When the first day of the New Balance English Schools' Track and Field Championships got underway at Birmingham the athletes made the most of the opportunity to show their talent. With a stack of field events finals throughout the day there was impressive action happening constantly.
One of the highlights of day one was the championship record set in the Junior Boys long jump when Jerel Livingston (Manch) leapt out to a 6.76 (+0.5). The 28cm personal best took the Trafford athlete to gold and erased the mark of Onuchie Onuorah (Kent) that had stood since 1988. Jack Fayers (Suffolk, Ipswich, Graham Holmes) also PBed with a 6.39 to take silver as bronze went to Damope Akinyemi (Essex, Newham & Essex Beagles, Stephen Peaty) with 6.29 (0.0). But the impressive performances in the jumps had started earlier in the day.
Shandell Taylor (Essex, Havering, Trevor Wells) leapt out to a 7.78 (+1.7) in the Senior Boys long jump. Not only was this a huge PB by more than 50cm - it was also the longest jump by a British U20 this year by more than 40cm and propelled him into the British all time U20 top 10 for the event (ninth). While the wind assisted Championship Best Performance stands at 7.97 to Nathan Morgan (Leics) with a 7.97 (+3.8) Shandell’s mark eclipsed the championship record of Jonathan Moore (West Mids) which had stood at 7.68 since 2001. The silver medal went to another athlete setting a PB – this time by 30cm and a big season’s best – Daniel Hopper (Herts, Dacorum & Tring) who went out to 7.33 (+0.7). Jack Sumners (Warks, Stratford-upon-Avon, Paul Bearman) claimed bronze with 7.26 (+1.3)
The long jump produced a steady stream of eye catching jumps. There was a huge PB of 6.03 (+1.4) by Cleo Martin-Evans (Northants, Daventry) to win the Inter Girls long jump. Coming into the competition with a best of 5.66 she produces a tremendous jump to win the title from Amy Rolfe (North Yorks, City of York, Matt Barton) who raised her own game to achieve a lifetime best of 5.89 as Martin-Evans went to the top of this year’s rankings. Bronze went to Funminiyi Olajide (Essex, Thurrock, Geraldine Heapy) with 5.81.
Another athlete who had made an impression early in the day was Tom Hewson (Hampshire, Andover) who hit a big throw and added almost 4m to his personal best to take the Senior Boys javelin with 69.13. This was the furthest throw by a British U20 athlete so far this year. The throw gave him a 7m winning margin from the very tight battle for the silver and bronze medals. Edan Cole (Sussex, Brighton & Hove, Bob Willows) edged out the Essex athlete Joss Foot (Orion, Mike McNeill) with 62.05 to 62.01. True to form Beth Rees (Staffs, Cannock & Stafford) was the Senior Girls javelin champion with 47.29.
Coming into the championships the longest throw for the U17 Boys hammer this year was the 67.44 mark of Shaun Kerry (Humbers, Kingston Upon Hull, Dave Smith). But such was the competition for the English Schools Inter Boys title that despite improving his own mark to 68.05 this was only enough for a bronze medal for Kerry. Sam Gaskell (Lancs, Blackburn, Michael Hitchon) threw out for a title winning 68.75 and the 68.31 of Kenneth Ikeji (Essex, Basildon, Paul Head) took the silver. Lily Murray (Kent, Thanet AC, Amir Williamson) went past the 50m mark for the first time to win the Junior Girls hammer with 50.74, the longest in the age group this year. Lara Moffat (Buck, Marshall Milton Keynes, Jack Kee) also PBed for silver with 49.95 – the second furthest this year.
Another impressive hammer competition performance came from Ben Ixer (Essex, Southend AC). He launched a huge PB of 50.40 to improve on his previous best of 44.81 and claim the gold medal in the Junior Boys hammer. William Compton (Glocs, Forest of Dean, Andrew Compton) also hit a big PB for the silver medal with 47.37.
In the Senior Girls triple jump Abazz Shayaam-Smith (West Mids, Birchfield H, Daniel Parton) set a new age group lead mark for the year. Her 12.83 carried her to gold with both Adelaide Omitowoju (Cambs, Cambridge & Coleridge, Benjamin Davies) and Mayi Hughes (London, Havering, Tony Benton) setting new PBs of 12.55 and 12.40 for silver and bronze respectively, the latter by just 1cm from Jade Oni (Kent, Blackheath & Bromley, Mark Chapman). Aaron Ashmead Shoye (Essex, Newham & Essex Beagles, Stephen Peaty) also leapt to the head of the year’s rankings list in the Junior Boys triple jump with 13.57 (+1.7). Jacob Byfield (Kent, Blackheath & Bromley, Paul Patten) claimed the silver with 12.91 (+2.8). A personal best of 14.37 by Josh Woods (Herts, Dacorum & Tring) carried him to the Inter Boys triple jump title.
Sam Brereton (Cornwall, Newquay & Par, Clive Marsh) raised his PB to 2.04 in the Inter Boys high jump to take the title. The silver medallist Harrison Thorne (Berks, Slough Junior, Carol Jackson) broke the 2m barrier for the first time for a silver medal with 2.01.
There was a commanding performance from Lewis Byng (Warks, Stratford Upon Avon, Paul Bearman) in the Inter Boys shot to take the title in 17.89 from Andrew Knight (Northumberland, Dave Smith, Kingston upon Hull, 16.87). And similarly Jack Halpin (Durham, Gateshead, Alex Giles) took the Junior Boys shot in 14.66. The Inter Girls Shot went to Nana Gyedu (London, Cambridge Harriers) with 13.61.
The first winner of the day was Jacob Clark (Notts, Notts AC, Maxine Robbins) who claimed the Inter Boys pole vault with a clearance on 4.30, the same height as sliver medallist Owen Heard (Surrey, Harrow, Ellie Spain) as Dylan Baines took bronze with (Herts, Stevenage & North Herts, Beth Harris) 4.20. Lucinda White (Kent, Tonbridge, Anthony Stevens) won a close Junior Girls pole value as she and Amy Hunt (West Yorks, Wakefield, Susan Taylor) both went clear at 3.05 with the Kent athlete winning on count back. Natasha Purchas (Sussex, Crawley, Richard Pilling) equalled her PB to take the Senior Girls pole vault with 3.90. At the other end of the day the last event was won by Emmanuel Thomas of Surrey (Croydon, Allan Williams) who retained his Senior Boys pole vault title with his clearance at 4.60. Jake Watson (Shrops, Telford AC, Peter Hill) took the silver with 4.35, the same height as bronze medal winning Chris Lamb (Cheshire, Wigan & District, John Mitchell).
The track events on the Friday are all qualification rounds. But there was plenty to suggest the Saturday would see some great performances in the track finals. Among those were Jeslyn Agyei-Kyem (Surrey, Walton, Andrew Kennard) clocking an impressive looking 39.82 to go top of this year’s rankings and advance to the final of the inaugural Junior Girls 300m with next quickest Poppy Malik (Notts, Notts AC, Grant Barker) who ran a 40.00 in heat 2 moving to second on this year’s list.
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