THE JUNIOR boys team returned with a trophy to their name as the Hereford & Worcester Schools’ Athletics Association squad impressed at the New Balance English Schools’ National Track & Field Athletics Championships at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
Twenty-four young athletes from Herefordshire and Worcestershire schools competed in the county team at the two-day event having been selected following results in a range of district/county/club competitions.
This national event involves 45 counties and is the most prestigious in the schools’ athletics diary. It is one of the largest athletics events in the world and this year athletes had the additional challenge of the sun and exceptionally high temperatures to cope with.
Although the H&W squad did not return with any medals, they again captured a team trophy (points are awarded for athletes achieving a top eight position) as the junior boys team topped the ‘category D listed counties with 13 points.
Ben Brinsdon (Heathfield Knoll School, Wolverley) and Emma Sherwood (Hagley School) narrowly missed out on a podium place with fourth places in the junior boys 300m and intermediate girls high jump respectively.
Brinsdon ran a personal best (PB) time of 36.25s in his heat to qualify for the final and then another national standard (NS) time in the final.
Sherwood also had to qualify for the high jump final, in which she recorded a NS height of 1.69m. She will be representing England Schools in this weekend’s international event against Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Her team-mate Danielle Hopkins (The Chase, Malvern) also qualified for the intermediate girls high jump final in which she finished seventh with a leap of 1.66m.
Sherwood and Hopkins were the joint girls team captains and their achievements helped the intermediate girls team finish third in their category team competition.
Other top eight-placed athletes included Dylan Menhennet from John Kyrle HS (Ross-on-Wye) with a PB throw of 41.91m in the junior boys hammer competition.
Another junior boy, Mandras Kyeremeh, from Bishop of Hereford Bluecoat School, qualified for the 100m final and finished eighth in a time of 11.69s. These are fantastic achievements for boys who are relatively new to the sport.
Boys team captain Dan Banks (Tudor Grange Academy, Worcester), in his sixth and final English Schools T&F Championships, qualified from his heat in a time of 11.21s to reach the semi-finals of the senior boys 100m in which he placed seventh.
In the same age group, George Beardmore, another Worcester athlete (Royal Grammar School) finished sixth in the 2,000m Steeplechase.
There was strong Redditch schools representation in the team, including in the junior boys category in which Luke Richardson of RSA Academy Arrow Vale finished fifth in his 800m heat and Josh Robins of Trinity High was tenth in the 1,500m.
In the junior girls events, Nikita Gotthardt-Mills of Ridgeway Academy was sixth in her 100m heat and her Ridgeway colleague Lily Saxon Ridgeway was ninth in her 1,500m heat.
Matt Griffin of RSA Academy Arrow Vale was fourth in his heat in the intermediate boys 100m hurdles.