Several members of Morpeth Harriers were amongst the many athletes from around the country,
in competitive action at the 86th annual All England Schools Track and Field Championships,
held for the second successive year at Gateshead Stadium,
on Friday and Saturday 8th and 9th July 2016.
The Championships had a new sponsor in the form of Sportswear Company New Balance,
who had taken over the mantle that was relinquished during 2015 by supermarket chain Sainsbury’s.
On the track, the clubs best performances over the two days belonged to
Scott Beattie, Kieran Hedley and young Holly Peck,
who was competing in what was her highest profile track event ever.
Despite clocking a new personal best of 8m30.78s in the Senior Boys 3000m,
Beattie unfortunately just missed out on a medal for the second year running,
when finishing fourth to Leicester’s Sam Stevens, who pushed on at the bell
to finish in 8m24.91s from West Yorkshire’s Emile Cairess, with Sussex’s Stephen Ferroni
getting third place ahead of the luckless Beattie, who had given his all throughout the seven and a half lap event,
but had got caught out by the finishing pace when it mattered.
Beattie had also just missed out on a medal at the 2015 Championships,
when competing over the same distance at Intermediate Boys level,
so losing out for a second time was indeed a bitter pill to swallow
for the North East, National and Northern Cross Country medallist.
Having gained qualification by finishing sixth in Heat 2 of the Intermediate Boys 1500m on the first day,
Morpeth’s Kieran Hedley clocked a very similar time to once again finish sixth in the final in 4m05.49s,
behind Hertfordshire’s Jeremy Dempsey, who won in 4m00.08s,
just outsprinting Berkshire’s Matthew Rawlings, and fellow Northumberland athlete Max Pearson,
who on entering the finish straight had looked like a Gold Medal winner.
Pearson turned out to be Northumberland’s only medal winner of the weekend,
taking Bronze for his sterling efforts, and for Hedley to finish only five seconds adrift
was probably the best achievement for Northumberland over the two days of competition.
Running a year young to a good proportion of her opposition in the Junior Girls 1500m Heats,
Morpeth’s Holly Peck could take great pride in finishing ninth in the slightly faster Heat 1,
posting a brand new lifetime best time of 4m52.17s, which took a massive seven seconds off her previous figures.
Also unfortunate not to see himself in a podium place was
Morpeth Harriers exceptionally talented thrower Ruaridh Lang,
who on the day managed a best of 40.37m in the Intermediate Boys Discus.
He was only 62cm adrift of the third placed athlete, that is just over 2ft in old money,
and will certainly feel a little disappointed to lose out in the end after all of the hard work
that he has put in with coach Paul Reed prior to the competition, which figured very high in his aims.
Equally disappointed was fellow club and stable-mate Andrew Knight,
who found that a best of 12.82m only gave him sixth out of seventeen competitors in the Junior Boys Shot Putt.
He was nearly a metre adrift of a podium place, however he did finish well ahead of his
Durham rival Luke Allen, who only managed a best of 11.72m for twelfth place overall.
Despite marginally running a personal best of 52.11s, Morpeth’s Sean O’Hara
went out in the heats of the Intermediate Boys 400m on day one of the championships.
Fellow Morpeth Harrier Matthew Waterfield was also eliminated in the 400m Heats,
having clocked 53.90s, which was outside his personal best.
Two Morpeth Harriers were eliminated in the Senior Boys 1500m.
Joe Armstrong running for Durham and Adam Gibbs running for Northumberland
produced respective clockings of 4m04.11s and 4m06.73s.
David Thomas produced 12.50m in the Intermediate Boys Triple Jump,
which was 41cm short of his personal best, which he had produced
at Morpeth the week before, which only gave him sixteenth place.
Harriet Priest went out in the heats of the Intermediate Girls 300m Hurdles, clocking 49.78s.
Bobbie Griffiths finished sixteenth in the Intermediate Girls Javelin Final, with her best throw of 35.95m.
Charlotte Pickering was eliminated from the Shot Putt competition on her best throw of 11,56m,
which was around 70cm short of the qualifiers for the Final.
Young sprint prospect Jessica Young-Rogers went out in the heats of the Intermediate Girls 100m,
which also went to a Semi Final stage as well as the Final itself.
She clocked 12.62s, which was a fraction adrift of her best.
In her first ever English Schools Championship, Morpeth’s Lottie Hume
finished 17th in the Junior Girls Discus, with her best throw of 25.62m.
Morpeth Harriers provided fifteen athletes in all competing at the Championships,
fourteen of them competing for Northumberland Schools,
with one competing for Durham, probably the biggest number ever from the club.