ATHLETICS: Gold for Princethorpe student

Annabelle Pask
Annabelle Pask

Annabelle wins national heptathlon championships

Following in the revered footsteps of Jessica Ennis-Hill, Princethorpe College Heptathlete star Annabelle Pask swept the board at the English Schools’ Athletics Association’s National Combined Events Championships by winning the senior ladies’category. This elevates the Godiva Harrier’s U20 national ranking to third behind Morgan Lake and Olivia Montez-Brown.

Annabelle Pask with her certificate and medal

Annabelle Pask with her certificate and medal

Securing a Championship total of 4918 points has made the long hours of training all the more worthwhile as Pask, now fully recovered from an ankle injury, is feeling on top of the world.

The two day event held at Bedford’s International Stadium on September 19/20th began with an excellent 100m hurdles, a favoured discipline, where Pask ran clear of the 34 deep field to win in a time of 14.70secs. A confidence boosting high jump of 1.65m proved to be a real leap of faith with Annabelle tentatively returning to a right footed take off. This proved a wise move giving her a 2cm personal best.

Warwickshire Team Manager Gwil Price commented: “The all-important 1.65m clearance palpably changed Annabelle’s demeanour. She suddenly became an athlete with a ‘can-do’ attitude.” Aiming for an 11 metre shot Pask dropped just 5 centimetres before having a hurried 20-minute turnaround to set up her blocks for the 200 metres.

“This wasn’t ideal preparation for me,” Annabelle explained. “I thought I had half an hour but after 20 minutes I had the call that the girls were on the line. My lane draw wasn’t good either so to come out with 26.35secs was fair all things considered.”

On track for gold

On track for gold

With a 100-point lead at the end of day one the second day was all about holding things together. Beginning with a secure long jump of 5.46m under her belt Pask then went on to mimic fellow GB star Katarina Johnson-Thompson by pulling out an almighty final jump only for it to be given the red flag by the most minute of measurements.

“I was gutted about that because I knew that with that distance I could have edged nearer to a total score of over 5000 points but I had to put it behind me and focus on the javelin.”

Without having thrown over 30 metres all season, Pask was hoping that a recent session with GB javelin coach Mike McNeil would pay dividends. “Mike had tweaked a few things including my run up and foot plant. It made all the difference as each of my throws went over the thirty metre mark with my final throw securing another pb at 32.67metres.”

With almost certain victory at her fingertips as event seven, the 800 metres dawned, Annabelle admits to losing some focus. “I tried hard to stick with the leading pack but in the final 100 metres my legs just went.” Her time of 2.32.09 mins was still enough to take the national gold with a margin of 116 points.

Jubilant in victory

Jubilant in victory

Princethorpe College Director of Sport Neil McCollin celebrated Annabelle’s exciting victory. “To put it bluntly, she is a star. She combines her A’ Level studies alongside training and produces the goods both in the classroom and on the athletics field. She is a class act.

“Annabelle is aiming to win a sports’ scholarship to study Bio-Medical Engineering at Stanford University, California, so this recent result will surely put her in contention for achieving this next step in her career.”