English Schools Bronze for Bennett

Alice Bennett was the latest athlete to win a medal at the English Schools National Championships, scooping a Bronze medal in the Inter girls 800m. This is an improvement on her 4th place finish in 2021, and is the first podium finish for Bennet in this most prestigious of competitions, being held again this year at Sports City in Manchester.


Iconic setting of the Sports City Track 


Bennet qualified on the Friday with her heat when she finished second in an automatic qualifying spot. It was an anxious moment for Bennet, as she and the current leader we’re both letting off approaching the finishing line not aware that another athlete was charging them down. Bennett just out dipped her rival as third place stormed through to take the win on the line. Bennett went through just 0.01 second ahead of her rival with a valuable lesson learnt in managing qualification.


In the final the following day, Bennett’s plan was to let the stand out U17 athlete Phoebe Gill run her own race for the first 600m & do battle with the rest of the field over the final 200m. Gill not only sits ahead of UK No2 Bennet by nearly 4 seconds, she also ranks 2nd overall in the U20 AG, with athletes 4-5 years older.  


The race went as planned with Bennett sitting in 2nd place throughout and controlling the race within a race, kicking powerfully with 100m to go after stretching the field in the back straight, Bennett was neck and neck with Rotherham’s Catlin McCloy but just didn’t have the legs to hold 2nd place. Bennett was disappointed to let the Silver slip away, but taking into account her build up which was severely hampered by her GCSE’s she was content to made the podium.


Alice Bennett (57) with a brilliant performance to win her first medal at an English Schools Championship


Elsewhere the members of the MD squad found the going tough in what is the most competitive event for school age children to be found anywhere. Jemima Davey was in a brutal heat with the Junior Girls 1500m, Davey making her English Schools Debut ran well but competing with girls a full year older she found the going tough finishing 10th in 4:47.43 and sadly not progressing to the final.


Junior Girls Maggie Gancheva & Chelsie Locker both also experiencing English Schools for the first time put in respectable performances in their 800m heats but sadly finishing out of the qualifying places with the former in 2:21.29 & Locker in 2:24.72.


The sole male representative was Dylan White competing as a bottom year U17 in the 400m, his first taste of English Schools. White, a Middle Distance athlete ran well keeping pace with the group for 250m, but the experienced 400m athletes surged away on the home straight with White finishing out of the qualifying spots in 53.46.


All Athletes making their English Schools debuts are to be congratulated for selection and everyone will take away a huge amount away for future years on the super high levels required to make the finals.


Congratulations to Alice on her first English Schools medal, and for everyone who competed at the Championships.