Report: English Schools Regional Combined Events – Mansfield 28/29 June

Forget the World Cup (most of us have already anyway!) this weekend saw 13 very committed Oxfordshire athletes striving to get through the regional round, of this years, ESAA combined events (Midland Div) to secure a place in the national Finals in September in Boston.

The two junior boys Ollie Stacey (Witney) and Blake Strickland Bennett (Radley) competed in the u15 Pentathlon. So with 5 events each and a total score it is possible to achieve 12 pbs between them. Unfortunately they could only manage 10!!

Ollie lead the way with a great start coming 2nd in the 80 hurdles (12.3). He quickly claimed a new shot pb (8.10) and a new long jump pb (5.12) before smashing his HJ pb taking it from 1.05 to 1.41! He finished the day with a new 800m pb of 2-33.1 to finish an unbelievable 7th overall with a points pb of 2036. Blake managed 4 pbs in the hurdles (13.7) shot (6.70) high jump (1.35) and a new points pb of 1859 – this almost three times what he scored last year – a great credit to his determination and skill development. He was rewarded with 12th place overall.

The inter boys (Tim Stephens Oxf City and TJ McClimmont Radley) had mixed fortunes as TJ was forced to withdraw injured after the high jump. Tim however went from strength to strength to record 6 pbs including a great new points total of 4298 which was agonisingly just 6 points away from an overall win!! He did make the finals however by finishing 2nd and pbs in long jump (5.54) Jav (23.66) discus (27.04) shot (9.22) would all be overshadowed by his final 1500mts when he knocked 11.8 secs of to finish in 4-25.7. A great couple of days consistent performance duly rewarded.

The sole senior girl representative, Maike Chapel (Radley) came to the competition after 2 years of disappointment with severe Achilles problems. Determined to make the finals in this her last year Maike surprised us all opening with a new 100 mt hurdles pb (16.8) – the effort did take its toll and so the next 5 events all had to be managed performances to enable her to maintain 3rd place to ensure selection for the finals. The final event, 800mts, saw her real battling spirit as she knew that if she could stay within 2 sec of her nearest rival she would retain 3rd place. Stalking her opponent for the two lap race she finished just 0.7 behind and achieved her goal – only problem is now she has to do it all again in September!!

The junior girls were to have the best competition of the weekend. All 28 girls attended from the 7 competing counties. This meant all had teams fighting for a final spot. Lead by the current UK number 1 – Jade O’Dowda (Oxf City) expectations were high. Jade managed a shot pb of 8.64 and followed up in the other 4 events with performances just outside her best. With true determination she got very close to her 800mt pb to secure 3rd place overall. With strong support from Ellysha Franklin (Slough Jun/Reading) with an overall points pb of 2584 and a 5th place finish, Rebecca Scott (Banbury), new shot pb (6.97) and an overall poits pb of 2338 and a 10th place finish. Petrina Chantler Edmond added 20 cm to her high jump pb clearing 1.38ms and knocked a full 18 sec off her 800m pb to record 2-50.7 to finish a creditable 13th as the youngest member of the team with another year in this age group. The girls just missed out, being beaten by West Midlands into second place. A nail biting competition which fluctuated from event to event.

The inter girls, made up entirely of Radley athletes were lead by Alice Hopkins in good enough form to challenge the 4000 point mark, Alice had some good performances but after having two no throws in the javelin had to ‘get some points’ which ultimately cost her a final spot. Still with 3756 she knows that 4000 is just a jav throw away! Beth Mulvany also had some success in her less favoured events recording 3 pbs – Jav (17.97) shot (7.22) and overall points (3352) to finish 10th Abbey Cottam taking part in her first heptathlon recorded a very creditable 13th finish with 4 pbs in the 80 hdls (15.7) 200 mts (29.5) and 800 mts (2-54.9) and the points score of 2843. Michaela Tracey-Ramos also making her debut in the event scored an incredible 7 pbs out of a possible 8!! Her favoured 80 hdls was her only hiccup as she went through the card high jump (1.14) shot (7.45) 200m (29.7) long jump (4.08) jav (14.01) and 800 (2-41.3) this meant she finished with a great points pb of 2659 and a 13th place finish. The team finished 3rd overall.

All together a great weekend with lots of highs! Not least of which was the £5-49 carvery enjoyed by most!!

IF you are interested in getting into next years teams place give me a call – and start training now!!

Pete O’Keefe