Harriers at Essex Schools Track and Field Championships

On Saturday 8 June, twenty junior athletes from Harriers Athletics Club represented North East Essex at the Essex County Schools 88th Track and Field Championships 2019, held at Chelmsford Athletic Centre. Participants were vying for team selection to compete at the prestigious English Schools Championships in July.

One of the earliest competitors to take on the challenge was Sean Emeka-Ugwuadu. A recent transferee, Sean has proved himself invaluable to the EYAL team and regularly scores highly in both Long and High Jump as well as sprints.  For the Championships he could only compete one event and was selected for Junior Boys Long Jump. In miserable conditions he lead the field until the very last round where he was outdone by the eventual winner and had to settle for Silver with a best of 5.59m.

Defending Junior Girl Hammer Champion, Olivia Simon, who has consistently thrown entry standard distances since last summer.  Sadly, she was unable to pull off a legal and much desired Big One to reach National Standard, but in very windy conditions she was still the clear lead with a best of 38.82m, to re -claim her championship standing and maintain her top ten UK ranking. Hot off the presses: Olivia selected for English Schools

Also competing in the morning were Inter Girl Chanel Mba and Inter Boy Vic Chima in the Triple Jump.  With the wind whipping up the sand, Mba used her strength well to achieve a great PB (10.32m) for a fabulous Silver Medal. Chima, despite adding an impressive 63cm to his PB to get a best of 12.49m it was not enough for a podium placing.

George Lavender opened up his summer season with a heavier weight to contend with and did himself proud by breaking the 40m mark in the Intermediate Boys Javelin competition to finish just outside the medals with a best of 40.30m.

Top scoring Harrier, Jakub Walcecki continued to show his latent potential in the High Jump and in conditions not usually conducive for jumping, he produced his best leap ever by soaring over 1.71m for a great Bronze medal placing.

Throughout the wet morning, heats of track races had been taking place; Junior Girl Eve Hood ran a superb 800m to bring her time down to 2.36 and although qualifying for a place in the final – another competition in Birmingham meant she had a train to catch (where she took a great Bronze medal in a national Trampoline Competition).  Olivia Gillon enjoyed her heat of the Junior Girls 200m, and as one of the youngest competitors took a good third place in 29.31s but had to settle for just the one race. Georgie Smith running the 100m did well to catch the field after a slow start to finish in fifth place and in the older age category Libby Sutton finished in fourth place in her heat in 13.59s. At his first ever Schools Champs Joe Clarke ran really well in the IB 100m to clock 12 dead into a -2.9 head wind to finish in third and narrowly missed out on a fastest loser slot.  

During the afternoon session Colchester Harriers saw several of their young athletes competing against the best in Essex, even though the rain had stopped the wind was stilling swirling around the stadium causing problems for many of the competitors.

First up in the final of the Inter Girls 300m Madeleine Clayton – giving several of the girls a year in the age group, running in lane 1 Madeleine went hard from the gun keeping the girls on her outside in her sights she finished a creditable 5th in 45.9s.

Next, was Milly Presland in the Inter girls 1500 S/C unfortunately the other competitors in her race failed to turn up leaving Milly to run alone. With a win guaranteed Milly took off from the gun still looking for a time, this being her second ever Steeplechase, she crossed the line in 5.28.87 a new personal best and club record, a time which was just 5 seconds off  the entry standard for the English Schools and 9 seconds off the CBP.

Over the next hour saw four Harriers contend for sprint medals.  Having won his heat in 11.52 (-2.1 w), in the IB 100m final, Jimi Sijuwola had to settle for sixth place, once again hampered by a niggling hamstring.  Maya Rattray grabbed a slot and in a fierce battle which saw an almost blanket finish for the inter girls 100m final  – she had a tense wait to hear the final result, finishing in 5th place and just missing out on the medals, clocking the same time as her heat (12.94s) into a -2.3w. Victoria Utti competed the IG 200m and despite not being a specialist sprinter found herself in the final alongside team mate Shanii McLean.   McLean, who was Junior Girl Champion last year,  ran an excellent race as one of the youngest, she controlled her nerves and finding her competitive edge, she finished the 200m strongly, pipping a number of the favourites back into the silver & bronze positions to once again be crowned Essex Schools Champion in a new PB of 25.70s.

Sam Shippey having qualified comfortably went to the line of the 400m in lane 6 knowing he had the Essex Champion two lanes inside him, Sam set off at good pace but was caught by  the 200m mark, not losing his head and having the Essex Champion in his sights, Shippey finished strongly edging out the champion for a brilliant Gold and a new PB 50.78, achieving the entry standard for English Schools in July.

Ending the day on a high was Aliyah Soames; freshly confident from her outing with the EYAL team last week, Soames looked at ease in the Inter Girls Javelin match and produced a best throw of 32.74m – adding a fantastic 2.27m to smash her PB and Club Record.  A bronze medal adding the icing on the top.

Unfortunately, Harvey Daniels was forced to withdraw leading up to the competition due to contracting Tonsillitis.

Fingers crossed Essex selectors will be taking some Harriers up to Birmingham with them in July. Before then, these athletes will get another chance to race as they take on the District Sports at the Garrison in just a couple of weeks as well as the EYAL on 7th July in Cambridge.