TWO thrilling two days of athletics in Gateshead at the 2011 English Schools Athletics Championships saw the largest number of Rugby & Northampton club athletes competing in recent years - perhaps ever.
It is every young athlete’s dream to be selected for their county to compete at English Schools- the best and biggest schools competition in the world. Being there is a fantastic achievement in itself.
With R&N athletes competing on both days, many of them for the first time, there was never a dull moment in both the track and field for the parents and supporters who made the long journey north.
The highlight of the championships was a much deserved medal for Kerry Murch in a very close Intermediate Girls Javelin competition.
With just 57cm separating first to third, Kerry took bronze with a national standard throw of 40.67m.
The Junior Boys were the team of the day with the four R&N athletes adding to the Warwickshire points tally to give them first team place in their category.
The two hurdlers were on top form and produced great pbs, with Lukas Lakin getting through the heats, semis and finals in identical times to take 7th in the final in 11.72.
After a storming run in the heat in 11.73, Luke Bromley narrowly missed out on a final place after a blanket finish in his semi. Timothy Kerr-Chin pulled out a huge leap of exactly 6m and again massive pb and national standard in the long jump to take an impressive 5th place in his second year.
Adam Wright equalled his pb with a brave run in the 800m finishing in 2:06.86.
Talented Northampton runner Rotimi Segun had another good year at the championships against fierce opposition, also running a national standard time of 11.35 in the semi, just outside that in the final taking 8th.
New Northampton talents Cage Boons finished 4th in the triple jump with a huge leap of 12.51m and Joshua Arimoro took 16th in the discus.
In the Junior Girls Simone Ager continued her impressive form, winning her heat in a national standard time of 12.43 and taking 5th in the final in her first year in this age group.
In the javelin Megan Exley continued her successful year, finishing 11th with 30.74m.
With three inter boys qualifying for their counties in the first year; the Inter Boys did themselves proud. Ciaran Wardle and Luke Townsend battled hard against supreme opposition to qualify for the semi-finals. Both boys ran slightly faster times in their heats with Ciaran clocking 22.77 for the 200m and Luke 14.21 for the 100m hurdles.
Distance runner Ben Sutherland came 7th in his heat of the 1,500m in 4:08.44. Northampton’s, Brett Mason, in his first and much deserved English Schools appearance, narrowly missed out on a final place in the 400m hurdles finishing 4th in his heat.
Also qualifying in the long hurdles for the first time, Hannah Scales ran well taking 5th in her heat with 48.27.
In the Seniors Craig Murch and Charlotte Burrows were making their fifth and final appearance. Craig threw an impressive national standard 57.83m to take 6th place in the hammer and Charlotte was 5th in her heat of the 100m in 12.92.
Emily Waugh and Katie Rowe both competed in their third and last championships. Emily took 9th in the 3,000m in 10:15.95 and Katie kept improving her pb to take 6th in the triple jump with a national standard leap of 11.34m. James Wright in his third appearance in sprint hurdles ran a national standard in the 110m event in the heats in 14.68 s taking 7th in the final in his first year.
In her first appearance Gabby Moriarty came 12th in the 1500m steeplechase in 5:37.29s in her first year at this event.
All in all the weekend brought out the best in all the young athletes who went home with many special memories.
Athletes in the bottom two age groups now have to raise their games once again, this time in R&N vests to try and help the R&N team qualify for the UK finals of the Young Athletes League for the fourth year running this weekend in the regional finals at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
The Junior team is going from strength to strength and with improved facilities in Rugby and Northampton is always looking for new talent. See the website: www.randnac.org.
n This summer the club is running AVIVA Star Track holiday courses at both venues on August 8 to 12 at KMLC, Rugby and August 15 to 19 at Sixfields, Northampton. Come and try every event and see if you can be one of our next champions!
n To celebrate one year to go to the Olympics in London the club is participating in the nationwide Open Weekend at the Rugby Track on Saturday July 23 between 10am and noon
Entry is free and athletes young and old of all abilities can participate in events such as the Twisted Pentathlon (scissor high jump, springboard long jump, sprint and sprint again, 300sec dash and balls and spears), 30-minute fitness test, R&N Agility Challenge and Relays
n For more detail on both events see the website www.randnac.org or contact Janet on firstname.lastname@example.org.