Three of our juniors were selected to compete in the English Schools Combined Events Championships at Exeter on Exeter on 21st and 22nd September. Well done to Darcy Button, Stephen Simmons, and Gracie Wall.
In a magnificent all-round display Stephen Simmons won the English Schools Intermediate Octathlon title. Despite strong winds on Saturday and some heavy showers on Sunday, Stephen focused on each of the eight events determined to make each one count. He did so with devastating effect, setting lifetime personal best performances in seven of them. It is difficult to know which one was the most outstanding highlight.
A PB long jump of 6.61M set him on his way; a disappointing discus (37.33M) did not faze him as he came up with another PB of 43.20 in the Javelin, whilst a two second PB in the 400 metres (51.67sec) saw him take the overall lead.
His second day opened with a win in the 100M hurdles, running a fast, slick race to record 13.18 seconds, the 4th fastest time in the UK this year. An 11 centimetre improvement in his high jump, clearing 1.80M, shocked his rivals, who thought that this might be his Achilles heel.
Another Personal Best in the Shot (13.03 M) saw him going into the last event (1500m) with a lead cut to 42 points and 106 points over his two closest rivals with each second difference in the 1500m worth 6 points. It was not won yet.
Sticking rigidly to a pre determined race pace, he let his rivals go up to ten metres ahead, before reeling them in over the last 500 metres to finish in another personal best of 4 minutes 54.74 seconds, securing a handsome victory by 89 points.
Not only did Stephen win the gold medal and gain selection to represent England in the Home Schools International Pentathlon in November, but will rank number 1 in the UK for 2019.
Meanwhile, Gracie Wall followed her English Schools high jump title in July with her first major Pentathlon championship in the Junior Girls event. The key to success at Combined Events is not necessarily setting a personal best in every event, but being as close as possible in each one of them. This she did exceptionally well. Her Long Jump (4.78M) was a personal best, Her 75M hurdles (11.89sec) was very close and her remaining events (High Jump 1.59M) shot (7.42M) and 800m (2 min 48.22 seconds) were all tolerably close, resulting in a new personal best score of 2755 points. Gracie placed 14th out of 41 competitors and was the highest placed competitor in the lower year of this two year age group. Clearly there is more to come in the future.
In the Intermediate Girls heptathlon competition, Darcy Button was hampered by a leg injury before the start of the event. Nevertheless, she was able to complete six of the seven events, recording 1.50M in the high jump and 10.22 metres in the shot - a huge personal best by 67 centimetres.
Stephen Simmons Inter Boys Octathlon 1st 5346 points* UK Ranking 1
Long Jump 6.61M */Discus 37.33M/Javelin 43.20M*/400M 51.67*/
100m Hurdles 13.18 sec*./High Jump 1.80M*/ Shot 13.03M*/1500m 4m 54.74 sec*
Gracie Wall Junior Girls Pentathlon 14th 2755 points*
75m Hurdles 11.89sec/Shot 7.42M/ High Jump 1.59M/Long Jump 4.78M*/
800m 2m 48.22
Darcy Button Inter Girls Heptathlon
80m Hurdles 13.66sec/High Jump 1.50M/Shot 10.22M*/200m 28.92sec/
Long Jump 4.33M/Javelin 23.89M/