THREE local athletes have the honour of travelling to Gateshead as past of a 60-strong Sussex team for this weekend’s English schools track and field championships.
All three have shown tremendous form this season and have smashed their previous personal bests in more than one event.
Two of the three are still in the junior age group for pupils up to school Year 9.
Chichester Girls High School student Alyssa White has broken club and school records in both the 100m and 200m and now has a best of 12.4 seconds for the 100m which puts her equal seventh in the UK.
Also setting records over 200m with a best of 25.7sec, a top-20 UK placing, White had the qualification for both events – but will run in the 100m at Gateshead.
Another Year 9 pupil, Ben Collins from Chichester High School for Boys, has lowered his best over 800m to 2.04.87 and is just outside the top 20 in the UK.
His recent Sussex League 1,500m record may have been enough for that event as well but Collins will contest the two-lap event this weekend.
Bishop Luffa student Sophie-Anne Haigh has also been in fine form in both sprints with times of 12.3sec for the 100m and 25.2sec over 200m, putting her high up in the UK rankings for both events.
Haigh has been selected for the longer sprint at Gateshead to make it three different events for our three ambassadors on the national stage.
Chichester’s under-15s travelled to Horsham for the second of the Friday-evening Sussex League matches – and once again the boys’ squad nearly pulled off a famous victory.
They just lost out to current league champions Crawley by 112 points to 105.
There was fine sprinting from Lewis Hall and Cellan Robinson, dropping only three points out of a maximum 24 over 100m and 200m.
Then, supported by Corben Atkinson and Ben Collins, they had more than a second to spare in the relay with a speedy 50.8sec clocking.
Collins also showed his speed with a fast 300m, supported by newcomer Khaian Relf, before going on to smash the four-year-old league 1,500m record by over three seconds with a time of 4.23.4.
Runner-up Will Broom also set a fine time of 4.27.8, less than a second outside the previous record.
Leo Stallard, Ned Potter and JJ Staples added depth in the same race as non-scorers.
With Jeremy Sharp and another newcomer Ben Westron combining well over 800m and Ethan Brown, partnered by Relf, scoring good points in the hurdles, Chichester were neck and neck with Crawley going into the throws.
James Gillett and Gus Haplink gained two runners-up spots in the shot while Harry Talbot was in both discus and hammer, having to contend with a Worthing athlete setting a new league record of over 40m in the discus as well as launching the hammer close to the 50m mark, one of the longest throws in the UK this year.
Haplink had a new partner Simon Zbieranowski in the javelin to keep the momentum going with a third A string and first B string respectively.
The girls’ squad was severely depleted in the same match but Rachel Laurie continued her sparkling sprinting form with a an impressive sprint double over 100m and 200m, beating some talented athletes from both Crawley and Horsham.
The league also provides an opportunity for newer athletes to compete under match conditions with Annie Gibson and Molly Hogan-Hussein taking full advantage to set their first official times in 800m and 100m.
The final league match at Horsham takes place on Friday, July 24, before the Sussex grand final at the Withdean, Brighton on September 4.
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