Wimborne Athletic Club

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Dorset Junior Girls win at Birmingham  – 11/12 July 2014

Wimborne athletes compete at the ESAA Championships.

The Dorset team with WAC’s Matt Curtis (County Team Captain)
proudly displaying Dorset SAA banner

The English Schools Athletics Association National Championships is amongst the most prestigious events you can be involved in as a young athlete. Indeed the ESAA National Championships makes the claim that it is the ‘4th largest athletics event in the world’. The high English Schools Qualification standards (ESQs) required, ensure the elite nature of the meeting. Between April and June each year, our best athletes strive to meet those ESQs. This year we had a record number of Wimborne athletes selected to represent Dorset. Indeed it has been a great year for Dorset athletics with an embarrassment of riches – more athletes recorded ESQs than could be accommodated by the County’s allotted 25 places.

The Alexander Stadium in Birmingham is impressive and is a fitting venue for the Championships. The event runs like clockwork, with designated warming up areas and a calling up room where athletes need to report prior to their event. For each event the athletes are led out, each with an official to look after them.    

A record number of six Wimborne athletes made the Dorset team in the three age-groups – Juniors (u15), Intermediates (u17) and Seniors (u19), these were:

Tom Bourne Junior Boys 1500m
Bethan Burley Junior Girls Shot
Grace Copeland Junior Girls 800m
Matt Curtis (Team Captain) Senior Boys Discus
Pippa Hine Junior Girls 100m
Ellie White Intermediate Girls Hammer

Tom Bourne was one of the first Dorset athletes to appear on the track. Tom ran in heat 2 of the 1500m. Seventh place and an ESQ time of 4:19:64 was enough to ensure safe passage into the 1500m final on the following day. It was clear from this heat that the longer races were going to be quite tactical. With so many athletes having reached a consistently high standard the field tended to stay closely packed, and some races turned out to be quite feisty affairs. In the final itself Tom ran another well-judged race and recorded another ESQ of 4:20:76 to finish 10th.

Bethan Burley is one of the club’s great multi-eventers. Of the many disciplines that she excels at, it was shot putt where she reached the ESQ and was selected to represent Dorset. There were six steps on the podium at the Championships and Bethan’s National Standard (NS) throw of 11.48m ensured that she got her feet firmly on one of them – 5th place in the Championships.

Grace Copeland has concentrated on her 800m times this season in order to qualify for these Championships. Like Tom she had a qualifying heat to negotiate in order to make it into the final. In Grace’s first heat she finished third with an NS time of 2:13.91. This is a new club record, not just for her age group (u15), but an overall female club record. Grace came 6th in the 1500m final with an ESQ of 2:17.06. So once again we saw another Wimborne athlete on the podium.

Matt Curtis is one of the senior members of the squad, having represented Dorset previously at the ESAA Championships. Like Bethan, Matt is a very fine multi-eventer. However, it was for discus that he represented the county. He threw 35.20m for 16th place. Matt is a fine ambassador for our club and county, and this time around he had the honour of being team captain.

Pippa Hine recorded an ESQ over 100m to qualify for the Championships. If Pippa was to reach the final she had two qualifying heats to negotiate. A new PB and an ESQ time of 12.70 saw her safely through to Round Two. Pip then ran a time of 12.97 for sixth place in the semi-finals. Terrific stuff, especially as her preferred event is the 200m where she recorded an ESQ only after the cut-off date!

Ellie White secured her place in the team with a mighty throw of the 3k hammer in the Dorset Schools Championships for a new club record. Ellie went even better in Birmingham, improving on her own club record with an ESQ of 41.50m.

There was more excitement for the Wimborne supporters when a 4x100m junior girls relay team competed. It was made up half-and-half of Bournemouth and Wimborne AC athletes. Hannah Molyneux ran an excellent first leg, with Bethan and Dani Broom covering legs 2 and 3. The final leg was Pippa’s responsibility. The team came 6th and recorded an ESQ time of 51:55. This was an extraordinary performance as Pippa was the only specialist sprinter. Three of the team qualified for the Championships as throwers. This surely shows just what good all-round athletes Bethan, Dani and Hannah are.

Indeed it was not just in the relay that our talented Dorset Junior Girls shone. The counties of England are split into three categories based on their population. So the likes of London, Merseyside, etc would be in Group A, while Dorset is in Group C. Dorset Junior Girls were runaway winners in their category. They really smashed it – racking up 36 points against the 2nd place team who had just 13 points.

 Grace with the Junior Girls Team Trophy

Other outstanding podium performances from Dorset team members included:

1st – Junior Girls – Shot – Hannah Molyneux – 12.85m (NS)
1st – Junior Girls – Discus – Dani Broom – 32.90m (NS)
1st – Inter Boys – Long Jump – Patrick Sylla – 7.00m (NS)
3rd – Inter Boys – Discus – Thomas Peters – 46.24m (NS)
5th – Senior Boys – Shot – Matthew Ridge – 13.85m (ESQ)

We’d witnessed two days of outstanding track and field. This is how England Athletics summed it all up:

The future stars of athletics made their mark in Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium for the 84th English Schools' Track & Field Championships on 11-12th July. Good conditions ensured the Championship Best Performances kept flowing. History was made with a new event - the junior girls' hammer - added to the timetable for the first time in the championship's long standing history, plus a British record in the javelin.’

Ian Kennedy


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