Athletes reach new heights at New Balance ESAA Track and Field Championship

The field eventers were to the fore on the first day of the New Balance English Schools’ AA Track & Field Championships at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium. New Championship Best Performances were set and medals decided amongst England’s best young athletes.

Early in the proceedings Frankie Johnson (Bedfordshire, Bedford & County, Simon Eastwood) set a new championship record in the Inter Boys pole vault. Frankie who holds the age group indoor record for the event had the bar raised the bar to 4.72 to add a centimetre to the previous best, held by Joel Leon Benitez, before then going on to clear 4.86 at his final attempt.

Frankie said, “I started off by running through on my opening height but it gradually got better. I went for 4.60 and got it on my third attempt. The crowd got going and there was a great atmosphere. I went to 4.72 and cleared it on my first attempt.”

Frankie was also keen to thank his club and Steve James for their support including providing the ever longer poles needed as he has progress. History was also made in the event when the Isle of Man achieved their first ever English Schools’ medal competing as a separate team, rather than as part of Merseyside, for the first time ever. It was Glen Quayle (Northern (Isle of Man), John Whitlow) whose 4.20 clearance secured silver and made a piece of English Schools’ history. Jake Watson (Shrops, Telford AC, Peter Hill) cleared 4.10 for the bronze medal.

There were impressive performances by all medallists in the Junior Girls event as well. Sophie Ashurst (Manchester, Sale Harriers Manchester) set a new championship best in the pole vault as both first and second placed athletes went higher than the old best and the bronze medallist equalled it. Sophie went clear at 3.55 with silver medallist Jasmine Carey (Lancs, Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde, Kevin Davies) recording 3.45 to also better the mark of 3.35 set by Jade Spencer-Smith (Middlesex), a height matched by this year’s third medallist Lucy Allen (Cornwall, Newquay & Par, Clive Marsh).

With the track finals all taking place on Day Two the field eventers were the ones to watch, and with multiple events going on at once there was plenty of action to be following while the track athletes were focussed on qualification for finals.

Rhea Southcott (West Yorks, Leeds City, Toni Minichiello) came within 7cm of the championships best performance in the Inter Girls shot. Her mark of 15.01 was 53cm ahead of silver medal winning Hannah Molyneaux (Lincs, Lincoln Wellington, Malcolm Fenton) with the bronze being won by Jess Hopkins (Essex, Chelmsford, Steve Mitchell) with her distance of 13.08.

Temi Ojora (Bucks, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Alan Hewson) recorded a 1cm PB of 1.77 to go to the top of the rankings and claim the Inter Girls High Jump title from Hannah Moat (Lincs, Scunthorpe, David Walker) and Ashleigh West (Kent, Medway & Maidstone, John Bancroft) who both cleared 1.71 with Hannah setting a 5cm PB for silver.

The Inter Girls hammer was won by Tara Simpson-Sullivan (Cumbria, Wigan & District, Robert Halliwell) with a throw of 61.00, just shy of her personal best and 59cm clear of silver medallist Charlotte Williams (Lancs, Blackburn, Michael Hitchon).

Elizabeth Korczak (Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Bob Willows) threw a 2.5m PB to edge the Junior Girls javelin by 25cm with 41.26. Her throw is second furthest by a British U20 this year as the silver medal was won with a throw of 41.01 of Abigail Ward (Northants, Rugby & Northampton) who improved her PB from 34.57. Millie Quaintance (Somerset, Team Kennet) took bronze with 40.47 as all three athletes threw over 40m for the first time and rewrote the top of the rankings lists.

In the Senior Girls triple jump just 3cm separated gold and silver, with a distance of just 10cm between all the medal winning jumps. Adelaide Omitowoju (Cambs, Cambridge & Coleridge, Morace Park) extended her PB out beyond 12m to 12.30 in claiming the title ahead of Claudimiri Landim (London, Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets, Kelvin Richards) and Abazz Shayaam-Smith (West Mids, Birchfield H, Daniel Parton).

A closely fought Junior Girls long jump saw Milly Gall (Herts, Dacorum & Tring) with 5.67 (-0.4) just 5cm ahead of Cleo Martin-Evans (Northants, Daventry) with Molly Palmer (Notts, Charnwood, Nigel Kesteven) taking the bronze with 5.46 (-1.2).

Thomas Holmes (Wilts, Marlborough & District Junior, Mark Bradford) took the Junior Boys javelin by 23cm from Charlie Davison (Glocs) with 53.42m to 53.19. Elliot Odunaiya (Cheshire, Wrexham, Ian Robinson) threw out to 51.94 for bronze.

Another close competition was the Junior Boys long jump were Adam Lindo (Sussex, Crawley, Julia Machin) won with a new PB of 6.35 ahead of the 6.32 of Archie Yeo (Humber, Scunthorpe, David Harmes). Ransford Ako’nai (Wilts, Team Bath) was another setting a PB with 6.10 in third.

Rowan Powell (Leics, Leicester, Glenys Morton) jumped a personal best 7.27 (0.0) to take the Senior Boys long jump title ahead of the 7.05 (0.0) of Samuel Challis (Berks, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Daniel Sawyers).

The Senior Boys shot was won by Dan Cartwright (West Mids, Birchfield) with a distance of 16.87, just over a metre ahead of Leo Rowley (South Yorks, Rotherham, Graeme Stark).