English Schools third title for for Williams!

World schools 800m Champion Emily Williams shrugged off the disappointment of an unfortunate fall in the European U20 trial race and losing out on European U20 selection by the smallest of margins (0.7sec) with a magnificent win at the most prestigious domestic competition, English Schools Track & Field Championships, in the senior girls (U19) 1500m.

This was Williams third consecutive English Schools win following on from championship wins at 800m & 1500m at Inter-Girls (U17) in 2017/18 respectively, a Silver medal at Junior Girls (U15) over 800 in 2016, and consecutive British & Irish SIAB championship wins at 800m/1500m in 2017/18 and cements her place as a schools championship great in the modern era.

Brilliant racing from Emily Williams to win 3rd consecutive title

Williams went into the race the highest ranked athlete and she produced a terrific performance full of maturity to see of a tough challenge from 2018 silver medallist Olivia Mason. Williams immediately hit the front from the gun and took control of the race with a modest 75 opening lap with Mason sat on her shoulder. She continued to control the race until Mason injected some pace with 2 laps to go, Williams responded and sat in until she put in a powerful surge on the back straight to go back to the front again taking control of the race from 600m out, her pre-race intention. Mason tried to kick and take control of the inside lane at the bell which Williams again resisted surging ahead to hold off the challenge, Williams really pushed the pace on the back straight, and in reality the result was never in doubt with Williams always having enough to hold off her rival finishing with a comfortable winning margin in 4:26.04, with Mason again having to settle for silver in 4:26.63.

English Schools 1500m Senior Girls Champion - Emily Williams

Williams was delighted with her win and to take her 4th English Schools title and caps a fine season which begun in earnest in May when she was crowned World schools 800m champion in Croatia. Coach Shane Smith was similarly delighted with her win “Emily has produced a top class performance with a composed race which saw her impose her authority throughout. We discussed the race strategy beforehand and wanted to avoid any repeat of her fall in the U20 European trial race a few weeks earlier. I’m incredibly proud of the way she responded to some setbacks this year with a big performance which highlights her incredible consistency over the past 4 years”.

The 89th English Schools Championships also saw some terrific performances from Harriers athletes with representation from the Sprint/ Throws & Middle distance squads.

Logan Reid, still only in his first season of competitive athletics, was the only athlete from the sprint squad selected to compete in this meeting. Competing in his preferred 100m event in the Intermediate Boys age group, he was drawn in lane 6 in his heat. The slowest athlete in his race had posted a time of 11.29 seconds prior to coming to the event, so there was no option to do just enough to qualify for the next round. He powered through to finish in 2nd place in the race with Berkshire athlete, O’Shillou Johnson, who was also ranked 7th in the UK with Logan going into the championships, pipping him on the line in a time of 10.95 seconds, while Logan recorded a new automatically timed personal best of 10.98 seconds.

His run qualified him for the semi final, as the first 3 athletes in each of the 4 heats were guaranteed places in the semi finals. Logan’s preparation for that race was however, hampered by the fact that his belongings were lost after his heat. Although, they were eventually found, and the time for the semi final was changed to later in the afternoon, he only had a limited amount of time to do his warm up for the next round. Once again drawn in lane 6, he got a decent start but was hampered in his race by a back strain and finished the race in 6th position.

His coach, Ann Inniss-Haycox, said of his performance “Had that incident not happened, I have no doubt whatsoever that Logan would have progressed through to the final. He has had a great season so far and he still has time to put in some more fine performances. I’m so proud of the way that he ran his heat in particular. It was an amazing run!”

Logan Reid in action in his 100m heat finishing in 2nd place

Katie Gibson (Hammer) making her second appearance in the Championships, put in a terrific performance to finish agonisingly just out of the medals in 4th position. Gibson who finished in 9th place in 2018, bettered this with a terrific national standard throw of 45.48, just a few cm off her PB. Katie will no doubt return in future years better for the experience and try to secure a podium finish.

Terrific performance for Katie Gibson in the JG Hammer in 4th place

Bottom year Junior Girl Alice Bennett also making her English Schools debut and in her first track season with the Harriers middle distance squad put in a magnificent performance to progress to the semi-finals. Running a smart race Bennett sat in on the early leaders in her heat, making sure she used her pace to finish in the third automatic qualification place over the final 100m running her second fastest time ever of 2:18.03. In the semi-finals, held just hours later on the same day and with just three to qualify automatically, Bennett ran a terrific race, prominent throughout she repeated her tactic to set on third place and was in third place with 30m to go and just run out of legs to finish in 5th place just .17seconds off one of the fastest loser spots. This was a brilliant experience for Bennett she finished 9th fastest qualifier (which was her UK ranking leading into the championship) and was the second highest placed athlete a year young in her age group, and she will learn a great deal from the championships.

Brilliant debut at English Schools from Alice Bennett in the JG 800m