An incredible day of success saw Lower School athletes finish a record-breaking season by winning an amazing 10 medals at the National Prep School Finals at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.
Director of Athletics, Mr Tref Vandoros tells us more:
“There is nothing like ‘when a plan comes together’ and ‘hard work pays off. If I were to say I was proud of these young aspiring athletes, this would be a major understatement.
The day began early with Harry Dadd taking in deep breaths before the gun going off in the Boys U13 1500m. He set off with ease and grace, but unfortunately left the lead pack to gain too much ground before his strike. A very strong last 400m into a nasty head wind meant they were just out of reach. Another outstanding time of 4min 55s left him arms length from a medal, in 4th place but a very proud effort indeed.
An hour later, Sofia B left the blocks like it was a 400m sprint in the U13 Girls 800m. Without even looking back once, fighting hard for her own PB she crossed the line with second place at least 20m behind her. It was a mighty effort and her body knew full well she had given her all. An outstanding time of 2.23 earned her an almighty Gold.
Charlotte C followed with as much effort and determination in the U14 Girls 800m. It was fast, with the winner crossing in 2.14min. Charlotte finished 6th in her heat, but 7th overall in a very respectable time of 2.32min.
Half an hour later, Alice Smith found herself at the starting blocks of the Girls U13 200m. Determined in every way to prove she had overcome her injury, Alice fought bravely for 4th place, but achieving a PB of 29.09s. Unfortunately for her, this gave her 10th place overall and would not make the final. This was definitely in the best interest of the relay team as running a final in between the relays would definitely be taxing.
Within the same hour, Evie S was at the start of the toughest race of the day. U14 Girls 300m is no walk in the park. With little delay, her long arms and legs fought with every stride to the finish. Fortunately, this is the grand final, meaning times of the heats would be combined and there would not be a repeat race. Giving her all in a time of 43.28 and just 0.3s from the girl in front, the bronze medal was hers, also a PB and a new school record.
However, the highlight of the day had to be the Relays. Both the U13 and U14 Girls had not had the chance to prove themselves and today was just the day to do it. The heats showed exactly what they were both capable. The change overs were sound and there was gritted teeth in every sprint. Both finished 1st in their Heats. Both breaking their own PB and the school records for their age groups. Now the question was, could they both repeat their efforts in the finals.
The U13s set off like they were being chased. Chloe gave them the start that every relay team needed. What a changeover between her and Scarlett Blackman, seamless. Scarlett held her position in the front driving her arms and legs with huge ambition. Blackman to Smith…. Like a dream. They were unstoppable. Alice increased the lead with every stride. Honestly. It looked too good to be true. Something had to go wrong. But it didn’t. Smith to Hirani could not have been better. Definitely, the week’s drilling had worked! Simi took off like a pilot in the RAF. What an effort, what a finish, knocking half a second off their heat time, they secured a very well deserved Gold!!!!
The U14 Girls were seeded 4th in the finals. A very fast 3rd heat had proved that these girls had to pull out all the stops. Sofia began with a bang, and a swift take over to Evie put them in line with 4th place. Evie opened up and closed the gap between them and 3rd.
A perfect change with Emily held their 3rd place but 4th was on their shoulder and with every step, the tension rose. Could the next change make the difference? Cousley, at last, had the baton, and wow, did she fly. She closed heavily on 2nd place, but behind her, there was a flyer from Windlesham. On the line 3 schools crossed at the same time! Who had it? For at least 20mins there was tension and pressure… Oakham… the Bronze medal was theirs. A team PB, a second faster than their Heat and a New School record by half a second. Complete jubilation followed!!!!! What a day to end the athletics season. 8 out of 9 athletes returning with a medal in their pocket! Now that’s what I call ‘Picture perfect’!
NATIONAL QUALIFIERS – BIRMINGHAM 2019
TEAM EAST AREA - NATIONALS JULY 2019
EVIE SMITH - U14 GIRLS 300M & RELAY
CHARLOTT COUSLEY - U14 GIRLS 800M & RELAY
EMILY BURLISON - U14 GIRLS RELAY
MONICA AUGUSTINE-O - U14 GIRLS RELAY
ALICE SMITH - U13 GIRLS 200M & RELAY
CHLOE HINCHLIFFE - U13 GIRLS RELAY
SCARLETT BLACKMAN - U13 GIRLS RELAY
SIMI HIRANI - U13 GIRLS RELAY
SOFIA BARRETT - U13 GIRLS 800M & RELAY
HARRY DADD - U13 BOYS 1500M