Thrower Excel at English Schools Championships

The Southampton Athletics Club throwing group had an outstanding two days at the English Schools
Championships in Birmingham on the 12th & 13th July. This year a record number of 14 Southampton

throwers were selected to represent their County, and compete against the best young athletes across the Country in what is considered to be the 4th largest athletics event in the World.
The throwers brought home an amazing tally of 7 medals, and helped Hampshire to 3rd place overall in the County Team Competition
First up in his first English Schools was 13 year old Travis Scottow, who improved steadily through the junior boys discus event. Finding himself in 4th place going into the last round, Travis unleashed a personal
best throw of 40.54m to win a fantastic bronze medal, and lift himself to 6th place in the UK under 15 rankings. With another year to go in this age-group, this talented all-rounder, who was top of the UK under
13 rankings in three separate events in 2018 will return next year looking for a national title.

Next to compete was Bradley Jenvey in the inter boys javelin. Bradley excelled last year in the English Schools octathlon, winning his England vest in the Schools Combined Events International in November. He
then threw a huge javelin personal best in May to go to No 2 in the under 17 UK rankings, but has recently suffered from a niggling injury, which has affected his training. Despite this, Bradley threw very well on the
day in a close competition, affected by a difficult gusty wind, to finish an agonising 4th place with 57.83m.
This performance was closely followed by Rhys Allen and Oliver Thatcher in the inter boys discus event. Rhys, who was last years Champion in the junior boys discus, moved up an age-group and also produced a
personal best throw of 46.65m to win the bronze medal in this inter boys discus event. 14 year old Rhys is currently 4th in the UK under 17 rankings, and with another year in this age-group will be aiming
for the title and international honours next year. Oliver is a very talented multi-eventer and has been concentrating his training this year towards the upcoming National decathlon championships and English
Schools octathlon in September, at which his target is also to win an English Schools vest. Currently 2nd in the UK under 17 octathlon rankings and 8th in the discus, he produced his second best throw of the season
to take 7th place in another close competition.
To finish day 1 in style, with her 3rd gold medal at these Championships was senior discus thrower,Samantha Callaway, who launched a personal best throw of 48.82m in round two, to take the title. This
throw lifted 17 year old Sam to the top of the UK under 20 rankings for 2019, and this together with her recent victory in the England National U20 Championships has put her in a strong position to be selected to
throw for England in the under 18 Nations Cup which is due to take place in Dublin in August.

Day 2 of the Championships started with a number of events coinciding,including the senior boys discus, the inter girls hammer followed very closely by the junior girls javelin. The inter girls hammer saw both Anna Merritt and Jessica Bennett taking part. Both girls have overcome difficult illnesses over the winter, and Jess threw a brilliant recent qualifying performance over 50m, which raised her to 11th in the UK under 17 rankings to earn her a late call up to the Championships. Jess achieved a safe early throw of 46.45m, but just missed out on progressing to the final three rounds, finishing a creditable 9th overall.
Anna produced a personal best throw in round 4 to move up into 2nd place, and with two other competitors within a few centimetres, improved again in round 5 to an impressive 54.96m to secure the silver medal and
4th place in the UK under 17 rankings. Anna’s 2nd place earned her selection to represent England in the Schools International in Swansea the following weekend, at which she excelled again by throwing another personal best of 56.12m to win the silver medal behind Scotlands Kirsty Costello. This performance has raised Anna to 3rd place in the under 17 UK rankings.
The senior boys discus included last years inter boys champion Josh Douglas. In May this year, Josh was selected to captain the England under 19 team at the World Schools Cup in Croatia, where he finished in 5th
place. Having moved up an age-group for the English Schools Championship, Josh, who is currently 4th ranked in the UK under 20 rankings, produced a best throw of 49.80m to win the bronze medal, having recently taken the silver at the England National U20 Championships. 
In the junior girls javelin, there were two Southampton representatives, Jasmine Larson and Megan Hulbert. Jasmine started the competition with a personal best throw, and then in round 3 increased this by a further 2
metres to an impressive 38.60m. This throw elevated Jasmine to 7th place in the UK under 15 rankings, and more importantly into the top three in this competition. In the final round, Jasmine’s throw was equaled by
another athlete, which meant that she was incredibly unfortunate to just miss out on a medal on the count back rule.
In her first English Schools, Megan, produced a really consistent series of throws, the best of which wa 34.79m to take a commendable 8th place in the final. Megan’s early season form had seen her also throw over 38 metres to currently occupy 6th place in the under 15 girl’s UK rankings, and she will therefore be looking forward to building from this experience.
The senior boys shot put saw last years inter boys silver and bronze medalists moving up an age-group.
Both Andrew Knight and Josh Wise threw personal bests at the recent England National U20 Championships to raise them to 4th and 6th ranked respectively in the UK under 20 rankings, with Andrew taking the bronze medal on that occasion. Having only changed to the rotational shot technique a few
months ago, Andrew could not quite find his rhythm this time, but still finished a creditable 5th with a resolute 15.68m, however his teammate, Josh came from 4th place in the last round to take a terrific bronze
medal with a final throw of 16.13m.

Having waited nearly two whole days to make her debut at these Championships, our junior girl hammer thrower Gracie Jenvey found herself in the extremely difficult position of having narrow foul throws in the
first two rounds of the competition. Gracie, who has only been throwing the hammer for a year, had performed exceptionally well so far this season to achieve a UK under 15 girls ranking of 13, however had
to show an enormous amount of courage to execute a valid throw in the 3rd round of 34.03m to take 16thplace. She sadly did not progress to the final, but will learn a great deal from this experience.
The final competitor to take the stage was Olivia Austin in the junior girls discus. Olivia is currently 2nd in the under 15 girls UK rankings in the discus and held her nerve beautifully to win a superb gold medal with
32.43m. Olivia took the lead in round 3, and then improved steadily thereafter throughout the competition to take the title.  Boosted by this performance, Olivia also produced a huge personal best of 13.10m in the shot put a few days later to move up to 3rd in the UK under 15 girls rankings in this event.
The throws group had huge vocal support throughout the two days from parents, siblings, grandparents and friends. None of their achievements would have been possible without the immense help and encouragement
that these dedicated athletes receive from their families, so we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved. Southampton AC have continued to support us with vital winter indoor facilities and
equipment, and we would like to make a special mention for Itchen Sixth Form College, who have allowed us to use their gym facilities throughout the year to such great effect. The under 15 and under 17 athletes
will now move onto the Regional and England National Championships which take place in August.