BAC Athletes at English Schools’ T&F Finals, Birmingham

BAC Athletes at English Schools’ Athletic Association 2019 Track and Field Finals, Alexander Stadium Birmingham.

The Finals held over Friday 12th July and Saturday 13th July had ten BAC (first claim) athletes selected, not the nine I erroneously reported previously. I apologise for omitting Amelia Verney.

All athletes mentioned below represented Dorset Schools unless otherwise stated. 

As earlier reported, the Finals are one of the largest sporting events held globally and thus since inception in 1925 are now meticulously timed and run. The athletes travelled up to Birmingham on Thursday 11th July.

Friday dawned and the first BAC athlete to compete was Abigail Phillips in Event T1 Junior Girls 300m commencing at 10:00 hours, Abigail was drawn in Heat 3. Only 8 of the 24 competitors would go through to the Final T95 to be held at 16.39 on Saturday. Abigail acquitted herself well running in a time of 42.35 secs, her 3rd fastest time. All the more creditable considering how early it was. Abigail did not make it to the Final but surely gained experience for future finals at ES.

Soon after T1 started, Isabella Shepherd was in action in Event F4 at 10:10 Senior Girls Hammer. Isabella could not reproduce the form from earlier in the season and finished 20th with a distance of 37.18. She did however enjoy the whole experience of the 3 days camaraderie and hopefully will continue in the sport now School competition has come to an end for her.

Mia Wilkinson was in Event T6 at 11:18 hours Junior Girls 75 m Hurdles. Mia came 7th in Heat 2 in a time of 12.53 seconds. Mia didn’t progress to Saturday’s Final T81 at 15.09 but hopefully gained a lot of experience from the trip to Birmingham. Although not a first claim member, recent new second claim member Molly White deserves a mention. Molly was 6th in Heat 3 in a time of 12.20 seconds.

Yasmin Bridet was selected for Intermediate Girls 80m Hurdles T9 at 11:32 but unfortunately due to injury was unable to compete. We hope Yasmin makes a full recovery and is fit and ready next year.

Leah Sullivan was in F12 at 12:45 Junior Girls Long Jump. There were 24 competitors. English Schools can be a very daunting competition with more officials, totally different surroundings and other events going on simultaneously sometimes in close proximity. Leah came 24th with a best jump of 4.33 m well down on her PB of 5.08 m. Leah will surely learn from her experience and strive to be back at ES in future.

T21 at 13:54 saw two BAC athletes in Intermediate Girls 200m. Brooke Ironside was first in action in Heat 2, fighting through and coming 3rd in a time of 25.13 seconds. Amelia Verney was in Heat 3, coming 3rd in a time of 25.61 seconds. The first 2 in each Heat qualified along with the 2 fastest losers overall. Brooke qualified for the Final T 75 on Saturday at 14:29 but unfortunately Amelia just missed out as 4th fastest loser.

Saturday saw the athletes back early at the stadium from their overnight accommodation, with Isabelle Franklin in action at 10:00 in F30 Intermediate Girls Long Jump. Also in action was Lana Blake representing Hampshire Schools. Lana, having competed previously at ES, finished 9th with a best jump of 5.32m, down on her PB. Isabelle was 22nd out of the big field of 25 competitors with a best of 4.97, down on her PB of 5.18m. You have to accept the event was at 10:00, not ideal for Long Jump. The athletes have to be up, fed and ready to travel and prepare when it suits the whole team. These are part of the character building aspects of the competition.

About the same time, in Event F31, commencing at 10:15 Adam Phillips was in action in Senior Boys Discus. Adam chose the perfect time for a PB with a throw 46.98 m to come a very commendable 4th.

Brooke’s moment with destiny duly arrived at 14.29 with T75 Intermediate Girls 200m Final. Brooke again battled through to finish fifth in a time of 25.05 secs. It is only Brooke’s 2nd year in athletics. Congratulations to her, her current coaches Zac & Tim and her earlier coach Dave. Despite being only 16, Brooke is one of the fastest 200 m runners in the SW of England.

Due to restriction in the total number of competitors counties can take to the Schools Finals, especially the smaller ones such as Dorset, a relay team can’t always be entered by a county. The relay is 4×100 m only.

Dorset this year had sufficient Junior Girls and Intermediate Girls selected for ES to enter a relay team for each age group, both of which included BAC athletes. The Junior Girls failed to finish in their heat. The Intermediate Girls clocked a very good time in their heat but failed to progress to the Final.

Lana Blake ran in the Hampshire Intermediate Girls relay team, they progressed in their heat on Friday to Saturday’s Final. Lana ran superbly in the second leg of the Final and had two brilliant baton changes, thus helping Hampshire to win that relay Final and gaining herself a gold medal.

I won’t go into the many individual cups for different size counties, ages, genders etc. The award for the aggregate totals of all ages and genders saw Hampshire come third in Group A (the Broadbridge Trophy for the largest counties by school population) with 275 points. Dorset came 6th in Group C, the Tonkin Cup with 66 points. (There are four groups/ aggregate cups/school population categories).

Finally a brief mention of a young man called Alfie Why. Alfie was recently selected to represent his area of Dorset at Dorset Schools Junior Boys Long Jump. He won Dorset Schools with a best jump of 5.55 m. He was thus selected to represent Dorset at SW Schools at Exeter and won that with a wind assisted jump of 6.32 m.

Alfie was then invited to represent Dorset Schools at ES. He accepted their invitation, came to King’s Park for a quick couple of coaching sessions with BAC’s Brian Camp. On Saturday in one of the last events, F48 at 15:30, (probably using the two days extra time to practice a bit and some brief coaching from BAC’s Tim Ward) saw Alfie win the ES Junior Boys Long Jump with a best jump of 6.65m. Hopefully Alfie will return and maybe join BAC.

Hopefully all participants will have enjoyed the experience, have learned something which will further their athletic ability or just put to good use in general life. Especially as many of the team were from the Junior and Intermediate Age group and have the chance to train even harder and return in future years.

Written by William Kearsey