Stockport Harrier Abigail Pawlett (Coach: Joe Frost) continued her remarkable 2019 at the England Athletics Indoor U15 & U17 Combined Events Championships, setting not only a championship best performance score of 4,031 points, but also a UKA age group record, to win the women’s U17 pentathlon. The Joe Frost-coached athlete won four of the one-day competition’s five events to become the first athlete in the championship’s history to break 4,000 points, beating the previous best set by Pippa Earley’s 3952-point-score in 2017.
U17 Women's Pentathlon
Pawlett, who is 16, came to Sheffield after recording a trio of personal bests to win individual England Athletics titles in high and long jump, as well as hurdles silver. She was just as impressive from the gun of the first event of the day, clocking the fastest 60m hurdles time of the 48-athlete field with 8.74. Philippa Ellis (Coach: Geoff Fenwick & Mark Ellis, Club: Gateshead Harriers & AC) was next best with 8.92. There was also a flying start for Katie Burr (Coach: Iain Burr, Club: Victoria Park City of Glasgow) who recorded a personal best of 8.96 to go third overall.
A third-time clearance at 1.71 saw Pawlett win the high jump out-right ahead of Ella Rush (Coach: Martin Bishell, Club: Amber Valley and Erewash Athletic Club), whose clearance at 1.68m elevated her to second overall.
Pawlett then stretched her lead further by topping matters in the shot put. She was twice over the 12m line, recording a best of 12.39 for a 1cm improvement on her lifetime best. That was the same margin of her lead over Emily Misantoni (Coach: Joe Frost, Club: Stockport Harriers & AC), who was second overall in that event. She was then up near her best to lead the long jump, winning that one with 5.83 – an impressive 49cm better than second-best jumper Ella Rush, who by now was cemented in second place overall following a PB 12.02 effort in the shot.
There was more to come in the finale, where Pawlett found an improvement in her 800m time with 2:29.69 to secure an historic gold. Rush, racing in the same heat, crossed 0.07 seconds ahead to secure silver with 3,756 points, a terrific result for the 14-year-old. Katie Burr, whose solid competition was highlighted by a PB 11.05 in the shot, was a couple of seconds ahead of that pair in the 800m with 2:27.92 to stay third overall for bronze with 3,516 points.
U17 Men’s Heptathlon
Murray Fotheringham (Coach: Colin Sinclair) leads the men’s U17 heptathlon standings at the end of the first day. Fotheringham was recently crowned indoor heptathlon Scottish champion, setting a PB of 4785 points, and the Giffnock athlete showed similar brilliant form across the opening four events this weekend. Two personal bests leave him with a score of 2,810 and on course for another personal best total.
In the 60m opener, Ben Hilllman (Coach: Fran Baker, Club: Cardiff AAC) was fastest overall with a PB of 7.27. Fotheringham recorded a best of his own, 7.41, to go straight in at third, with Adam Hoole (Coach: Jamie Bowie, Club: Team East Lothian) recording a personal best of 7.40 for the second swiftest clocking.
Fotheringham didn’t need to be at his absolute best in the next event, the long jump, to move top. A seven-metre jumper at his best, Fotheringham recorded 6.82 to move into the lead ahead of Hillman, who jumped 6.26. Next best in that event was Kyle McAulay (Coach: Alan Forbes, Club: Victoria Park Glasgow), who jumped a PB 6.42 to move third overall.
McAulay then continued his personal best form in the shot put to move second out-right, recording 12.31 to finish behind Oliver Thatcher (Coach: Andrew Fisher, Club: Southampton Athletic Club), who led with 12.87. A lifetime best of 10.89 for Fotheringham was enough to keep McAulay at bay. The leader soon increased his lead in the high jump, where he cleared 1.95m. Though that was short of his two-metre best, it remained 9cm superior than that mark managed by McAulay, who remains second with 2,712, and Hillman, who stays third with 2,668, or anyone else in the field. It leaves just 142 points separating the top three: all to play for on day two, which begins with the 60m hurdles.
Photo: Alison Potts