REDDITCH pupils played a key role in the success of the Hereford & Worcester Schools’ Athletics Association team at Saturday’s prestigious Inter-Counties Schools’ Track & Field event in Birmingham.
The competition at the Alexander Stadium is better known as the Mason Trophy and featured athletes selected to represent their county based on their performances in recent competitions, in particular the Hereford & Worcester Schools’ County Track & Field Championships the previous Saturday.
Nine other counties were competing – Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Shropshire.
The H&W team finished a creditable fifth with 339 points, with West Midlands emerging victorious with 392 points.
For some athletes, it is a chance to achieve/reachieve an English Schools’ Entry Standard (ES) ahead of the forthcoming selection for who will represent H&W at the National Schools’ Championships in Birmingham in July.
H&W athletes won seven gold, seven silver and three bronze medals, whilst another seven were close to a podium finish in fourth place.
The junior boys (school years 8 & 9) were by far the most successful group, achieving 109 points, placing them first among the ten counties. Mandras Kyeremeh (Bishop of Hereford Bluecoat School) won gold in the 100m, with his team-mate Callum Brassington-Meehan (Pershore HS) second.
Nathan Biggs (North Bromsgrove HS) took the 200m gold, whilst Ben Brinsdon (Heathfield Knoll School, near Wolverley) took 300m gold. These four athletes combined to win the junior boys’ 4x100m relay, making it sprint domination for Hereford & Worcester schools.
Matt Burke (Bromsgrove School) matched his achievement last year by finishing second in the hammer. Another Bromsgrove School athlete – Harry Draper-Barr – took silver in the discus, whilst Ollie Smith (Fairfield HS, Hereford) leapt to silver in the high jump.
Josh Robins (Trinity HS, Redditch) took bronze in the 1,500m and another Redditch athlete – Luke Richardson from RSA Academy Arrow Vale – was fourth in the 800m with an ES time of 2m, 03.48s.
Louis Upton (Bromsgrove School) was another fourth-placed finisher in the 80m hurdles.
The junior girls’ team was almost as successful as the boys, finishing a very close second in their age group category. Nikita Gotthardt-Mills (Ridgeway Academy, Redditch) took the 100m gold, with Lily Saxon (also Ridgeway Academy) taking silver in the 1,500m.
Poppy Elton, from Malvern St James, placed fourth in the 800m, achieving an ES time. Lily Fennessy from St Mary’s HS in Hereford was fourth in the javelin and sixth in the discus and Charlotte Colbert (also St Mary’s) came fourth in the hammer.
The best performance in the intermediate boys (school years 10 & 11) category came from the relay team who took gold thanks to Darian Moore (Royal Grammar School, Worcester) Matt Griffin (RSA Academy Arrow Vale, Redditch) Sam Jones (North Bromsgrove HS) and Stewart Greenhalgh (South Bromsgrove HS).
Greenhalgh had already achieved podium success in the 400m event, narrowly missing out on the gold medal. His second-placed time, however, was another ES for this season.
Nathan Kelly (Kings School, Worcester) picked up the shot put bronze and was sixth in the hammer and Kieran Valley from Bromsgrove School was fourth in the discus.
The intermediate girls’ team gained three medals as Danielle Hopkins (The Chase, Malvern) led the way with gold in the high jump and Emma Sherwood (Hagley RCHS) took bronze in the same competition, both with an ES (1.67m and 1.65m respectively). It was a good day for Sherwood who also achieved an ES, placing fourth in the long jump.
Hopkins was fifth in the shot put and Orla Walker (Bromsgrove School) gained another medal this year with silver in the 1,500m steeplechase.
Hopkins and Sherwood were also involved in a successful relay team ES time of 49.6s alongside team-mates Sarah-Jane Ollis (The Chase, Malvern) and Deanna Clarke (Nunnery Wood HS, Worcester).