It was a fantastic second day of competition at the England Athletics under 17 and under 15 combined events championships today in Sheffield. An unprecedented three overall Championship Best Performance scores to add to yesterday's British Record and CBP made it four out of four top points scores in the history of the championships.
As always, many thanks to our technical officials who volunteered their time to ensure a high standard of competition was maintained this weekend, and coaches and spectators for supporting the athletes!
Under 15 boys' pentathlon
Clocking his sprint hurdles in the fastest time in the UK this year, and 0.65 seconds ahead of his closest rival, Joseph Harding (Club: Basildon AC, Coach: Stephen Peaty) led the Under 15 boys' pentathlon following the opening event. After being one of many athletes no-jumping in their first round, Joseph followed this with a 6.61m long jump Personal Best in his final round - surpassing his winning individual EA champs distance from last month. Fellow Essex athlete Daniel Ogutuga (Club: Thurrock Harriers, Coach: Karl Sumun) leapt 6.20m at his 3rd attempt to go 2nd in this year's rankings, and Ben Hillman (Club: Cardiff AAC, Coach: Helen James) also passed 6m in that round to lie in second position prior to the high jump. Scottish U15 high jump champion Kyle McAulay (Club: Whitemoss AAC, Coach: Alan Forbes) took top honours here with a clearance of 1.67m but five other athletes cleared 1.61m or greater, scoring close to 500 points apiece.
The final field event was the shot put with three athletes breaking the 11m barrier, including Joseph who had not yet relinquished his lead over the whole event. Benjamin Henson (Club: Cardiff AAC, Coach: Fran Baker) recorded 11.52m for the highest points score - following Kyle's 11.29 just prior to his last put in a block of best performances that round.
The two final 800m races each contained a mix of athletes, having been seeded according to overall position and not 800m time. Murray Fotheringham (Club: Giffnock North AAC, Coach: Dudley Walker & Simon Dear) clocked the fastest time of the afternoon with 2.07.54 and that earned him a clear cut overall bronze medal. Ben Hillman's consistent performances throughout the day gave him the silver medal. Joseph Harding never let go of the lead and finished with 3132 points - a British all time best score for the event, beating Reuben Esien's 5-year-old Championship Record and surpassing last year's winner's points score by over 100 points.
Under 15 girls' pentathlon
With the 60m hurdles gun going at 10.30am and the first of six 800m races starting at 6.15pm it was a packed day for the 45 entered into the U15 girls' pentathlon. Abigail Pawlett (Club: West Cheshire AC, Coach: Joe Frost) led in the girls' competition after the first event - running 8.86 for 939 points, just a hundredth of a second off the PB she set in the Age Group champs last month to take gold there. Lucy-Jane Matthews (Club: Southampton AC, Coach: Andy Fisher) was the only other athlete to go sub-9 seconds. Lucy-Jane was also one of only three athletes to long jump beyond 5.25m; she topped the event list at 5.46m, KiiKii Brown (Club: Leeds City AC, Coach: Matt Barton) and Milly Gall (Club: Dacorum & Tring AC) some 20cm behind.
Next it was time for three pools of shot put; once again Lucy-Jane showed her prowess in the event with a put of 11.61m, 1.19m (and 68 points) further than her nearest rival Yasmin Grosvenor (Club: Bracknell AC) . With the gap narrowing between Abigail and Milly, the high jump was an important event for them. While Lucy-Jane once again took top spot with 1.61m, Milly managed a third attempt clearance at 1.52m and went on to clear 1.55m to Abigail's 1.52m. This left Milly just a single point behind Abigail lying in second.
The sixth and final race of the 800m would determine the top positions overall. With Daisy Worthington (Club: Bury AC, Coach: Joe Frost) already having run a 2.23.83 race previously to move from 11th to 6th, and Emily Misantoni (Club: Stockport Harriers & AC, Coach: Joe Frost) beating Lucy-Jane with a time of 2.25.24, the very close finish between the rest of the race finishers led to an overall win and CBP for Lucy-Jane Matthews, Abigail Pawlett holding onto silver and Milly Gall a very close bronze. Lucy-Jane's score sits second on the all-time list behind Morgan Lake who also holds the British Age Group Best.
Under 17 men's heptathlon
The men's heptathlon continued on day 2 with just as many twists and turns as yesterday. Joel McFarlane (Club: Arbroath & District AC, Coach: Ian McFarlane) and Theo Adesina (Club: Thurrock Harriers, Coach: Karl Sumun) retained their overnight 1-2 after the first event - the 60m hurdles - but behind them it was all change. Robbie Farquhar (Club: Aberdeen AAC, Coach: Kenny Lyon) produced a fast 8.44 PB and moved into 3rd and Harri Wheeler Sexton (Cardiff AAC, Coach: Steve Boyles / Fran Baker) clocked the fastest time of the day and moved into 4th.
Next up was the pole vault which usually produces a huge range of points scores. It was a tidy competition with athletes using good energy-saving tactics - mostly either clearing at their first attempt then failing a straight three attempts. Highest clearance of the day was 3.81m - again by Joel. Just 10cm below was Matt Chandler (Club: Central AC, Coach: Iain McEwen) and that moved him from 6th to 3rd position.
The final 1000m didn't change many of the top positions although Robbie only just held onto sliver by 9 points after Matt ran his first sub 3 minute 1000m to take bronze. Joel McFarlane added gold to his silver from last year's indoors and his recent Scottish indoor title with a new British Record of 4948 points.
Photo by David Griffiths.