87th English Schools Athletic Association Track & Field Championships
Alexander Stadium, Birmingham
Friday 7th & Saturday 8th July 2017
The 87th English Schools track & field Championships were held at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Friday the 7th and Saturday the 8th of July, it is the 4th largest annual athletics event in the world and since its inception in 1925 selection for ‘English Schools’ has been the ultimate aim of every junior and youth athlete throughout the length and breadth of England. The only years the championships were not held were 1940 to 1945 inclusive because of the 2nd World War. In order to be selected athletes have to achieve the set standards for times, height, or distance for their discipline and they are only allowed to compete in one individual event. Fifteen Kingston athletes were selected to represent their County and they all travelled with the team down to Birmingham on Thursday the 6th of July.
Eleven Kingston athletes competed in their event finals and four brought medals back home with Ben Copley winning the gold medal in the discus throw and Alice Barnsdale striking gold in the hammer throw, Ollie Stevenson was the bronze medallist with Alice in the hammer and still with the hammer Shaun Kerry added a bronze medal to the to the gold he won in 2016.
Training partners Ollie Stevenson and Alice Barnsdale were in action on day one in the qualifying competition for Saturdays Senior girls hammer final and they were drawn in separate pools. Alice threw a new PB of 56.02 metres adding 11 centimetres to her old best to win Pool A and Ollie was 3rd in Pool B where she threw 50.56 metres which saw both girls comfortably qualifying for the final. Going in to the final Alice Barnsdale had not won a medal at ‘English Schools’ where she had made her debut in 2014 she had also competed at the event in both 2015 and 2016 and her highest finish was the 4th place she had won last year at Gateshead, on the other hand Ollie Stevenson had been the silver medallist in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and was hoping to collect another medal this year. It was a very competitive final with 6 of the 12 girls in the contest having real medal chances but the two Kingston athletes dug in and they both secured medals, Alice was crowned English Schools Champion with her throw of 55.49 metres and Ollie was the bronze medallist with 53.55 metres.
Ben Copley is an outstanding young athlete he is ranked No. 1 UK in the in the under 15’s discus, No. 4 in the javelin and 14 in the shot he is also competitive on the track, as well as being part of the Hull FC Academy set up. He made his English Schools debut appearance at the 2016 championships where he was the silver medallist and later that year he took the silver medal at the England Athletics track & field championships down in Bedford and he made a clean sweep of the shot, discus and javelin gold’s at this year’s County and County Schools championship meetings. He was one of 22 competitors in the English Schools Junior boy’s discus final which was staged on the Saturday where he pulled out a big new PB of 48.84 metres an increase of 3.13 metres on his previous best to take the gold medal and he finished more than 6 metres ahead of the silver medallist.
Shaun Kerry is another prolific athlete excelling in hammer, shot and javelin who is also a very good 100 and 200 metres sprinter who regularly runs the in 4 x 100 metre relay team in the UK Youth Development league matches. His main event is the hammer throw and he made his English Schools debut at the 2016 event where he was the Junior boy’s gold medallist and was looking to medal again this year although knowing that would be difficult as he was a first year under 17 and would be facing throwers who were a year older than himself and had more experience in the Intermediate boys final. Shaun is a great competitor and he dug deep to put out a big new PB of 60.94 metres 3.65metres further than his previous best which was enough to secure him the bronze medal. Also competing in the hammer final was Will Robinson who had made his debut at the 2015 championships and was now back in the County team he was also in the intermediate boys final, he has not been able to do a lot of training this year but he is big and strong and puts in a lot of effort his best throw of the day was one of 47.43 metres which was not enough to challenge the competition leaders.
Brody Hinson was making his English Schools debut and the Northern indoor silver medallist and 2016 & 2017 County and County schools 100 and 200 metres champion was in action on both days of the championships. He began in Friday’s heats of the junior boys 200 metres running in heat 2 he clipped 3 tenths of a second off his best time taking 2nd place and posting a new PB of 23.03 sec to take him through to Saturdays semi-finals. He was drawn in the first of the semis and his run of 23.18 sec gave him 3rd place and booked his spot in the final where the UK ranked No. 8 ran another outstanding race which saw him clipping another six hundredths of a second off his best time for 5th place and posting another new PB of 22.97 sec.
Libby Wheeler entered the competition in Saturday’s Intermediate girl’s triple jump final, 2017 has been yet another productive year for her in January she won the Northern indoor triple jump title and in February she was the bronze medallist at the England indoor championships, May and June saw her pick up four more medals all of them gold at the County and the County Schools championship meetings. She jumped a new PB of 11.68 metres in the ESAA final an increase of 12 centimetres which gave her a 4th place finish. The jump of 11.68 is a new County and club record and it takes her to 3rd place on the Yorkshire and Humberside all-time under 17 rankings and it is her third successive top 6 placing at English Schools after her 6th place in the junior girls long jump in 2015 and 3rd place in the Intermediate girls triple jump in 2016.
Alanah Thoresby made her debut appearance at the English Schools championships where she was in competition in Saturday’s high jump final, she has been improving throughout this year which has seen her put 14 centimetres on her 2016 best she competed at the Northern indoor and England indoor championships earlier this year taking 8th place at both of the meetings, she won the County schools high jump title and was the silver medallist at the County championships, she cleared a height of 1.54 metres at her first ESAA Championships and gained a lot of useful experience for other major events to come.
Adam Coles got 2017 off to a flying start winning the sprint hurdles bronze medal at January’s Northern indoor championships and on the track he has won both the County and County schools sprint hurdles titles for the third year in succession. His campaign began in Friday’s qualifiers of the Intermediate boy’s 100 metre hurdles where he was drawn to run in the first heat where his run of 14.02 sec saw him finish in 3rd and make safe progress to Saturday’s final where he finished in 8th place running a time of 14.21 sec. Adam was only marginally outside his personal best in the heat’s and performed well above expectation having gone into the event well outside the top 8 in the country.
2017 has seen heptathlete Venus Morgan crowned the Northern indoor combined events champion and she also took an excellent 6th place at the England indoor event, this June she was the silver medallist at the ESAA North East Schools combined events championships. She was in competition at this meeting in Friday’s heats of the Intermediate girl’s 80 metres hurdles where her run of 11.78 sec saw her take 5th place missing the cut for the final. Venus was unfortunate to have both the silver and bronze medallists in the final running in her heat, her time of 11.78 sec would have placed her 2nd in heat 2!
This was Hannah Kynman’s fourth consecutive year at the ESAA championships where she debuted as a junior in 2014 she competed in the heats and semi finals of the Intermediate girl’s 100 metres which were held on the Friday. The County 100 and 200 metre champion was drawn to run in heat 2 where she was a 4th place finisher clipping 0.17 of a second off her old best time to post a new PB of 12.32 sec which saw her progress to the semi finals where she ran in the second race finishing in 7th place and running a time of 12.43 sec which wasn’t enough to qualify for Saturdays final.
Josh Tranmer debuted at the 2014 championships as a junior and this was his fourth consecutive year and his first as a senior. He has held the County and County Schools discus titles for the last 4 years and he was placed 4th at this June’s Northern Championship final. The 2016 bronze medallist was in action in the senior boy’s discus final which was held on the Friday where he threw of distance of 42.38 metres which gave him a 7th place finish.
Jack Perry had made his debut at the 2015 championships where his first round jump of 6.22 metres in the junior boy’s long jump saw him lead the competition throughout every round and secured him the gold medal. He was unable to defend his crown the following year because of a chronic injury problem but he was back this year, this time in the Intermediate boy’s long jump final which was held on the Saturday where his jump of 6.30 metres saw him finish in 10th place.
Holly Adams made her debut appearance at this year’s event where she competed in the junior girls discus throw, she is adept at discus, shot and javelin and is the County and County schools champion in all three and she was also the silver medallist in the shot at this January’s Northern indoor championship meeting in Sheffield. In Friday’s discus final she finished in 8th place and threw a distance of 27.70 metres. This is Holly’s first year in the junior age group and this competition was a good learning experience, next year she will be a stronger athlete and will have a lot more experience under her belt.
Harriet Cannell made her English Schools Championship debut at the 2017 event and the two time County champion and County schools champion was in competition in the Intermediate girl’s javelin final which took place on the Saturday and was contested by a field of 25 athletes. Harriet acquitted herself well and her best throw of the day a distance of 38.89 metres just one centimetre below her personal best performance saw her take a 13th place finish. She has been making steady progress throughout this year and the valuable experience she gained here will stand her in good stead for the competitions yet to come this year.
Sophie O’Hara was in action in Friday’s senior girl’s discus competition, this was her fourth final at the ESAA Championships where she had debuted in 2014, the 5 time County champion and 4 time County schools gold medallist finished in 11th place this year and she threw a distance of 35.24 metres.