Houghton Kepier School student Henry Johnson claimed a well-deserved silver medal in the English Schools’ Track and Field Championships at Birmingham on Saturday.
Competing for Durham Schools, in the Junior Boys’ 1500m, he recorded 4min 9.05sec to finish behind Leeds City athlete Ethan Hussey (4.07.63).
Both athletes qualified after the heats on Friday, with Hussey winning by a cat’s whisker in 4.11.28.
Johnson became the first Wearside athlete to win a middle distance medal in the “Schools Olympics’’, since Pennywell School’s Sunderland Harrier Stewart Mathieson won the junior title in 1984 (4.09.1) at Thurrock.
The Under-15, who is coached by former Commonwealth marathon runner Lynn Cooper, has had a superb track season after he won both the 800m (1.59.76) and 1500m titles (4.15.91) at the North Eastern Counties Championships in May.
The Houghton Harrier also scored wins in the Northern Schools’ 1500m (4.10.02) followed by the Northern Inter-Counties 800m (2.02.65) last Sunday at Hull. He has also improved his 800m time to1.59.04 and 1500m (4.07.30).
Ironically, the athlete he beat in the 800m at the North Eastern Championships, Daniel Joyce, won the Junior Boys’ 800m title (1.58.89) to provide Durham with a triumphant gold medal at the Alexander Stadium.
The Tynedale Harrier, who is well clear on this year’s Under-15 UK 800m ranking list in first place (1.56.48), won by nearly three seconds.
Durham, who had a good championship, completed their set of medals through Jazmine Moss (Durham High School for Girls), who finished third in the senior girls’ 200m (24.36).
Junior girl Philippa Ellis (Park View, Chester-Street) just missed out on a place in the 75m hurdles final, finishing fifth in semi final (11.69).
Other Houghton Harriers involved were Will Bellamy (Houghton Kepier), who finished 11th in the Junior Boys’ 1500m heat (4.21.75), Lydia James (Oxclose Community Academy) fifth in the Junior Girls’ 800m heat (2.24.25 ) and Nicola Phillips (St Bede’s, Peterlee), eighth in the Junior Girls’ 1500m heat (4.49.74).
Tyler Thomas (The Academy, Shotton Hall) was fifth in the Junior Boys’ 100m heat (11.65).