Chichester trio take place among England’s top school athletes

Jessica Breach and Sophie-Anne Haigh at Birmingham
Jessica Breach and Sophie-Anne Haigh at Birmingham

One of the success stories of the Sussex team at the English schools championships in Birmingham was local runner Toby Harries.

The Brighton College pupil, who is from Chichester, was competing in the intermediate boys’ 200m and came into the competition as one of the fastest athletes after a 21.8-second run in the Sussex schools championships at Crawley in June.

He smashed this with a 21.61 time to win his heat, albeit with a slight following wind.

Another good run in the semis saw Harries line up for the final and storm round the bend to hold a clear lead coming into the straight.

Just one rival was able to make inroads and with a desperate lunge for the line, Harries was just unable to hold on for the win and had to settle for second place in a new personal best time of 21.65, which puts him second in the UK rankings.

The reward for both the first two was an international vest for the schools’ home countries international, a fine reward for an impressive season.

In the intermediate girls’ events, the usual high standard of performance was even tougher this year, coupled with the omission of semi-finals as heats went straight to finals.

Sophie-Anne Haigh, in her first year in this age group and drawn in the difficult lane one, displayed great bend running to record a season’s best time of 25.90 for fifth position in the heats.

For Jessica Breach in the 80m hurdles, things did not go quite to plan. She was unsettled by a false start in an adjacent lane and although technically sound, she posted a time of 12.12sec for sixth place in her heat.