A brilliant second day at Birmingham saw the Sussex Schools team record one of their best ever English Schools results beating last year’s tally of five gold medals but overall equalled the 2016 total of ten medals.
Despite the loss of three potential medallists this was an excellent result for Sussex on a weekend when there were not any real disappointments and a couple of bonus medals.
Hurdlers Orla Brothers (Millais) and Cameron Fillery (Brighton College) both dominated their events with Brothers always looking in charge in the senior (U19) 400m hurdles were she has not been beaten by British opposition this season. Over the last couple of hurdles the Crawley girl just drew clear of her rivals to win in 59.46s and still looked to have something in hand.
In the senior 110m hurdles final Fillery’s power over the second half of the race saw him shake off the attention of his rivals for a convincing win in 13.76s.
Ben Hawkes (Sion), in the intermediate (U17) hammer throw, like Brothers, has been unbeaten by his British rivals this season and he was in complete charge of his event eventually winning with a fine throw of 68.23m. This effort earnt the Worthing thrower a place in the English School’s team for the Home Countries International match next weekend.
The fourth Gold medal, to add to Friday’s junior (U15) efforts of Adam Lindo and Lizzie Korczak in the junior long jump and javelin throw, was from the third ranked UK under 20 high jumper - Lillie Franks (Collyers) who, as always is a big time competitor and took her first national title with a fine effort of 1.72m.
Sussex achieved just one silver medal when Warden Park’s William Snashall had a brilliant competition to clear 3.45m in the inter pole vault while three Sussex athletes took bronze medals.
Rhys Turner (Collyers), at his final English Schools championships, had just missed a place in the final of the 100m last year, was overjoyed with his senior 200m bronze in 21.51s.
In the intermediate pole vault Natasha Purchas (Burgess Hill Girls), who has had a consistent season cleared 3.60m for her medal while in the junior 75m hurdles Abigail Packham (Imberhorne), who reached the semi-finals last year, challenged for the top spot this year and was rewarded with third place in 11.30s.
Jessica Lambert (Hazelwick) was one of five near misses coming fourth in the intermediate 300m hurdles in 44.42s a placing that was matched by Joe Fuggle (Uplands) in the senior 400m hurdles in 53.61s and Harrison Leach (Warden Park) who threw 44.42m in the inter discus.
In a very close inter 1500m battle it was Thomas Eames (Varndean) who was squeezed out of the medals having to settle for fourth place in 4:01.91s and the same can be said of Bailey Wright (Ratton) who had a brilliant championship coming fourth in the inter 100m in 10.82s.
There were fifth places for Sophie-Ann Haigh (Bishop Luffa) in the senior 200m in 24.88s and Charlie Finnie (Holy Trinity) in the junior shot putt with 13.11m to add to Ivy Spencer’s (Priory) pole vault on Friday while Grace Vans Agnew (Hurstpierpoint) placed sixth in the inter 300m hurdles in 44.92s to add to Emily Robinson’s (Steyning) sixth in the senior discus on Friday.
In all twenty Sussex athletes placed in the top six of their events and that is certainly a pretty good effort.