Birmingham ready for English Schools' action
The New Balance English Schools' AA Track and Field Championships 2018 will take place this Friday and Saturday 13-14th July at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.
Great Britain & N.I. topped the medal table at the recent European U18 Championships Gyor, Hungary, with six golds, underlining the wealth of talent emerging from the schools system in recent years.
Many of the medallists from Hungary are due to compete in Birmingham, which provides another chance to see future stars earn their stripes on a national level. The following is just a slice of what to look out for across what promises to be two days of gripping competition.
Maisey Snaith (Cambridge & Coleridge, Mick Graham), running for Cambridgeshire, will make her 400m ESAA debut after finishing 6th in last year’s Inter 300m. Her 54.41 for the 400m ranks her top in the lists; Manchester representative Natasha Harrison (Stockport, Pete Harrison) is closest to her with 54.60, posted in the semis of the European U18s.
Khahisa Mhlanga (Chelmsford, Mick Judd), of Essex, set the championship record 2:04.04 to win last year’s 800m. This year she has improved further, to 2:03.34, to lead the entrants.
In the 1500m steeplechase, Somerset athlete Elise Thorner (Wells City) – 14th in the 2k steeple in Gyor – will battle Yasmin Austridge (Blackheath & Bromley, Nigel Stickings), of Kent. Thornier has run 4:55.51 this year to Austridge’s 4:53.56.
Staffordshire’s Beth Rees (Cannock & Stafford) heads a strong javelin field, having thrown 51.18m this year. Cheshire’s Emma Howe (West Cheshire), with her PB 44.13m, and Somerset’s Emily Dibble (Mendip, Ken Holmes), with hers of 43.93m, will ensure Rees cannot relax in the straight final.
Hannah Molyneux (Sheffield & Dearn, Malcolm Fenton), representing Lincolnshire, was 5th in shot put in Gyor (throwing with the 4kg implement). Though she has found PB form (13.84m) with the 3kg shot this year, Hampshire’s Gaia Osbourne (City of Portsmouth, Brownwin Carter) has bettered that with 13.98m. It should be a great battle.
Ethan Brown (Blackheath & Bromley, Lloyd Cowan), running for Kent, will harbour ambitions of the 400m title. His silver at the European U18s in a PB 46.87 is almost a second swifter than any of his rivals have gone all year.
In the 400m hurdles, Essex runner Karl Johnson’s (Newham & Essex Beagles, Tony Jarrett) national youth best 50.90 for bronze in Gyor makes him favourite and one of those to watch this weekend.
After 110m hurdles gold in 13.19 at the European U18s, Sam Bennett (Basildon, Steven Surety), of Essex, will have eyes on both gold and potentially the championship record (13.69) in Birmingham.
Thomas Keen (Cambridge & Coleridge, Mark Vile), of Cambridgeshire, was the gold medal winner in the 3000m in Gyor. The 2017 Inter champion leads the Senior entrants this year (8:14.41), with Kent’s James Puxty (Tonbridge, Mark Hookway) not far behind in the rankings with 8:16.24.
Wesley Matsuka-Williams (City of Norwich, Denis Costello), representing Norfolk, has recorded a PB 15.32m in the triple jump this year for a healthy ranking lead going into the championships.
Alfie Scopes (Tonbridge, John Hillier), Kent’s discus winner in 2017, has recorded a PB of 52.79m this year. That makes him favourite for title, with Yorkshire’s Chukwuemeka Osammor (Hallamshire) the only other entrant beyond 48-metres this year.
Emily Williams (Kettering, Shane Smith) goes for 1500m gold for Northamptonshire fresh off silver from the European U18 Championships last weekend. She leads the annual rankings with 4:20.88.
Merseyside’s Ella McNiven (Liverpool Harriers, Lynn Webb) will compete over 3000m, which she has covered in 9:37.21 this year. Of the rest of the field, only Norfolk’s Abigail Durand (Tim Ash, North Norfolk Harriers) has broken 10-minutes so far this year.
Over the barriers, Devon’s Emily Bee (City of Plymouth, David Bee) leads the 80m hurdles lists with 11.05. Somerset hurdler Marcia Sey (Croydon, Lorna Boothe) was 4th in Gyor; her PB 11.07 for the ESAA title last year suggests she could contend.
In the 300m hurdles, Lancashire’s Jasmine Jolly (Preston, Peter Crook) heads the entrants, as she looks to retain her title, thanks to her best of 42.0. She was 5th in the full lap distance in Gyor.
Jazz Sears (Shaftesbury Barnet, Craig Andrew) has recorded a triple jump PB 12.58m from this year, well beyond the current championship record (12.22m). The Bedfordshire athlete will hunt the title after finishing 2nd last year.
In shot put, Hampshire thrower Serena Vincent (City of Portsmouth, Bronwin Carter) improved her PB to 16.84m for 4th in Gyor to lead the rankings ahead of the competition in Birmingham.
Joseph Harding (Basildon, Steven Peatey), who in 2017 set the championship record (10.50) in the Junior 80m hurdles, this year progresses to the 100m hurdles. The Essex athlete’s PB 13.24 from June ranks him second behind West Midlands’ Jordan Ricketts (Birchfirld Harriers, Anthony Pitt), who followed up a windy 12.9 with a 12.96 last month.
London’s Dominic Ogbechie (Marius Guei / Carol Jackson, Highgate), who last year won the long jump and just last weekend claimed the European U18 title in high jump, will contest the 200m. His PB 21.70 from this year means he leads the entrants in terms of yearly rankings.
Though Hampshire’s Ben Pattison (Basingstoke & Mid Hants, Dave Ragan) has run quicker than Ogbechie in the 200m this year, he will stick to the 400m. He leads the rankings with 47.11 and was 4th at the European U18s.
Max Burgin (Halifax, Brian Burgin), representing West Yorkshire, has run 1:47 for the 800m twice this year. On the second occasion it was on the way to European U18 gold in a championship record 1:47.36. He will be confident of improving on his 2nd place finish from last year.
North Yorkshire’s Ethan Hussey (Leeds City, Andrew Henderson), who won the Junior 1500m last year, heads a group of three sub-3:55 runners entered, along with Joe Smith (Crawley, Vince Golding), of Sussex, and Matthew Stonier (Invicta East Kent, Peter Mullervy), of Kent. It will be a thrilling finish if all are in contention at the bell.
In field events, pole vaulter Nottinghamshire’s Jacob Clark (Notts, Maxine Roberts) has cleared 4.53m this season to lead the entrants. In shot put, Warwickshire’s 2017 runner up Lewis Byng (Paul Bearmon, Stratford-Upon-Avon) is the season's stand out performer. His PB 18.86m is 1.90m further than the best of second-ranked entrant Andrew Knight (Morpeth, Paul Reed), of Northumbria.
In javelin, Essex thrower Max Law's (Havering, Sam Harrison) 75.30m for fourth at the European U18 Championships makes him the man to beat.
Success Edvan (Sale Harriers) has clocked 24.77 in the 200m to lead the entrants. Her Greater Manchester teammate Sophie Walton (Horwich) is the only other athlete under 25 seconds this year with a windy 24.94.
Ashley Nemit (Warrington AC, Trevor Painter), of Cheshire, has a PB 40.3 from this year to lead the entrants ahead of the first Junior Girls 300m in ESAA history. Middlesex’s Jeslyn Agyei-Kyem’s (Walton, Andrew Kennard) 40.36 ranks her a close second.
In middle distance, Zakia Mossi (Blackheath & Bromley, Phillip Kissi) of Middlesex leads the 800m entrants with her time of 2:09.86. Wiltshire’s Beatrice Wood (City of Salisbury, Dave Amey), 3rd in the 1500m in 2017, set a PB 4:26.3 in June to top the year’s rankings coming into the champs.
Lydia Smith (Taunton), of Somerset, leads the long jump rankings; since finishing 5th last year she has improved her best to 5.87m. Similarly, London’s Mabel Smith (Herne Hill) has improved to 1.73m in the high jump to lead the entrants, after 9th place last year.
In the 100m, last year’s runner up Graig Anya-Joshpeh (Basildon, Vespa Ellis) of Essex returns. His 10.84 in Chelmsford last month ranks him top ahead of Greater Manchester’s Marcus McLean (Sale Harriers), who has clocked a PB 11.0 this year.
Surrey’s George Sudderick (Walton, Andrew Kennard) returns to attempt to defend his 300m title, an event he tops this year’s rankings in with 35.28.
Berkshire’s reigning javelin champion Benjamin East (Team Kennet, Cheryl Angell) will have strong hopes of retaining the gold medal; he has thrown 66.17m this year for a healthy lead over his rivals.
Action at the Alexander Stadium begins at 10am on both days.