Sack Full Of Champions From Juniors

Some of the region’s best young athletes from were in action last weekend as they battled it out in a bid to represent their County.

It was a tremendous day of athletics at the Durham Schools’ Track & Field Championships, with some record breaking performances, all with the aim of qualifying for the Inter-Counties, and then ultimately, the English Schools Finals.

As you would expect there had been plenty of our Junior Harriers selected by their schools to take part; for some, it was their first County T&F Championships, whereas others had been in this position several times before, and many, already owners of that much sought after “purple hoody!”

There were lots of familiar faces as the athletes gathered and the atmosphere was tangible. Excitement. Anticipation. Nerves…..and that was just the parents! The weather was fine, and the action kicked off about 10.30am.

Junior Girls 100m

After sailing through the her Heat without much problem, Darcey Garbutt was put under a bit more pressure in the final. But she handled it admirably and crossed the line in first place in an excellent time of 12.9s.

Well done Darcey, a worthy County Champion, and still in Year 8!

Niamh Bishop had a great run in her 100m heat but just missed out on getting to the final.

Great effort, Niamh, well done.

Junior Girls 200m

Lacking slightly in numbers, this went to a straight final for one of our top sprinters, Logan Fawcett.

She ran a cracking bend then pushed hard down the home straight, eventually finishing in 2nd place. She said afterwards her “legs turned to jelly” at the end of the race so it shows you how hard she was pushing!

Well done Logan, another Harrier through to the Inter Counties.

Logan flies round the bend on her way to qualification

Junior Girls 300m

The 300m is Sarah Wilcock’s second choice event at the moment, and according to her Dad, she would rather have taken part in the hurdles today, but she stepped up to the plate and gave it her all.

Unfortunately, Sarah just missed out on qualification by 0.4s in 3rd place.

Great effort, Sarah, well done!

Great effort from Sarah in the 300m, so close to going through to the next round

Junior Girls 1500m

This was Mia Wetherill’s first outing at these Championships, and she was determined to give it 100%.

Being one of the younger athletes is never easy when you’re competing against others a year older than yourself, but she performed admirably, finishing in 5th place in 5:14.9, just a couple of seconds off her PB.

Well done Mia!

An impressive debut from Mia in the 1500m

Junior Girls Shot Putt

Moving on to the Junior Girl’s field events, another young Harrier making her debut in this competition, Lily Thompson. We’ve heard a lot about Lily recently, and how well she’s been doing…..and today was no exception.

Not expecting to qualify, she did just that with an excellent throw of 7.85m using a heavier shot than she normally competes with. This was enough to bag 2nd and a place at the Inter-Counties. Well done Lily.

Unfortunately, this clashes with a British Championship event , so she can’t make the Inter-Counties this year. Plenty of time 😊

a nice surprise for Lily, 2nd place in the shot putt

Junior Boys 200m

Another young Harrier still in Year 8, competing against older athletes, was Nat Bell.

He ran a terrific bend in the heat, opening up a gap to take the lead into the home straight. Pushing hard, he managed to maintain the lead and finish 1st.

The final was a tougher race, battling it out against all Year 9’s, but Nat held his own and managed to cross the line in 2nd place in a fantastic time of 24.9s.

Impressive stuff qualifying for the Inter-Counties in the first year of the age group, so well done Nat. Unfortunately, due to a prior commitment, he can’t be there, but he’s already looking forward to next year!

Top marks to John for a great run in the 800m

Junior Boys 800m

Hummersknott made (what some considered) a strange choice in putting John Russell down for the 800m.

Not that he isn’t capable, because he certainly is, but he’d never competed at that distance before. Moreover, there was only one Darlington athlete (his brother, Adam) entered into his much preferred distance, the 1500m, and John could have been the other.

He put in a good shift though as you would expect, eventually finishing in 4th place, crossing the line in 2:22.7.

Well done John, a great effort.

Junior Boys 1500m

It was a very confident performance from Adam Russell in the 1500m, who lead from start to finish.

He was put under pressure by Chris Perkins (West Wearside), but handled it with ease. Adam pushed hard in the last lap and the gap started to open up, and in the end was just too much for his opponent.

An excellent run, crossing the line as County Champion in a time of 4:19.6, and within the English Schools’ required standard!

Great job, Adam, well done!

Adam on his way to becoming County Champion

Intermediate Girls 300m

It was a straight final for Junior Harrier, and Carmel’s, Megan Noble in the 300m.

She put up a brave fight against some tough competition, including Durham’s high ranking Tia Anderson.

After a great effort she crossed the line in 4th place in a time of 47.1s.

Well done Megan.

A strong run from Megan in the 300m

Intermediate Girls 1500m

Friends, and fellow Darlington Harriers, were up against each other in this race; India Pentland running for South West Durham, and Ellie Phillips for Darlington.

From the moment the gun went off it was clear that India wasn’t hanging around here. She soon opened up an impressive lead which she maintained from start to finish.

Ellie had an excellent run, concentrating on her own race and leading the following pack…..and that is how it finished. India, in a class of her own, crossing the line in 4:36.5 – not only well within English Schools’ standard, but National standard as well!

Ellie finished in 2nd place in 4:56.7, meaning both girls qualify for the Inter-Counties.

Fantastic performance from both, well done girls!

Ellie and India line up at the start of another successful race

Intermediate Girls 3000m

We’re used to seeing impressive performances when it comes to U17 Harrier, Catherine Roberts…..and today was no exception.

In the 7.5 lap race, Catherine opened up a healthy lead, and it soon became obvious that no one was going to catch her. In fact, by the time she’d finished she’d lapped most of the opposition!

A tremendous run, finishing 1st in 10:15.9, and again, within English Schools’ standard and another County Champion!

More Inter Girls dominate their event to become County Champions: Above: Catherine Roberts, way ahead in the 3000m

Intermediate Girls Javelin

The javelin was dominated by our U17 all rounder, Jasmine Sharp, this time competing for South West Durham. Her best throw of the day was 37.14m, an impressive 12.56m ahead of her nearest rival, and enough to make her the County Champion.

Well done, Jasmine, a tremendous performance.

Far left: Jasmine Sharp, impressive performance from the all rounder Left: Rosie Thompson, great strength from the youngster

Intermediate Girls Hammer

Queen of the throws, Rosie Thompson, was in action for Darlington in the hammer. She did things in style by adding 3cm to her PB with a throw of 33.67m, over 10m further than 2nd place!

Not bad for another young Harrier in the first year of her age group.

Intermediate Boys Steeplechase

After the recent success of Liam Brittle’s first competitive run in the same event, one week later, he’s back again for more!

Although it was the same competition, his race was held at Wentworth Park, Hexham, the home of Tynedale Harriers.

You wouldn’t think it was only the second time he’d run a steeplechase, showing confidence and leading from start to finish against a Northumbrian School athlete, eventually crossing the line in 1st place in 5:03.6.

Another young Harrier becomes County Champion!

Well done Liam!

Liam leaps towards the County Championship

Senior Girls 800m

The number of athletes tend to decrease as the age increases and this was the case for Stella Jones in the Senior Girls 800m who ran by herself; always a difficult thing to do when you’ve got no competition to work against.

She had a great run, but there is some controversy over some athletes that won their race not going through to the Inter-Counties because their time wasn’t fast enough.

Seems ludicrous as the number of Seniors is low enough as it is!

Excellent run today, Stella, you’ve certainly got our vote!

Stella, ready for the off in the 800m

So just to round up, if my calculations are correct, that makes 11 of our junior athletes have qualified from the day’s competition, including 7 County Champions!

That’s an extraordinary result! Well done to all those that took part.


Down the road at York Sport Centre, Emma Hart was in action on the same day at her County event. A

fter winning the 1500m in the schools’ area trials, she upped the ante and ran the 3000m for Hambleside & Richmond.

She put in an impressive performance and once again, came home in 1st place!

Big smiles from Emma, and entry to the Inter-Counties

Fantastic effort, Emma, well done. She will now represent North Yorkshire at the Inter-Counties Championships.

Yet another County Champion from Darlington Harriers!


Chasing the boys! They ran the boys and girls races together
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