Nat. Schools Combined Events Champs
Over a rainy and windswept weekend in Exeter, three young athletes from Chris Bartram's training squad competed very well in this prestigious end-of-season event, the jewel in the crown of the English Schools Athletic Association multi-events competitions. Composed of highly talented county qualifiers from all over the country, the championships once again supplied fields of thirty to forty competitors in all age groups from junior through intermediate to senior for both sexes.
In the Senior Girls heptathlon category Brogan Crowley achieved a set of performances that added up to a well-deserved bronze medal. Never out of the top three positions after her blistering first event, Brogan battled an ankle injury along with a disrupted preparation period to produce two personal bests in the 100m Hurdles and Shot Putt and leave all but two or three of her fellow competitors trailing in her wake. In the lead overnight, she approached the final three events in the heptathlon with trepidation as the Long Jump would test her ankle to the limit and despite producing a fine Javelin throw that won that event nevertheless the final gruelling 800metres saw the injury and the weekend catch up on her to leave her only on the podium not on top of it. This is a terrific result for Brogan as only this year did she advance to the Under 20 age group and her medal and performance must give her confidence that next year she will have a tremendous chance to take the title.
Her counterpart in the Senior Boys Decathlon, Alex Wort, nearly achieved exactly the same result. He produced a set of first day performances that included four new personal bests (100m, Long Jump, High Jump and 400m) and a 200 point first day record that left him in fifth place overnight and with every expectation of rising the two places to a podium finish given his relative strength in the second day events compared to his competitors. All was going well after he produced yet another new personal best in the first event of the day, the 110m Hurdles, but problems with the wet circle in the Discus and a failure to register a height in the Pole Vault in the windy conditions scuppered his run at a medal. He finished the remaining events strongly to complete in a very creditable eighth place, a fine performance as he again has a chance to contest this event next year, but left rueing what might have been.
Lydia Randles qualified to compete for Cheshire in the Intermediate Girls heptathlon and as one of the younger competitors was looking forward to the weekend as good experience for a tilt at the top places next year yet it transpired that she played a key role in the team taking a deserved silver medal in the team competition. In a full field of top-flight competitors, Lydia was positive in all her efforts and was rewarded with solid improvements to her personal bests in 80m Hurdles and Shot Putt. This would in itself have been a useful exercise but as the fourth Cheshire team member she became aware on the second day that the team needed her to step-up and become the third counting competitor and she managed this successfully against Lincolnshire and Sussex teams that pushed all the way to the line. Taking her place in the medal presentation capped a successful year for the group and left everyone eager to enter winter training schedules with vigour in order to prepare fully for next year.
(Compiled by Alan Wort)
Posted 15/01/2012 13:42