It was a ‘Super Saturday’ for Sussex with two more gold medals and seven additional bronzes at the English Schools’ Championships in Birmingham.
It brought Sussex’s total podium places to a magnificent 15 with a final tally of four gold, two silver and nine bronze medals. In addition the Junior Girls team won the Championship Shield as the highest points scorers for top eight finishes and the Junior Boys were second in their category. Overall this was Sussex’s best English Schools Championships result in recent history.
After qualifying with ease on Friday, the Sussex Schools’ Long Jump champion Cleo Tomlinson (U15) was competing on Saturday morning in near perfect, if warm conditions. Tomlinson has been improving all season and she leapt a 17-centimetre personal best and Sussex record of 5.70m to hold off pre-Champs favourites Lydia Smith (5.62m in 3rd) and Ella Rush ( 2nd with 5.69m) by just one centimetre.
Later in the day Boys team captain Daniel-James Thomas led by example and added 1.3 metres to his personal best, launching the shot out to 17.85m in the Senior Boys (U19) competition - to win gold by a ridiculous margin of 2.5 metres and set a new County record.
There were no more silvers on Saturday but there was a flurry of bronze medal successes, many of them set up from initial qualifying rounds the previous day.
Last year’s Junior Boys Long Jump Champion – Adam Lindo- moved up to the Inter Boys age group (U17) and again managed to bag a medal with an excellent personal best leap of 6.90m.
Another champion from 2017 in a new age group was Ben Hawkes in the Senior Boys hammer. Unusually for Hawkes – who has consistently thrown 60m + this year - he was below par on the day with a best of 59.88m however, this was still more than good enough for third place.
In the Junior Boys javelin Luke Twigger threw a 2.5 metre PB and slipped over 50m with 50.05m for a well-earned bronze.
Senior and Girls team captain Emily Robinson, has competed in five English Schools’ Championships initially in the javelin and four times in the discus. Her highest placing previously had been sixth. In this, her last year, Emily defied her national ranking of 12th to pull out a personal best of 39.94 metres for the bronze medal and possibly one of the biggest smiles of the day.
Saturday is always track final day and it is great accomplishment to get that far. Sussex athletes did not disappoint and burnt up the tarmac.
Junior Boy Timi Esan ran an 11.40s PB in the 100m final to take the bronze medal.
First year Inter Poppy Oliver has moved up from the short hurdles to 300mH this year and the switch paid off. She ran a controlled race and personal best of 43.52s for third place.
Junior Boy Aaron Duncan has dominated the Sussex middle distance scene throughout 2018. He loves to front run but he held back and bided his time in the 800m Junior Boys race, before adding a burst of speed in the home straight to overtake several athletes and secure a bronze medal in 2:01.15.
Four more Sussex athletes just missed out on podium places; Dillan Tierney achieved 3.35m national standard in the Junior Boys Pole Vault, Moyo Sargent was 4/100ths behind the third placer in the Inter Boys 400m in a time of 49.97s. Jamie Lambert in his last English Schools was delighted with his PB and highest ever ESAA placing with 53.95s in the 400m Hurdles and Grace Vans Agnew ran a PB of 63.42s in the Senior Girls 400m Hurdles race. This event had a dramatic ending, as her Sussex teammate Jessica Lambert looked set to medal before tripping metres from the line.
There were three more individual fifth places on Saturday – all of them in hurdles races - and one in the 4x100m relay. U15 Seb Wallace ran 11.46s in the 80mH after an earlier PB of 11.37s in his heat. First year Inter Girl Abi Packham was fifth in the 80mH final in 11.56s just ahead of Katie Bristowe who was sixth in 11.73s. Pyers Lockwood ran a PB of 57.70s in the Inter Boys 400mH and the Junior Boys relay team ran a national standard of 44.68s.
Louis Goffin leapt out to a PB of 13.62m for sixth place in the Inter Boys Triple Jump, the same position as Kelsey Sutherland in the Inter girls event where she jumped 11.56m. Holly Turnbull, in her first English Schools threw a javelin PB of 36.58m in the Junior Girls competition.
Sussex had an unprecedented three athletes in the final of the Junior Girls Long Jump which Tomlinson won. Ruby Jerges was seventh with a PB of 5.32m (and first year Isabella Lehtinen was 11th). Sussex Cross Country champion and triathlete Beth Cook was overtaken in the last 150m of the 1500m posting a time of 4:42.31 for seventh.
After a 25.60s 200m heat on Friday Ruby Anning was eighth in the Junior Girls final in 25.68s, as was Natasha Clarke in the Junior Girls Pole Vault with 2.55m.
Every athlete who was selected to compete for the county team has achieved or surpassed a tough qualification standard. They are amongst the leading young athletes in the country and there were many other fine performances and personal bests from our athletes across the two days. Special mention to Bailey Wright, SB 100m and Max Brazier IB 400m who made their respective finals but had to pull out with injuries before their races.
After 101 finals in ‘Group A’ Sussex came 5th with 257.50, just half a point behind fourth placers Hertfordshire. Essex were the overall winners of the Broadbridge Trophy with an aggregate total of 414 from Surrey’s 341.50 and Kent’s 335.50.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work put in by the clubs and coaches around the county and by the Sussex School Team Leader Judy Lasis and all the team managers who worked tirelessly across the three days of travel and competition. A BIG THANK YOU to Judy, Leanne, Sue, Hannah, Julia, Trevor, John, Cam and Karl.
Full results are available on the English Schools website and on Po10 and TOPS