New Champions were made and a thirteen year old Championship Record broken in an action-packed final day at the England Athletics Under 17 and 15 Combined Events at the Manchester Regional Arena.
U17 Men’s Decathlon
The second day saw a Gold medal and a new Championship Record in a tremendous performance for defending champion Joel McFarlane (Club: Arbroath & District AC). McFarlane reached a huge 6,594 points to beat the 13-year record held by Oliver McNeillis, by 38 points. When Day Two got underway Robbie Farquhar (Club: Aberdeen AAC, Coach: Ian McFarlane) was the quickest in the opening 100m Hurdles event, clocking 14.02 seconds (798pts) to strengthen his overnight 2nd placing. However, McFarlane himself bagged the 3rd quickest time of 14.10, to ensure he did not concede many points to his nearest rival. Rob Worman (Club: Cheltenham & County Harriers, Coach: Kerry Eddie-Jury) set the leading mark in the Discus of 40.22m (669pts) to move himself up to silver position with 4,607pts, 224 behind McFarlane at that point in the competition. The pair were both evenly matched in the next Pole Vault event, with each reaching a height of 3.98 to earn themselves 612pts each. Meanwhile, Matthew Chandler (Club: Central AC, Coach: Iain McEwen) had been making in-roads into the medal position thanks to a consistent series of events, his joint leading pole vault height of 4.08m (640pts) took him into the bronze medal position with two events remaining. McFarlane made another huge step towards that Championship Record in the Javelin, throwing a mighty 45.46m (522pts) to take him up to a 5,965 overall. Knowing the record was within his grasp McFarlane then showed great composure in the final 1500m event to clock the 3nd quickest time of 4:48.32 to take that record with a total of 6,594pts. Chandler moved himself up into the silver medal position thanks to his 4:51.65 (609pts) time taking his total up to 6,167, while Worman finished in the bronze medal position with a total of 6,104 points.
U17 Women’s Heptathlon
Last year’s U15 Hexathlon Champion Jessica Hopkins (Club: Chelmsford AC, Coach: Steve Mitchell) became Champion in the higher age group thanks to another impressive display on Day 2. Emily Race (Club: Worksop Harriers, Coach: Peter Fendley) had been the overnight leader, and began the day in very promising fashion with a leading jump of 5.52m in the Long Jump, earning her another 706pts and giving her 3,797 overall. Hopkins kept up the pressure however, setting the 3rd longest mark of 5.44 to remain within 25 pts of 1st place. There was a real shake-up of positions after the Javelin event however, as leader Race was unable to register a mark, seeing her agonisingly drop out of the medal positions. Hopkins was consistently good again, throwing the 3rd furthest distance of 31.34 (502pts) to move into the lead with 4,274 overall. Hannah Barnden (Club: Derby AC, Coach: Steve Palmer) also impressed in this event with her throw of 33.90m (551pts) momentarily moving her into 2nd position with 3,848pts overall. Hopkins time of 2:39.69 (576pts) in the final 800m event was enough to see her comfortably take the Gold medal with 4,850pts overall. Meanwhile, Zoe Pollock (Club: Oxford City AC, Coach: Marcia Marriott) was the standout performer racing to a leading time of 2:18.26 giving her a hefty points haul of 847 that catapulted her from 6th place into the silver medal position with 4,615pts. Mia Chantree (Club: Chelmsford AC, Coach: Steve Mitchell) clocked the next quickest time of 2:26.58 (736pts, 4,577 overall) to secure the bronze medal placing she had held since the second event.
U15 Boy’s Octathlon
It was delight for Ben Hillman (Club: Cardiff AAC, Coach: Helen James/Fran Baker) as he was crowned Champion after continuing his good form from yesterday into today’s events. He opened the day with a blistering 80m hurdle display, his time of 11.78 being over a second quicker than his nearest challenger, and bagging him a huge 731 points haul in the process. His lead was strengthened further still in the Discus, with his throw of 30.62 (477pts) only bettered by George Asprey (Club: Aldershot Farnham & District, Coach: Adrian Weston) whose throw of 31.53m (495pts) helped him move within the medal positions at that stage. In the High Jump a leading mark of 1.78m from Murray Fotheringham (Club: Giffnock North AAC) scored him 610pts, and 3,369pts in total, to cement his Silver medal positioning. In the same event, overall leader Hillman came 2nd with his 1.69m jump scoring him 536pts and an overall lead of 239 pts that was to prove unassailable. The gold medal was in the bag, but the Championship Record of 4364 points, set by Joel McFarlane in 2015 was within his sights with just the 1000m to go. In the final event Hillman did not relent on his way to the 2nd quickest time, clocking an impressive 2:53.6 (728pts) to take the Gold with 4,336pts in total - just 28 points off that Championship Record. Fotheringham secured the Silver medal in style by setting the fastest time of 2:47.6 (791pts) giving him a total of 4,160pts. Meanwhile Asprey made a successful late push back into the bronze medal position with his time of 02:56.2 (702pts 3,822pts overall).
Day 2 U15 Girl’s Hexathlon
Abigail Pawlett (Club: Stockport Harriers & AC, Coach: Joe Frost) kept her composure and momentum to secure the Gold medal, after leading from the very first event of the competition. Pawlett started Day 2 with a huge 11.19 leading throw in the Shot gaining her 608pts and 2,342pts overall - a 180 point lead over her nearest rival at the time, Jamie Holland (Club: Swansea Harriers, Coach: Steve Ingram). Pawlett was one of three competitors who set the leading mark of 1.59m in the High Jump (724pts, 3,066pts overall) to increase her lead further, and effectively secured her gold medal before the final 800m event of the day. Pawlett’s fellow Stockport Harriers club mate Emily Misantoni (Coach: Joe Frost) showed what an impressive 800m competitor she is, clocking a swift time of 2:16.83, giving her an impressive 867pts and earning her the silver medal with a total of 3,645. Daisy Worthington (Club: Bury AC, Coach: Joe Frost) was the only competitor to go near this time as she recorded 02:18.24 and therefore a big 848pts of her own that moved her into the bronze medal position with 3,539pts. A special mention has to go to Coach Joe Frost whose athletes filled the podium in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.