Day two of these, let’s say, interesting championships given the sporting turmoil we’re all currently experiencing certainly proved one thing: England’s young athletes are tough to the core! As with day one, congratulations to the everyone involved from the starter sending the first super competitive race on its way at 10.30am to the cleaning crew tidying up and potentially closing the facility for who knows how long at the end of the day.
And well done to the athletes for such an enthralling day. Competition was fascinating in all three of the age groups, the lead changing hands with alarming regularity. At least alarming if you were the athlete who had occupied that position, but exciting for the enthusiastic crowd who watched on as first dropped to third, back to first and down again all afternoon.
Here’s how it all unfolded…
U15 girls' pentathlon
Seven heats in the 60 hurdles resulted in seven superb races with Sophie Lisk (Cardiff Archers, Phil Warwicker) emerging as the name to watch early on. It all went very much to form as Sophie came into the champs fourth ranked in the country this year and crossed the line in a pretty swift 9.24. Behind her, there were plenty of good performances to catch the eye, as Isabelle Mardle (City of Norwich, Keith Yellop) ran 9.30 and Jenna Hilditch (Victoria Park City of Glasgow, Moira Jordan) clocked 9.34.
The next event, the long jump was all about one athlete: Amy Wall (Southampton, Andrew Fisher) who opened her account with a massive 5.48m, the furthest in the country in 2020 in her age group. That combined very nicely with her 9.34 opener in the 60 hurdles, while behind her Ruby Sayles (Chesterfield, Vernonica Boden), moved to fifth in the national rankings with 5.25m.
Pentathlons can change in a second, however, and Isabelle followed her 5.12m long jump with a very solid 9.39m in the shot to take the lead after three from Alice Wilson (Team Bath, Jule Alexander) whose 9.63 hurdles, 5.19m long jump and massive 9.92m shot put meant she was just 21 points adrift in third. Amy, still very much in contention, finished with 7.67m.
Onto the high jump then and yet another swing as Sophie found herself back in the lead having cleared a fabulous 1.57m to head to the 800m 30 points to the good. All to play for.
But it was all change for the 800m; 4th placed Georgina Mabbott (Gateshead Harriers) saved the best for last with a run of 2.32.55 to take the gold by just one point and 6/100ths of a second at the finish line off Alice Wilson. She adds this to her Scottish pentathlon gold earned last month which scored her just one point more! Sophie Lisk's strong start to the day gave her a safe bronze after the final four laps.
- Gold: Georgina Mabbott (3175 points)
- Silver: Alice Wilson (3174 points)
- Bronze: Sophie Lisk (3155 points)
U15 boys' pentathlon
A loaded final heat in the 60 hurdles with just about everyone running ranked in the top 10 for the year saw Dant’e Clarke (Herne Hill Harriers, Anthony Mayhew) come out on top with a powerful looking 8.81. Given he won the national title in the long jump last month and that would be the next event, his competitors knew they had a fight on their hands. Good for 788pts, Dant’e opened up a small lead on the chasing pack which included Daniel Martin (Giffnock North, Symon Lipp) and Morgan White (Sale, Matthew Cullen) who ran 8.92 and 9.01 for 764pts and 744pts respectively.
The Herne Hill Harrier predictably increased his lead after an opening 5.82m in the long jump before following that up with a 5.90m in round two, while Daniel, also a superb jumper finished his competition with 5.77m.
The next two events, the high jump and then the shot demonstrated that Dant’e was clearly in the mood to take no prisoners as he whipped over 1.72m at the second attempt, moving ever further away as Daniel could go no higher than 1.63m. The shot was even more impressive as Dant’e threw 12.32m to build up a 181-point lead going into the 800m, which meant for the first time all day, Dant’e could afford to take it a little easier, the gold medal safe. However, the same could not be said for the final medals as Morgan White (Sale, Matthew Cullen) and Reef Page (Invicta East Kent, Jacob Burton) both produced superb 800s inside 2:10 to get themselves up to second and third, the long-time second placer dropping to fourth as a result.
“I was really pleased with my shot which was a big PB,” said Dant’e thinking about what was had been his best performance. “But obviously I was happy with everything, even the 800m because that went to plan.” His 2953 points were good for ninth on the all-time list.
- Gold: Dant’e Clarke (2953 points)
- Silver: Morgan White (2849 points)
- Bronze: Jacob Burton (2818 points)
U17 men’s heptathlon, day 2
Almost under the radar, but not quite - given the PB form he demonstrated on several occasions on Saturday - overnight fourth placer Djavan Pedro (Sale, Jess Emmet-Taylor) emerged into the spotlight thanks to the seventh fastest 60 hurdles of the year, 8.25. That scored him a massive 920pts and resulted in reshuffle on the overnight standings. He moved to third while Oliver D'Rozario (Taunton, Steve Shaw) returned to the number 1 slot he had held for much of Saturday thanks to his 8.48 clocking. The overnight leader Sammy Ball (Reading, Mike Tyler) slipped to fourth following an untidy outing in the hurdles where he ran 8.92, while the new under-the-radar athlete was now long-time second placer Harry Crosby (Southampton, Andy Fisher) who once again was in great form, running 8.69.
Next up was the pole vault where predictably given the technical nature of the event things changed again. And it was Sammy who moved back to the lead thanks to his 20cm PB of 3.40m. Harry remained in second with 3.20m, while Djavan will remember this meeting for some time as he PB’d once more, scaling 3.10m despite a ragged technique. Oliver slipped out of the medals for the first time, but only by six points meaning it really was all to play for in the 1000m. Sammy led with 3880, Harry followed at 3871, then Djavan, 3827 and finally Oliver 3821.
Often the 1000m can prove to be a bit of a procession but not on this occasion. Sammy hit the front with 200m left and that looked to be it, but Djavan had other ideas and found an extra gear off the final bend to take the race, although not the title. That was Sammy’s for the second year in a row, adding to the U15 crown he took in 2019. While for Djavan, it was a great conclusion to a superb weekend as his tenacity over that final lap meant he hauled himself up from bronze to silver in a close fought competition that saw just 59pts cover the first three.
“I had a hamstring injury about three months ago and in the hurdles, I felt it,” Sammy said, explaining his slow start to the day. “So, I knew I had to get a good pole vault,” he continued, very pleased with that huge PB, not to mention the gold medal. And this in his first year in the age group. The future looks good.
- Gold: Sammy Ball (4670 points)
- Silver: Djavan Pedro (4620 points)
- Bronze: Harry Crosby (4611 points)
Photo by David Griffiths