English Schools Track & Field Championships
13 & 14 July 2018, Birmingham

The English Schools Track & Field Championship is the largest athletics competition of its kind in the world with over 1800 athletes competing in 101 events. Athletes qualify by obtaining the entry standard at their Schools County championship which took place last month. Lancashire’s was at Blackpool when 19 Preston Harriers athletes qualified, to make up nearly half of the 40 strong Lancashire Schools team.

Preston Harriers’ emerging hurdles star Jasmine Jolly was the clear winner in the under 17 girls 300 metres hurdles, equalling her lifetime best time of 42.0 seconds to claim gold. Jasmine had recently returned from a brilliant 5th place representing GB in the 400m hurdles at the European under 18 athletics championships in Gyor Hungary, recording a personal best of 59.79 and this at only 16 years old. Nathan Dunn battled hard in the 3000m under 20 boys event. At the bell with 400m to go he was third. He made an effort down the back straight and moved into 2nd with 3rd placed Joshua Cowperthwaite of Cleveland fighting hard. Entering the final 100m metres both athletes battled for the silver medal to the line with Nathan beaten by 0.2 seconds, 8.28.46 to 8.28.65, and collecting the bronze medal.

Will Walmsley, a new jumping talent with only 6 weeks at the club and 4 competitions behind him, acquitted himself well to jump a lifetime best of 5.96m and finish 8th in the under 15 boys long jump final. Multi-talented Harry Burrow set a personal best of 11.54s in the heats of the 80m hurdles (under 15 boys) to progress to the final, where he ran 11.58s to finish 8th. Fellow hurdler Taylor Jacob just failed to make the final in the same event but set a time of 11.62s finishing 3rd in his semi-final. Ed Coles has made great strides this year and ran a lifetime best of 15.19s in the under 20 boys 110m hurdles, finishing 4th in his semi-final.

In the under 20 age group, Charlotte Crook and Leon Stubbs both finished 8th in their finals in the 1500m (4.35.75) and 400m (49.96s.) respectively. In the field the following athletes made the finals: Macy Noblett (under 15 girls’shot, 9th with 10.18m), Alex Bernstein (under 15 boys’ hammer, 10th  with 53.99m), James Lupton (under 15 boys’ discus, 12th with 36.67m) and Harvey Noble (under 17 boys’ long jump, 14th  with 6.07m). In the highly competitive under 20 boys’ 200m, Josh Leatherd made the semi-final running 22.84 for 8th. Alesha Azonubi ran 13.25 in the heats of the under 15 girls’ 100m.

In the 800m events, under 17 boy Liam Blackwell ran 1.58.93, under 17 girls Annie Duffy and Darcey Lonsdale recorded times of 2.16.3 and 2.21.51 respectively, and under 15 girl Abigail Earnshaw finished in 2.17.6.    Kian Davis ran 3.56.27 in the under 20 boys’ 1500m.

Alexander Stadium will be the venue for the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and next year’s English Schools’ championship in July will be the last match before the stadium is refurbished.