Chichester athletes in honours at Sussex schools finals

There were some outstanding performances at the Sussex schools track and field Championships at the K2 Stadium in Crawley – with the West Sussex West team figuring highly among eight from across the county.

Three of Chichester's medal winners / Picture by Amanda Haigh
Three of Chichester's medal winners / Picture by Amanda Haigh

Such was the standard of the event that the selectors have warned it may not be possible to select for the All-England Schools championships at Gateshead next month every athlete who has achieved the national qualifying standard.

The county can send up to 60 athletes from across the six age groups – and more than 60 have set qualifying marks.

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In the junior girls, Alyssa White cruised through the heats of the 100m in 12.9sec before going on to record a comfortable 12.7sec win to take gold in the final.

Rachel Laurie, in the 200m, set a new PB of 26.7sec for second place in her heat, then lowered it again to 26.6sec to take the silver medal in the final.

Both were key members of the winning 4x100m relay quartet, who stopped the clock at 50.8sec to break the Sussex county record by two seconds.

In the intermediate girls, Sophie-Anne Haigh celebrated the end of her school exams with a very confident display in the 200m. She won her heat in 25.7sec and followed it up with a convincing performance in the final, recording 25.8sec to take the gold.

Also in the intermediate girls, Grace Wills gained silver in the 1,500m, as did Lauren Cooper in the javelin – while there were bronze medals for Cat Scott in the triple jump and Heather Jacobs in the shot putt.

For the junior girls there was also a runners-up spot for Olivia Wiseman in the junior girls’ 1,500m.

Sandwiched between two of her Hastings rivals charging down the home straight, all three girls lunged for the line at the same time. After lengthy consultation between the experienced judges, Wiseman was given second place with all three girls given the same time of 4.56.3.

There was a good bronze medal for Kerrie Pafford in the hammer.

In the junior boys, the stand-out performance came from Ben Collins, who shrugged off a foot injury to give a fine display of front running in the 800m.

Taking up the running from the gun, Collins shook off most of his rivals over a fast first lap and left enough to finish strongly to win his first Sussex track title in a personal best time of 2.05.6 – inside the national schools standard.

There was good sprinting from Lewis Hall and Cellan Robinson in the 100m, both making the final and finishing just outside the medals.

Will Broom was unlucky to be tripped in the 1,500m while lying second and had to settle for fourth.

In the field events there were second places from Simon Ward in the javelin and Peter Hughes in the discus. Perhaps the most surprising win for West Sussex West was in the 1,500m intermediate boys steeplechase, where Benedict Robinson won easily in 5.33.3 in his first attempt over barriers.

Although the senior age groups are not as well contested as the juniors and intermediates, there was a good turnout from local athletes with the best medal total for years.

Jessica Breach had a clash of events, changing from one to the other and back. It affected her 100m, where she recorded 12.6sec for fourth spot in the final. She made up for it in the long jump, where she sailed to a new 5.39m PB to take silver.

Rose Ellis was pleased to be back in action after a long lay-off and was rewarded with a runner-up spot just outside five minutes in the 1,500m while Charlotte Reading was third in the 800m.

A strong West Sussex West squad proved the best senior boys’ team, with overall wins from Ross Hinton in the long jump with a 5.91 effort and Dan Eeles in the 800m with a time of 1.57.4.

There was a runner-up spot for Josh Jenkins in the 200m while Harry Lyne and Harry Pink gained bronze in the 1,500m and 3,000m respectively.

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