The south east won the team trophy in the Sainsbury’s School Games as the action came to a close on day two, with the midlands and Scotland close behind. It went down to the wire and it wasn’t clear who had won until after the relays rounded off the races on the track in cold and windy conditions in the Don Valley stadium.
Earlier, there were a number of superb individual performances from athletes across all disciplines as javelin thrower Harry Hughes broke the championship best performance mark with his first throw, before increasing it further later in the competition to 69.71m.
In the men’s pole vault, Adam Hague, who earlier in the year represented GB in the World Youth Championships, smashed the games record and his personal best by sailing over the bar at 4.77m. Nikko Hunt of the north east also massively improved his personal best with a vault of 4.60m and attempted the record of 4.77 height, too.
Elsewhere in the field, Morgan Lake broke Katrina Johnson-Thompson’s high-jump record with a clearance of 1.82m.
On the track, there were victories for Tom Sommers in the 200m as he recorded the second-fastest time ever for a 16-year old UK sprinter and new games record of 21.17, only to see the +2.2m wind-speed render his effort illegal.
In the ladies’ 300m, Cheriece Hylton followed in her sister Shannon’s footsteps from yesterday with a win, and the north east’s Kristie Edwards claimed her first national title in the 100m, edging out Wales’s Hannah Brier on the line.
There was a shock in the men’s 1500m, as Scotland’s Gavin McArdle out-sprinted English Champion and GB star Jack Crabtree for the gold medal.
Kyle Powell was the winner in the ambulant men’s 200m, and the north west’s Ben Rowlings followed up yesterday’s 200m win with victory in the ambulant 100m. Sophie Hahn took gold in the ladies’ ambulant 100m for the midlands.
As the day drew to close and a battle between the midlands and the south east developed, it looked like the relays could decide where the team trophy went.
The men’s 4 x 400m proved the most exciting as the Scottish quartet led from the start over the midlands team. The bronze went to the north west after Matthew Pagan, the bronze medal winner in the individual event, took his team from seventh to third.
In the ladies 4 x 100m, gold went to the midlands ahead of the north east and the south east.
The Sainsbury’s School Games marks the last athletics competition held at the Don Valley and the high levels of performance provided a fitting epitaph for a truly special venue. Next year’s games will be held in Manchester. They have a lot to live up to.