Wearside youngsters raise the standards at Durham Schools’ County Championships

West Wearsides Will Bellamy.
West Wearsides Will Bellamy.

With some impressive performances, West Wearside came out on top in the tracks events in the Durham Schools’ County Track and Field Championships at Monkton Stadium on Saturday.

With the event being hit by heavy rain throughout the programme, which led to the abandonment of the relays, young athletes were faced with dire conditions as they chased English Schools’ entry standards.

Three West Wearside athletes and one Easington sprinter achieved the tough marks which should ensure their place on the Durham team for the English Schools’ Championships at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on Friday and Saturday, July 7 and 8.

Although the selectors have stated that through the team now being restricted to 32 competitors, this could mean that some athletes who achieve an entry standard are not selected. Final selection will take place on Sunday for the English Schools’ Championships.

Athletes have another chance of achieving an entry standard at the Inter Counties on Saturday at Hexham. Performances outside schools athletics will be be taken into consideration in final selections.

The local athletes who beat the weather to achieve the entry standard at Monkton are: Junior girl Phillipa Ellis (West Wearside) in the 75m hurdles who won in 11.7, compared to her best of 10.92. She added the county schools’ title to that of the North Eastern Counties AA 75m hurdles and 100m titles she won in May.

Tia Anderson (Easington) won the Junior Girls’ 200m in 25.9 which was well inside the standard of 26.3. The Durham City Harrier has a best indoors of 25.80 and has won Northern and Scottish indoor titles over the distance.

West Wearside’s Henry Johnson (4.17.1) and Will Bellamy (4.20.2), first and second in the Junior Boys’ 1,500m are, like Phillipa Ellis, a member of Houghton Harriers. They dipped well below the 4.22 standard needed.

Double North East middle distance champion Johnson, has a best of 4.7.30 for the metric mile, well inside the national standard of 4.13. Bellamy’s best for 1,500m is 4.19.60.

In the Junior Girls, West Wearside’s other successes came from Daisy Purcivel in the 100m (13.1), Lydia James who recorded 2.25.5 to win the 800m and pole vaulter Rosie Thompson cleared a height of 2.50.

West Wearside’s Eve Purcivel won the Inter Girls’ 100m (13.9) and Easington’s Alisha Lamb triumphed in the hammer (32.87).

Junior Boy Tyler Thomas (Easington) took the 100m (11.8) and Liam Easteugh (West Wearside) won the 300m (38.6).

In the Inter Boys, Matt Ward (West Wearside) sailed over the 100m hurdles to win in 16.0 and Ryan Emerson (West Wearside) launched the javelin to 34.61m to win the event.

Jack Young (West Wearside) sprinted to success in the 200m (24.4) and team-mate Alex Brown won the 3000m (8.56.2).

Other English Schools standards set at Monkton were Junior Boys’ Jack Halpin (Durham City) 100m 12.52. Inter Girls’ Rachel Bennet (South West Durham) 200m in 25.8, and Ella Murray (Gateshead) high jump (1.62).

Sunderland, who compete under the Wearside banner and by far the biggest area, had a poor championship with only one victory through Laura Hand in the senior 400m hurdles.

Indeed, the turnout from Sunderland was dismal with many of the events having no athletes at all from the area.

Athletics in schools in Sunderland are at an all time low with little participation and interest. The few that did compete at Monkton deserve our praise.

Sunderland Harrier Alice Smith, who clocked a personal best (37.36) in the New Marske 10km on Sunday, is still searching for an elite entry standard for September’s Great North Run.

She has another opportunity to dip under the 37 minutes barrier on Sunday when she competes in the Aycliffe 10km.

The race starts at 10am from Greenfield Community College, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 7LF. Changing and parking is at the school.

Tonight, Elswick Harriers host the River Run starting at 7.30pm from Newburn Activity Centre. Late entries are available.

On Saturday, the North East Masters’ host their Track and Field Championships at Monkton.