Athletics: Runners-up spot boosts Chichester boys

Olivia Wiseman leads the 1,200m  Picture by Lee Hollyer
Olivia Wiseman leads the 1,200m Picture by Lee Hollyer

Chichester’s youngsters travelled to Horsham for the second round of the Sussex Under-15 League in what is proving to be the most competitive season in the league’s ten-year history.

As with the first fixture in June, there were no fewer than five league records set during the evening with many Sussex athletes on show achieving rankings in the UK top 20 for 2014.

Chichester’s boys capped a fine evening by edging into he runners-up spot behind an impressive Crawley team and were delighted to finish ahead of East Grinstead, Horsham and Haywards Heath.

A lack of numbers hampered the girls’ points total to leave them in fifth place.

With A-string wins very hard to come by, the Chichester athletes stuck to their task with a number having their second competition in as many days, having been in action in the West Sussex West schools championships the day before.

Two of these were responsible for the club’s best showing of the evening in the boys’ 800m. Ben Collins putting up another impressive time of just outside 2min 15sec for the runner-up spot while Leo Stallard moved down from his usual 1,500m distance to set a personal best of 2.23 to win the B string.

Collins showed his speed to gain a second place in the B 300m, partnering Brandon Bell who dipped under 40 seconds again and was beaten only by a Crawley A-string runner whose 36.5sec clocking puts him in the UK top five for the event.

Bell had earlier joined up with Alex Austin to show good speed over 100m and 200m but both Chichester athletes had a fight on their hands against the level of competition where all five runners in the 100m A string race recorded 12.5 seconds or less.

Ben Morton and Benedict Robinson made a good pairing in the 1,500m with Morton again close to 4.50.

In the field events, improving Jack Blackman scored good points in high jump, long jump and javelin supported well by Stallard, Morton and Collins.

To round off a well-balanced squad, the throws pairing of James Gillett and Michael Ackerman produced their usual solid display in shot, discus and hammer with their best result a near-maximum in the hammer.

It was in the throws where Chichester’s girls excelled with Kerrie Pafford, awarded the prize for best girls’ field athlete at the WSW schools event, achieving two close second places in shot putt and discus behind a very strong East Grinstead thrower.

Just over eight metres in the shot was followed by a 20.70 discus throw, identical to the best throw of her rival. Second-best throws had to be taken into account with the East Grinstead athlete just edging Pafford into second place.

Natalie Czik backed up well in the discus after joining Pafford to score good points in the hammer.

On the track Grace Wills showed a spirited turn of speed to record just over 2.37 in the 800m. She was pipped for the win by less than a second but went on to produce a sub 50-second clocking in the 300m.

Rachel Laurie stuck to her task well in the 100m and 200m and was near her best in both races but had to contend with a new league record in her 200m with a fine 26.3sec run from the Crawley athlete.

The under-15s have one west-division match remaining on Friday, July 25, when the club hope to finish on a good note with a full team.

Then there is the Sussex grand final to look forward to on Friday, September 5 where the top ten teams from the west and east divisions will do battle.

Sussex Under 13 and Under 11 Championships

There was a fine run from Olivia Wiseman in the Sussex under-13 track and field championships.

She continued her fine season’s form to win the 1,200m in a time of 4min 11sec, leaving the rest of the field in her wake to finish with a comfortable winning margin of six seconds.

In the same event, Fleur Hollyer had a good all-round day to finish 13th in the under-11 quadrathon where all competitors face the challenge of two track events and two field events in a day.

English schools championships

Three local athletes travel to Birmingham this weekend for the highlight of the schools summer athletics calendar, where they will do battle with the best athletes in the country in the All England Schools Championships.

All three are in the intermediate age group and have got to this stage by taking part in their own area championships, then going on the Sussex schools event in the middle of June and also achieving the national qualifying times during the season.

Lavant House School pupil Jess Breach set down a marker for the 80m hurdles early in the season and briefly claimed the UK No1 spot.

She has kept her form well to be rewarded with another personal best at the Sussex schools event although having to settle for runners-up spot, so will be one of two Sussex athletes in this event.

Sophie-Anne Haigh from Bishop Luffa will be tackling the 200m after a fine season’s sprinting over 100m and 200m and will also be joining Breach in the 4x100m relay in a strong Sussex quartet.

Toby Harries, a pupil at Brighton College, will be contesting the intermediate boys’ 200m having surprised all those who watched his performance at the Sussex championships with a scintillating win in a time of 21.8 seconds.

Harries started his athletics career at Westbourne House School in Oving and has fought to overcome injuries over the last couple of years to emerge as a real contender for a place in the final at Birmingham.

* Nathalie Godden has been selected to represent Hampshire in the senior girls’ heptathlon at the English schools combined events championships in September in Boston, Lincolnshire.

In the West Sussex West schools championships at Portsmouth, Alyssa White’s high jump of 1.40m was a personal best and an excellent jump for a 12-year-old. She also won the 200m.