A look ahead to the two-day event in Gateshead
The English Schools Championships provides the highlight of the season for many of the country’s top young athletes and the event returns to Gateshead for the 85th edition and two action-packed days of athletics on July 10-11.
Many past and present stars of the sport, including the likes of Paula Radcliffe, Steve Cram, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah, came through the event as talented youngsters and no doubt a number of the next generation of international champions will be in action over the next couple of days as they compete in three age groups – junior (under-15), intermediate (under-17) and senior (under-19).
Competing for their counties, some of the top names will be missing as they are instead in action at forthcoming international age-group championships.
Among those set to compete is 200m runner Ryan Gorman who will be looking for a successful step up from intermediate to senior level, having recently clocked a PB of 21.17.
In the longer distance events, Kent’s William Fuller will be one to watch in the 3000m. West Yorkshire’s Reynold Banigo has been over seven metres in the long jump and will be looking to make an impact, while javelin thrower
George Davies of North Yorkshire will be hoping to add to his England title.
In the senior girls’ category, Phoebe Law will be trying to add to her England junior title for Surrey in the 3000m, while Charlotte Cayton-Smith is set to return after a slight injury aiming to take 800m gold back to Cornwall. Another Cornwall athlete, Molly Long, and Nottinghamshire’s Charlotte McLennaghan are among the athletes to have been selected for the European Junior Championships in Sweden but are listed among the entries for the 800m and 200m respectively in Gateshead.
Oxfordshire’s Rebecca Keating is this year’s top under-20 hammer thrower in Britain and will have her eye on gold.
In the intermediate age group, London’s Katy-Ann McDonald could attack the 28-year-old championship best at 800m belonging to Jo White (2:05.6), while pole vaulter Molly Caudery of Cornwall has jumped 2cm higher than the meeting best of 3.90m. Holly Mills of Hampshire will be difficult to beat in the long jump with her 6.21m season’s best and Essex hammer thrower Katie Head will be favourite in her event as she follows in the footsteps of her father and coach, Paul, an Olympian in the same discipline.
In the intermediate boys’ event, Dom Ashwell of Hertfordshire, Toby Harries of Sussex and Connor Wood of West Yorkshire headline the sprints. George Mills and Archie Davis are the ones to watch out for in the 800m, while Leicester’s Ben Dijkstra races over the 3000m.
Among the junior athletes in action, Bedfordshire’s Frankie Johnson could threaten the 1988 English Schools pole vault record of 4.30m belonging to Neil Winter. His UK under-15 best, set this season, is 4.32m. Tilly Simpson of Derbyshire, who has run 2:07.33 for 800m this year, could break the 1986 mark of 2:08.7.