English Schools Athletics Association – North Eastern Combined Events Champs
Middlesbrough – Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th June 2017
3 Kingston athletes represented Humberside Schools in the English Schools Athletics Association North Eastern Combined Events Champs in Middlesbrough. They were greeted by blustery conditions and strong opposition with teams from Cleveland, Durham, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. With only the winning team in each age group together with the 2 leading individuals not part of that team to qualify for the national final in Boston in September this was a tough test for all the girls, 2 of whom were making their debut at this level of competition.
The intermediate girls (under 17 years) set the ball rolling with 4 events on the first day of competition in their heptathlon. Reigning Northern indoor pentathlon champion Venus Morgan began her quest to reach Boston with a win in the 80m hurdles, clocking a time of 12.2 sec (773 points on the scoring table). An ongoing shin problem has hampered her progression in the high jump and she was below her best with a 1.50m clearance (621 points) dropping her back to 2nd place overall. Venus then consolidated this position with very good performances in the shot, where a putt of 11.15m collected 605 points and the 200m where she recorded the equal fastest time of the day with her 26.0 sec run adding 776 points to her total. Day 2 began with Venus overcoming run-up problems on the long jump to record 5.23m (623 points) with only 1 other competitor exceeding the 5m mark. The javelin has been the downfall of some of the countries’ best heptathletes at major championships in the past and Venus almost experienced the same fate in the north east. Following 2 foul throws she opted for a safe final effort to add points to her total and threw 17.19m, some 12m short of her best. However the tactics worked and the 237 points she collected maintained a comfortable 2nd spot with a cushion of over 200 points going into the final event, the 800m. Few combined event athletes relish the prospect of 2 laps of the track after completing 6 events but know that positions frequently change as a result of this. Fortunately in this case there was no last minute drama and Venus ran a steady race in the main pack, clocking a time of 2:40.3 (569 points). Her final total of 4,204 although well below her best from last season maintained her 2nd spot behind West Yorkshire’s Rhea Southcott, a member of the winning county team. Venus therefore progressed to the national final as leading individual, where she will be accompanied by her old rival Amelia Bateman (Durham) who scored 3,836 points.
Also competing in the intermediate heptathlon was Becky Chivers. A pupil at Hymers College Becky is the reigning Northern u15 javelin champion and also represented Humberside Schools in the English Schools cross country championships in Norwich earlier this year. The versatile 15 year old began her campaign in her first heptathlon with a 13.8 80m hurdles (588 points) followed by a personal best 1.35m high jump (460 points). A very good first day was completed with 2 further personal bests, 8.45m in the shot (428 points) and 28.8 sec in the 200m (551 points) to give a first day total of 2,027 points for 13th place. Becky opened up day 2 with a long jump of 4.18m (350 points) before moving to her strongest event, the javelin. Here she produced the biggest throw of the competition with a best of 31.59m, her score of 507 points moving her up to 8th place overall. A strong 800m runner Becky scored well in this event with 563 points gained from a time of 2:40.9 giving her a total of 3,447 to maintain her position of 8th, a creditable achievement considering her inexperience in combined events and having a further year as an under17.
In the team competition Humberside finished 2nd, with Ellie Jones (Cleethorpes) being the counties’ 3rd scoring member behind Venus & Becky. Clear winners were West Yorkshire.
Youngest of the Kingston trio was 13 year old Alanah Thoresby. The South Hunsley student only took up combined events this season, winning the county trials in May to earn her place in the team for Middlesbrough. She was disappointed with a time of 14.2 sec in the 75m hurdles, collecting 463 points but then went close to her best in the shot, a putt of 6.39m adding 296 points to her total. Alanah’s specialist event is the high jump, having already been selected to compete in the English Schools Championships in Birmingham in this discipline. In this, the 3rd event of the pentathlon, she set a new personal best of 1.59m (724 points) moving her from 19th to 9th overall. This height also places Alanah 2nd in the Yorkshire & Humberside rankings for the year. Encouraged by this Alanah then produced a long jump of 4.56m (443 points) and rounded off her day with another lifetime best, recording 2:50.4 seconds in the 800m. The 459 points collected for this performance was enough to move Alanah into 6th place, her total of 2,385 points being a personal best and leading Humberside to 3rd place overall, with Anna Cavill (Scunthorpe) 7th and Gabrielle Walker (Cleethorpes) packing well behind her. Durham maintained their tradition of producing good strength in depth in this age group to take the team title and qualify for the national final with 2 South Yorkshire athletes taking the individual spots for Boston.