Two of our top all-rounders were in action last weekend as teams from Northumberland, Durham, Cleveland, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire battled it out for a place at the English Schools Combined Events National Finals. Under 15, Nat Bell was part of the Durham Junior Boys team competing in a one day Pentathlon on the Saturday, and Under 17, Charlotte Rutter was taking part in the Heptathlon as an individual athlete representing Cleveland in the Inter Girls category.
Nat made it to the National Finals with the Durham Junior Boys last year when he was still a year young. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan as he had to withdraw after 3 events with an ankle injury, so he was keeping everything crossed today.
As usual, Nat’s weakest event out of the 5, the 80m Hurdles, was first up. He adopted his usual tactics of jumping every hurdle like a high jump and just getting the job done as quickly and safely as possible! Which he did. The next two events went much better finishing 2nd in the Shot with a PB of 9.65m and 2nd in the Long Jump with another PB of 5.36m.
With two events to go things were looking promising for Nat and the rest of the Durham team. Next up was the High Jump and a best of 1.50m; not quite a PB but not a bad effort all the same. That just left the 800m and it was obvious Nat was feeling the pressure. He’d been put in the last heat reserved for the top five on the leader board. At the gun, the South Yorkshire athlete went off at a cracking pace and soon opened a healthy lead. By the end of the first lap the gap hadn’t changed much so Nat shifted up a gear down the back straight and gradually reined in the SY athlete. He caught him with about 150m to go then kicked at 90m to sprint home in 1st place. A fantastic effort and a new PB of 2:16.48. His final total of 2340 was also a new PB and enough to take 2nd place overall, just behind his Durham team mate, Chris Perkins (Birtley Harriers).
The good news is, in the team event, the Durham Junior Boys finished in 1st place!! Congratulations to them all. They can now look forward to the National Finals in September – just down the road in Exeter!! Happy travelling boys.
Charlotte was competing as an individual athlete as unfortunately there was no Cleveland team this year. This was her first Under 17 Heptathlon and the event was a great learning experience for her, up against the older competition. The 7 events take place over 2 days and Charlotte was delighted with an overall 4th place position and a new Heptathlon points score of 3939.
She was particularly pleased with a 500g Javelin PB of 22.63m and Shot PB of 9.93m. A tremendous effort and certainly something to be proud of. Well done, Charlotte.
Although Charlotte was happy with her overall position, she was really disappointed not to have made it to the final. However, over the weekend she received some fantastic news – it turns out she was one of the 9 additional highest scorers and has rightly earned her place at the Combined Events Finals!
Well done to both Charlotte and Nat, both a true inspiration to our younger multi-eventers! We look forward to bringing you up to date on the Finals in September.
For more photos of the weekend’s action https://www.flickr.com/photos/143839421@N02/sets/72157709280286081/