16th March 2020
(ESAA) English Schools Cross Country Championships, Sefton Park, Liverpool, 14 March
Olivia Mason (coach: Graeme Mason; county: Cumbria) and Matthew Stonier (Peter Mullervy; Kent) were among the winners at the English Schools Cross Country Championships on Merseyside, both claiming the senior titles.
Mason was a comprehensive winner in the senior girls race, finishing 11 seconds ahead of Molly Canham (Devon), while in the battle for third, Charlotte Alexander (Wayne Vinton; Surrey) came out on top, narrowly pipping Shannon Flockhart (Mark Vile; Cambridgeshire) to the line.
In the senior boys race, Stonier picked up from his win at the Inter Counties on the previous weekend to claim the title, edging it from Joshua Dickinson (Andrew Henderson; North Yorkshire). Stonier, the South of England champion, rounded off a fantastic start to 2020 in which he has won all but one race this calendar year. Nic Harhalakis (Mark Vile; Cambridgeshire) reached the podium after a solid performance, rounding off the top three.
Wiltshire’s Beatrice Wood (Dave Amey) was victorious in the intermediate girls contest, winning from Kiya Dee (Gloucestershire) and Beth Cook (Sussex). In the boys equivalent, Fraser Sproul (Cumbria) won from Louis Small (Kent), while Woody Jerome (Mick Woods; Surrey) held off the challenge of Rhys Ashton (Colin Gemson; Lancashire) and Lewis Sullivan (Suffolk) – all three were separated by just three seconds.
The tightest finish of the day came in the junior girls race (pictured above) as Zoe Gilbody (Nick Hughes; Shropshire) was awarded the victory ahead of Jessica Bailey (Cumbria) after both clocked the same time.
In a dramatic finale following 3000 metres of racing, both athletes lunged for the line in the hope they would gain the all-important advantage. By the narrowest of margins, Gilbody sealed the title, Bailey was given second place, and Sophie Nicholls (Simon Prior; Somerset) claimed third.
In the junior boys event, Ben Peck (Suffolk) was a comfortable winner by 13 seconds, taking the title, while Henry Dover (Suffolk) and William Rabjohns (Mark Pauley; Dorset) secured their spots on the podium in second and third respectively.
England Athletics U15 / U17 Combined Events Championships, Sheffield, March 14-15
There were PBs aplenty at the England Under-15 and Under-17 combined events championships as Dante Clarke (Anthony Mayhew; Herne Hill) and Georgina Mabbott (Gateshead) claimed the Under-15 titles, with the Under-17 crowns going the way of Sammy Ball (Michael Dyer; Reading AC) and Ella Rush (Michael Baker; Amber Valley & Erewash).
Ball and Rush ended their respective heptathlon and pentathlon competitions with personal best scores overall, with Rush improving on her fourth place finish in Sheffield, scoring 3865 to edge out Lucy Robinson (Joe Frost; Stockport Track & Field) and Rhiana Burrell (Pam Rayment; Birchfield) on 3608 and 3543 respectively.
Ball hit new bests in the 60m, 1000m, pole vault and long jump to score 4670 points and take the men’s indoor heptathlon title in style, holding off Djavam Pedro (Sale Harriers Manchester) by 50 points, with Harry Crosby (Andrew Fisher; Winchester), a further nine points back on 4611.
Mabbott’s winning total of 3175 was one point short of her best set last month in Glasgow but a new PB of 1.54m in the high jump and 9.53m in the shot put helped her on her way to the crown. She was pushed all the way by Alice Wilson (Julie Alexander; Team Bath), who ended just one point behind as she took second, with Sophie Lisk (Cardiff Archers) securing a season’s best 3155 for bronze.
Clarke by comparison had an easier ride in the men’s equivalent, setting a 49cm shot put PB to propel himself top of the podium with 2953 points, with Morgan White (Sale Harriers Manchester) 104 points back on 2849. The final podium spot went the way of Reef Page (Jacob Burton; Invicta East Kent) on 2818, also a personal best.