English Schools National Championships – Birmingham 11/12 July 2014

25 of the best athletes, Oxfordshire schools has to offer, went to this year’s championships with great expectations. 5 of last year’s medal winners returned to take on the best of the rest of England.  

The athletes were drawn from 12 different clubs and represented 17 different schools, from across the county.

Squad

Girls

Name

Age Grp

School

Club

Event

Performance

Final Pos

Kathryn Woodcock

Sen Girl

St Marys

Radley

Discus

43.60mts

2nd

Amy Holder

Sen Girl

Henley

Reading

Discus

44.26mts

1st

Lucy Hooper

Sen Girl

John Mason

Radley

Long Jump

5.22mts

9th

Rebecca Keating

Sen Girl

Henley

Shaft Bar

Hammer

52.22mts

1st

Megan Moran

Sen Girl

Magdalen

Rugby

Javelin

39.83mts

7th

Emma Slevin

Sen Girl

St Edwards

Stratford

1500

4m 42.93s

9th

Megan Humphreys

Inter Girl

Chip Norton

Ox City

1500

4m 32.52s

6th

Alice Byles

Inter Girl

Cherwell

Ox City

300 hdls

45.34s

6th

Simi Fajemisin

Inter Girl

Headington

Ox City

Long Jump

5.78mts

1st

Alice Hopkins

Inter Girl

Lord Williams

Radley

Long Jump

5.14mts

10th

Luisa Chantler

Inter Girl

Cherwell

Radley

Discus

36.50mts

6th

Amy Herrington

Inter Girl

Gillots

Reading

Hammer

55.53mts

2nd

Emily Thompson

Jun Girl

Warriner

Banbury

800

2m 20.75s

8th

Nancie Bowley

Jun Girl

Gillots

Reading

1500

4m 45.57s

8th

Helen Dubber

Jun Girl

BGN

Banbury

75m Hdls

13.93s

7th semi

Jade O’Dowda

Jun Girl

Gosford

Ox City

High Jump

1.69mts

4th

Rebecca Scott

Jun Girl

Banbury

Banbury

High Jump

1.49mts

15th

 Boys

Christian Von Eitzen

Sen Boy

Abingdon

V of A

800

1m 52.81s

7th

Tomasz Napiorkowski

Sen Boy

BGN

Banbury

Discus

46.39m

7th

Gurlal Randhawa

Sen Boy

Henley

WSE

Discus

47.85m

6th

Alfie Rowett

Inter Boy

Chip Norton

Banbury

200

22.65s

6th heat

Ben Claridge

Inter Boy

King Alfreds

WHH

800

1m 53.56s

2nd

Tim Stephens

Inter Boy

Magdalen

Ox City

400 hdls

56.00s

6th semi

Freddie Boyce

Inter Boy

St Edward

IOW

Shot

12.86m

10th

William Crisp

Jun Boy

Burford

Swindon

800

2m 01.37s

3rd

 

22 of the 25 athletes made it into the finals and so a great medal return was definitely on the cards. Last year’s Inter-girl Long Jump champion, Simi, got day one off with a bang winning again. Alice Hopkins, switching from her favoured hurdles, supported her well with a fine 10th place. 16 of the athletes had to either qualify on the Friday or wait till Saturday for their event.  Whilst the two senior girls in the discus could rest easy after both Amy and Kathryn lived up to expectations in winning gold and silver respectively. Kathryn with a new pb!  Tim was the unluckiest of all the athletes as although he ran a pb and a national standard in his 400m hdls to finish 6th in his semi he actually ran faster than all the athletes in the other semi – a great shame as being a great competitor he would surely have medalled in the final. Alfie had chosen one of the toughest events, the 200mts, despite running English schools standard he could only finish 6th in his heat. Helen Dubber reached the semi final of the 75 mt hdls but stumbled badly in the race to finish 7th. Her pb would have gained her 5th place in the final.  Luisa had switched from her favoured shot to discus this year and found herself up against the UK top two.  She acquitted herself well finishing 6th but was not content to have only gotten two throws in!  So with three medals in the bag the team went back to the hotel to plan the assault for day twos successes. This of course was after the late dinner and a quick practice for the following day’s athlete parade, a traditional part of the ESAA weekend.

Day two got underway with Amy Herrington, who had had to go through a qualifying session on the previous day, bagging silver in the inter girls hammer. Leading the country Amy was a certainty for a medal but was disappointed she did not win however this was a great improvement from last year’s 8th place!

The two senior boys, Tomasz and Gurlal, both had a chance to medal in the senior discus. Indeed both were in medal contention at various stages in a very open competition. However as the other competitors stepped up the pressure in the 5th and 6th rounds they found themselves unable to respond and finished down the field which was a great disappointment for them both in their final schools competition. Megan Humphreys had switched events (it seems to be a common practice for the inter girls) from her favoured 800mts to try the 1500mts. The switch paid off she got a new pb and 6th place in the final. Alice Byles (also switched from Long Jump last year) made a great debut in her new favoured event the 300mt hdls. Coming off hurdle 5 she was in 2nd place but then stuttered badly into hurdles 6 and 7 to finish with a terrific sprint moving from 8th to 6th at the line.

Jade and Rebecca, both debuting, had a great opportunity to medal in the high jump. The field was wide open with the UK no.1 not in good form. Rebecca was disappointed with the height she achieved as it was well below her best but she enjoyed the whole experience and looks forward to coming back stronger next year. Jade on the other hand went from strength to strength achieving a massive new pb of 1.69mts but despite gaining the same height as the winner she was relegated to 4th on countback. A frustrating event with lots of highs – and just the one low as she knew fewer attempts at the closing height could have seen her take the gold.    

Last year’s inter girls hammer gold medallist Rebecca Keating, blew the opposition away as she entered the senior girls hammer for the first time. In the 5th round Rebecca had a very serious accident cracking her head as she fell onto the circle rim. The competition was already won but she insisted on coming out for the final throw which although very long was unfortunately out of bounds. A great win however and thankfully she was well recovered by the end of the day.

Megan Moran went one better than her 8th place in last year’s inter girls javelin to throw a pb in the senior girls and finished 7th. Saturday however would belong to the middle distance runners. William and Ben both ran astonishing races to achieve bronze and silver respectively. They both ran fantastic tactical races and were rewarded with great pbs and of course the medals. Emma, Emily and Nancie had great trepidations about their respective races. Emily and Nancie had both had to go through qualifying on the Friday for the first time in their careers and this undoubtedly left them a little tired for the finals.  All three acquitted themselves well. Emily was caught out by a fast first lap which she was unable to respond to. Whilst Nancie came back strongly in the final 150mts of her 1500mts to move from 12th – finishing 8th. Emma was very disappointed with her performance but took heart from the fact she was still 9th in her first senior year and she was beaten by the fastest time ever seen at the championships. The final event was much anticipated as last year’s 800m inter boy gold medallist our own Christian took on the senior boys in this year’s 800mt final. Having to go through two rounds the previous day Christian was clearly surprised by the first lap pace and although he tried to respond on the back straight he was clearly boxed and could not get back to the leader. He rallied on the home straight but the race was over and he was extremely disappointed with his 7th place.

Lucy had to wait till the Saturday for her long jump. She put in a great 2rd round jump and just missed qualification for the last 8 by only 1cm! A great competitive effort however in her last year.

The weekend saw the team working for each other and cheering on performances as the days unfolded. At the close the medal count was 7 one more than last year and but for a few hiccups it could have been 10! The team is very young in that most of the participants are first years in their age groups and so we look forward to an even bigger medal haul at Gateshead in 2015!

 

Pete O’Keefe

OXON SCHOOLS TEAM MANAGER

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