This year’s English Schools Athletics Championships saw eight Wimborne AC athletes taking part, equalling the record set in 2018. The competition was inaugurated in 1925 and claims to be fourth largest athletics event in the world. Each athlete must reach demanding qualifying results in order to be selected by their county. The eight Wimborne AC athletes were: Kane Aubrey, Lauren Hill, Toby Hiller, Maddy Johnson, Abbie Lovering, Marianna Sawyer, Emily Shaw and Abbie White.
This is Abbie White’s third consecutive year competing at English Schools. Indeed she follows in the footsteps of her older sister Ellie, who had competed in English schools in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. This time around, having moved up and age-group Abbie was throwing the heavier 4 kilogram hammer (it had been 3k in the lower age-group). She threw 41.37m.
It was heartbreak for Abbie Lovering in the 300m hurdles. There were three qualifying heats for the final with the first two in each heat going forward, then the two next fastest times making the final. Abbie came fourth in her heat and missed the cut by the finest margins. She had run her heat in a time almost a second inside National Standard, and was the third of the next fastest times. Abbie is a resilient character and no doubt will ‘go again’ next year.
For Lauren Hill it was her first time at English Schools and she had jumped Natonal Standard at least three times to qualify. Her competition was a straight final with 24 girls competing. Lauren’s first aim was to get in the top eight to qualify for three more jumps. She did this with ease, and eventually finished 8th and was only 22cm from the gold medal. She performed with confidence and really enjoyed the experience and made her coach (Lorraine Winton) very proud. For Toby Hiller it was his second time at these championships. Although he has a PB of over 6m he was unable to qualify for the final this time.
Maddy Johnson, Marianna Sawyer and Emily Shaw all went straight to finals on Day 2 of the Championships. First to compete was Emily in the 3000m. It was a tactical race with some (relatively) slow laps early on, which meant the group was bunched up. Emily’s performance was an excellent example of how to run a championship race. See it here https://www.runjumpthrow.com/videos/34487/?fbclid=IwAR0K1-JRH1c5dlE_-7X3iu72UR5qUbILTQtcpt55iJdBayJKdCF-xJfkkxU The race also brought a PB and it brought Dorset’s first gold medal for a number of years. Next up was Marianna in the 1500 steeplechase. Marianna’s first ever steeplechase was only just over a month earlier. Her second one was run in a gale at King’s Park, and it was there where she qualified for the English Schools Champs. Marianna may well have been the least-experienced steeplechaser in the field, although you wouldn’t know. She improved her PB by four seconds. Maddy qualified for the 1500 comfortably early in the season, the free-flowing graceful style of Maddy at her best was in evidence in Birmingham. She’s only run faster this season on one occasion (and that was in a race with a pacemaker).
For Kane Aubrey this was his first English Schools Championships. He was throwing 5kg and recorded a fine 5th place 14.85m. The following day in a Wessex Young Athletes League at Bournemouth he competed again and threw a discus a distance 48m35 which would put him third in the English rankings at present … and had given him a third placed medal at English Schools!