English Schools Athletics Association
Combined Events Championships
Princess Royal Stadium – Boston, Lincolnshire
Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September 2017
Lincolnshire Schools Athletics Association were the hosts of the annual English Schools Combined Events Championships with Boston’s Princess Royal Stadium proving to be an excellent venue despite rather inhospitable weather for much of the weekend. Around 250 of the countries’ most talented young athletes aged between 13 and 19 were on show with Kingston upon Hull’s Venus Morgan being the areas only representative, representing Humberside Schools AA in the intermediate girls (15 – 17 years) heptathlon. This was the third year Venus has competed in these championships, having been placed 9th in the junior pentathlon in 2015 and 13th in her first year in the intermediate heptathlon 12 months ago. She has already achieved considerable success as a combined eventer in 2017, having won the Northern indoor pentathlon title in March and taking the silver medal in the Northern heptathlon event last month. She also took 6th place at national level in both these events.
A top class field of 46 athletes started the 7 events of the heptathlon in wet, windy and cold conditions with the 80m hurdles. Venus was close to her best, clocking 11.84 sec to start her campaign with 821 points. Such was the standard of the event that this only placed her 9th with national record holder for the hurdles event, Pippa Earley (Surrey) heading the field with 11.17 sec (919 points). The high jump has been a problematic event for Venus this season but Boston saw her produce a seasons’ best of 1.56m (689 points) dropping her down to 12th place overall. An outstanding clearance of 1.74m saw Nottinghamshire’s Emily Race move into 141 point lead after 2 events. The shot almost caused Venus a major problem but she managed to pull out an effort of 10.75m (579 points) in the final round after 2 well below par putts earlier in the competition. This brought her back to 10th place with the lead changing yet again, Olivia Dobson (Devon) producing an outstanding effort of 14.14m to take a slender 6 point lead into the final event of day one. Here Venus produced her 2nd fastest ever 200m with her time of 25.77 adding 817 points to her total, leaving her on 2906pts, her best ever at this stage of a heptathlon. She also moved up to 8th place overall, with Emily Race now back in front with 3236 pts – a lead which she was going to hold for the rest of the competition.
The early fog cleared just in time when the second day of competition began but the athletes were still faced with a chilly September morning when the long jump began. Keen to capitalise on her good first day Venus produced an outstanding effort of 5.61m (732 pts) only 1cm less than her personal best. This moved her up to 7th place despite a number of the leading contenders producing top class jumps. The javelin often changes the complexion of the heptathlon considerably but this time all the leading contenders came through the event unscathed with valid throws to their credit. Venus threw a seasons’ best of 27.40m (427 pts) dropping her back to 9th place. Despite this she was in sight of a big lifetime best score with only the 800m to come. Running in a heat comprising of the leading 9 athletes Venus again produced one of her best races with a time of 2:32.16 adding 666 points to her total. This gave her a final score of 4,731 points for 8th place, 236 more than her previous best and well in excess of the highly sought after English schools standard award for the event.
Such was the overall standard of the event that the 3 medallists moved into the UK all-time top 10 rankings for the event with Venus also entering the list in 43rd place to conclude a highly satisfactory season and give her a well earned break from training before commencing preparations for the indoor campaign when she will move into the under 20 age group where heavier throwing implements and higher hurdles await.