English Schools Championships - Birmingham
Friday 11th & Saturday 12th July 2014
The club representatives at the English Schools Championships returned home from Birmingham with three individual medals – gold, silver and bronze - plus a relay gold to add to the club's ever-growing roll of honour. And all three will compete for the England Schools' team in Cardiff on Saturday in the Home Countries International.
Michelle Hughes was the top ranked entrant going into these championships and didn't disappoint fourth as she took Intermediate 300m gold in a new personal best and club record of 43.25s. Michelle had set down a marker in Friday's heats with a near PB after a messy run but got it right when it counted in Saturday's final but had to withstand a strong finish from Hampshire's Devon Brimecome to earn her place in the England team in next weekend's Schools International in Cardiff.
Tom Pitkin had received a late call up to the county team for his first English Schools' Championships and more than justified his selection for the Intermediate 400m hurdles event with a huge personal best in his heat to make the final as second fastest qualifier to set up a medal chance. His final run wasn't as fluid and after clattering the final hurdle Tom's pure grit saw him home in the silver medal position to join training partner Michelle Hughes in the English Schools' team for Cardiff International.
Modupe Shokunbi had last year won junior girls' 100m silver and she stepped up effortlessly into the Intermediate age group to repeat a podium place and win England selection. In Friday's heat she had dipped under 12 seconds for the first time with her 11.97s heat winning run, and on Saturday, running into a headwind was just edged into bronze medal position by 1/100th of a second as the winner Surrey's Imani Lansiquot who broke the championship best and now heads off to the World Junior Championships.
Discus pairing Rachel Forder and Georgie Taylor had both previously struck gold at these championships and had high hopes of a podium place ain the senior event as they were ranked second and third of those competing. But both returned empty handed in a tense competition held in the outdoor throwing area with Rachel finishing fourth and Georgie sixth. Both have a final shot at gold next year.
George Hadler signed off with a distinguished set of results at these championships with fifth place in the senior 400m hurdles improving his season's best in both heat and final after a disappointing year. There was some consolation however as he joined Robbie Clarricoats, Khai Riley La-Borde and Joseph Dewar in the gold medal winning relay quartet.
Duane Jibunoh was also short of his best in the senior discus and after two no throws scraped into the final eight but was unable to challenge for a podium place on the day.
Pole vaulters Mercy Gutteridge and Ed Thompson have both been in club record-breaking form this season and hoped to go even higher in their first National schools championships. Both acquitted themselves well as Mercy was eight in the senior girls' event and Ed was sixth in the boy's competition and both vowed to work hard to nail a podium place next year.
100m : 3rd Modupe Shokunbi 12.07s (heat 1st 11.97s PB);
300m Hurdles 1st - Michelle Hughes 43.25s PB & Club record (Heat: 1st - 44.33s)
Discus 4th - Rachel Forder 42.25m; 6th - Georgie Taylor 41.99m
Pole Vault: 9th - Mercy Gutteridge 3.20m
400m Hurdles : 2nd Tom Pitkin 55.25s PB (Heat: 55.27s PB)
400m Hurdles 5th George Hadler 55.37s (Heat: 55.70s)
Discus 8th - Duane Jibunoh 46.28m;
Pole Vault: 6th - Ed Thompson 4.30m