The country’s most promising combined-eventers come together in search of medals and personal bests this weekend at the England Athletics Under 17 and Under 15 Championships at the Manchester Regional Arena.
Molly Mills, Zoe Gregory and Joshua Dako will be trying to add to the England combined events titles they won in the winter, while Milana Thorpe, Eden Robinson and Finn Bryce are among other top contenders.
U15 girls’ hexathlon
England indoor pentathlon champion Molly Mills (Jessica Taylor-Jemmett, Stockport) is looking to do the double as the athletes step up to take on the more rarely contested hexathlon.
After scoring 3252 for the pentathlon indoors in Sheffield, Mills - who was fifth in this event 12 months ago - missed out another potential 3000-pointer when no-marking in the long jump in Stoke in June. Milana Thorpe (Steve Mitchell, Chelmsford) won bronze behind Mills, having tallied 2790 for the pentathlon last year, and is another strong entry.
Another of 2022’s top first-year under-15s present is Mia Squires (Great Yarmouth), who scored 2800 last year. Top on pentathlon PBs is Elise Christian (Guildford & Godalming), who has scored 2874. Other contenders include Jessica Baxter (Ian Hill, Leeds City), who was fifth indoors and has chalked up 2766 for a pentathlon this year, and Evie Elliott (Matt Cullen, Bury), who has scored 2736.
U17 women’s heptathlon
Zoe Gregory (Basildon), who won the England under-17 indoor pentathlon title last winter, will be looking to repeat that outdoors and improve on her best score of 4314 from last year.
Eden Robinson (North Devon) lines up the best on PBs with her 4823 from this summer. Next best is 2022 England under-15 indoor pentathlon champion Eve Drury (Matt Barton, Leeds City) on 4853.
Lucy Salter (Joanne Harding, Stockport) has scored 4566 and will be trying to improve on her fourth of last year. One place behind her there and returning is Wales’ Abi Belward, who was second in the England under-15 hexathlon in 2021.
Former English Schools’ champion Isabelle Mardle (Keith Yellop, City of Norwich) has the best score to her name of 5042 but this is marked as wind-assisted. Scotland’s Matilda Brockley, who was sixth in the England indoor event this year, is top of the pentathlon rankings with 3359 sixth indoors as she gets set for her first heptathlon.
Making the step up in age group are last year’s top under-15s from these championships: Scotland’s Victoria Anestik and Jessica Howells (Andrew Fisher, Guildford & Godalming). Also in the running could be Sadie Parker (Daniel Njai-Rowney, Blyth), Scotland’s Shannon Brown, Hannah Wilson (Blyth), Amy Hewitt (Carl Foster, Wigan & District), Isla Pain (Marie Burnett, Cheltenham) and Wales’ Matilda Quick.
U15 boys’ octathlon
Joshua Dako (Alex Pope, Blackheath & Bromley) and Oliver Downs (Alex Pope, Invicta East Kent), who were first and second at the England championships indoors last winter, go head to head again as they step up to eight events. They are also first and second respectively on the UK under-15 pentathlon rankings this summer with 3048 and 2928. Alfie Dodds (Shaun O’Donnell, Bolton), who was sixth at the England indoors, is another to watch out for.
U17 men’s decathlon
Scotland’s Finn Bryce leads the UK age-group decathlon rankings with 5711, the sort of score that could put him in among the medals here as the Championships were won with 5880 last year. Finn has had the opportunity in Scotland to compete in the ten-discipline event, however there are sure to be a number of surprises with most athletes not haveing tackled a competitive decathlon yet.
Corey Beechall (Alex Wort, Liverpool Harriers), who was second at the England indoor heptathlon, plus has two more combined events golds this year looks set to improve on his fifth last year and accompanying PB of 5079. Also doing well in Sheffield indoors were Joe Stone (Leslie Stone, Tonbridge) and Sammy Lok (Aidan Bailey, Tonbridge), who is bidding to step up from 10th 12 months ago. One place ahead of him at these championships last year was Archie Varley (Crewe & Nantwich), who is another on the roster this weekend. Also set to challenge is Toby Wright (Steve Shaw, Taunton), who leads the octathlon rankings with 4799 set just a few weeks ago.
Luke Pichler's first year in the age group already sees him ranked 5th in both indoor heptathlon and octathlon, and Ruben Stovell (John Lane, Hallamshire) - second to Luke in last year's U15 indoor pentathlon - has also moved up to U17 with a heptathlon under his belt. Other first years to watch are Samuel Newton (Tonbridge) and Herbie Kay (Bolton) who both medalled at their regional ESAA events.