Hayley (and Maike) all eligible for the team next year it looks like we won’t have to wait another 12 years!
9th Adela Hussain 4096 pts
13th Hayley Perrin 3874 pts
18th Lucy Hooper 3435 pts.