Introducing four new England Athletics champions

Bedford International Stadium welcomed back England Athletics' U17 and U15 combined eventers for day two of the national championships for U17M decathlon, U17W heptathlon, U15B Octathlon and U15G hexathlon. And there was no let up in the action on the road to four new champions on the podium.

Click here for the Day 1 report

U17 Women's Heptathlon

It was down to a nail-biting final 800m. Holly McArthur's (Club: Edinburgh AC, Coach: Iain McEwan) time of 2.16.69 was not quite enough for her to take the gold off Jade O'Dowda (Club: Oxford City AC, Coach: Marcia Marriott) who had led for most of the weekend and whose final score of 5,010 not only broke the 5,000 point barrier but put her 7th on the all-time list. After ending Day 1 in 5th, Holly put in a strong long jump, and managed an 8m improvement on her javelin PB in a strong side wind but finished an agonising 11 points off gold with a score of 4,999. Alexa Eichelmann (Club: Woking AC, Coach: Nick Phipps) who was in 4th overnight performed close to her PBs but also left it until the last race to take bronze by just one point over Emily Race (Club: Worksop Harriers, Coach: John Smith) who had competed well throughout the weekend with long jump and javelin PBs.

U17W medallists

Jade O'DOWDA: 5,010
Holly McARTHUR: 4,999
Alexa EICHELMANN: 4,576

U17W full results (PDF)

U17 Men's Decathlon

Joel McFarlane (Club: Arbroath & District AC) ran a storming 100m Hurdles to get his day off to a good start and move him up to 1st position with the 15 point advantage that gave him over Joshua Hewett (Club: Liverpool Harriers & AC, Coach: Grant Brown). In the discus, both threw over 34m and the first two positions remained unchanged going into the pole vault. Charlie Ashdown-Taylor (Club: Bracknell AC, Coach: Andrew Hughes) threw a fantastic new PB of 42m dead in the discus which moved him up to 5th position, and Peter Keefe (Club: Stevenage & North Herts AC, Coach: Norma Harris AC) moved from 10th to 6th after his 45m throw which was a 2m improvement on his PB.

The pole vault saw a 3m81 clearance by Oscar Jopp (Club: Stevenage & North Herts AC, Coach: Norma Harris) which was a new PB for him. In the javelin, Joss Moffat's (Club: Rushcliffe AC, Coach: Macdonald Blackman) throw of 49m18 moved him up from 7th to 4th and increased his PB by three and a half metres. He finished with the fastest 1500m time of the day at 4.43.88 but it wasn't quite enough to get him into the medals. Joel kept hold of the top spot throughout the day to take the gold with Josh Hewett just behind him to cross the 1500m finishing line and taking silver. Scott Connal (Club: Whitemoss AAC, Coach: Iain McEwan) maintained his bronze medal position though the whole day with PBs in the discus and javelin, and second home in the 1500m.

U17M medallists

Joel MCFARLANE: 6,260
Joshua HEWETT: 6,150
Scott CONNAL: 6.069

U17M full results (PDF)

U15 Boys' Octathlon

There were no position changes on Day 2 for the U15 Boys' Octathlon, although the gaps between the medal positions widened somewhat. There were lots of PBs in both the hurdles and pole vault. Aran Thomas (Club: Wakefield District H & AC, Coach: Michael Swain) dropped the lead briefly after Ben Hughes' (Club: Wigan & District H & AC, Coach: Sharon-Louise Walls) fastest 80m Hurdles but a 70cm difference in their PV heights put him back in front. A 40m+ discus put him well ahead and it was left to Ben and Dylan Baines (Club: Stevenage & North Herts AC) to trade 2nd and 3rd position throughout the rest of the day with Ben's sub 3 minute 1000m PB clinching him the silver.

U15B medallists

Aran THOMAS: 4,116
Ben HUGHES: 3,972
Dylan BAINES: 3,628

U15B full results (PDF)

U15 Girls' Hexathlon

Jess Hopkins (Club: Chelmsford AC, Coach: Steve Mitchell) who was the overnight leader, did not relinquish her grip on the gold medal position with a 12m12 shot put which was by far the longest of the day and earned her 669 points. She followed this with a 1m59 high jump - only Danielle Hopkins (Club: Worcester AC, Coach: Deirdre Elmhirst) could beat that with a clearance of 1m68 which took her form 11th to 3rd. With a 500 point lead Jess could afford to take it easy in the final 800m for overall first. Not so for Mia Chantree (Club: Chelmsford AC, Coach: Philip Sergeant) and Danielle who were drawn in the same race and finished just 28 points apart for silver and bronze. Steph Driscoll (Club: Kendal Amateur AC, Coach: Stephen John Priestley) won that race and had the fastest time overall but finished overall 4 points short of bronze; the previous events taking their toll and adding seconds to her usual time.

U15G medallists

Jess HOPKINS: 3,769
Mia CHANTREE: 3,499
Danielle HOPKINS: 3,471

U15G full results (PDF)

Medals were presented by England Athletics National Coach Mentor for Combined Events Kerry Eddie-Jury, plus regional medals were awarded by Midlands Athletics President Colin Fox and Northern T&F Championship Secretary Malcolm Fletcher. England Athletics Head of Competition said after the event, "It was lovely to see so many youngsters - especially Under 15 Girls - just starting out on their Combined Events journey, doubtless inspired by Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson."

Thanks to all the athletes, coaches, volunteers, officials and parents for making it a fantastic weekend. Athlete dad and chauffeur Barry Connal said, "It's been a great weekend with a good atmosphere. The officials were excellent and it was well worth the nine hour drive down!"

Click here for the Day 1 report

U15B, U15G and U17W photos by David Griffiths
U17M photos by Nicola Evans