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 the track, the club’s 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.
Despite clocking a new personal best of 8m30.78s in the Senior Boys’ 3,000m, 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.
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’ 1,500m 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 out-sprinting 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’ 1,500m heats, Morpeth’s Holly Peck could take great pride in finishing ninth in the slightly faster Heat 1, posting a 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, 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 17 competitors in the Junior Boys’ Shot Putt. He was nearly a metre adrift of a podium place.
Despite marginally running a personal best of 52.11s, Morpeth’s Sean O’Hara went out in the heats of the Intermediate Boys’ 400m.
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’ 1,500m.
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 PB, which he had produced at Morpeth the week before, and only gave him 16th place.
Harriet Priest went out in the heats of the Intermediate Girls’ 300m Hurdles, clocking 49.78s.
Bobbie Griffiths finished 16th 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.