ATHLETICS: Taunton AC claim four golds at English schools championships (From Somerset County Gazette)
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ATHLETICS: Taunton AC claim four golds at English schools championships
2:09pm Wednesday 11th July 2012 in Sport
FOUR members of Taunton AC won gold medals at the Aviva English Schools Track and Field Championships at Gateshead at the weekend.
It was an outstanding performance for a club with such limited resources, and only Reading matched Taunton for places on the winners’ podium.
All the runners were representing Somerset, and Taunton coach Charlotte Fisher said: “It was possibly the strongest team the county has ever taken to the championships, and the athletes who were selected lived up to expectations with a haul of six medals, all of which came from Taunton-based athletes.”
Leading the way was Ronnie Wells of Court Fields School who raced to victory in the Intermediate 100 metres.
All eyes were on the 16-year-old and Wells didn’t disappoint, storming to a new legal personal best of 10.72secs in his heat and following up with 10.79s in the semi-finals.
In Friday’s final he narrowly beat old rival George Perkins to take gold in 10.81s.
Wells, who has gained a scholarship to King’s College, was on Bristol City’s books for four years but has given up his football career to concentrate on athletics.
He now represents England against Ireland, Scotland and Wales in Ashford, Kent on July 21.
Wells was by no means the only Somerset performer in outstanding form however.
High jumper Evie Grogan (Richard Huish College) followed up her recent UK Under-20 Championship win with a jump of 1.72 metres to become the Senior girls high jump champion.
Robin Danaher (King’s College) launched the javelin to a new personal best and winning distance of 66.07 metres just when it was most needed, taking the top spot on the podium in the Senior boys event.
Endurance runner Blair Brown (Queen’s College) converted his 2010 silver medal to gold with a winning performance of 5mins 54secs in the Senior boys’ 2,000m steeplechase which he led from gun to tape in fine style. Brown will now be looking to further his career at Loughborough University.
One of the youngest medallists at the televised event was 13-year- old Laurie Dawkins.
Laurie, from Staplegrove, surprised everyone by winning a silver medal in the Junior girls javelin with a personal best throw of 34.51m.
She was the only Year 8/9 girl to be selected for the Somerset team at the championships and was a full school year younger than her main rivals in the event.
It crowned a busy week for Dawkins who only days before had taken the national Prep Schools javelin title at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
Meanwhile fellow javelin thrower Josie Loxton (Queen’s College) who took bronze in the Intermediates with 38.84m.
The six medal winners, plus a further seven members of the team, all train with Taunton Athletic Club.
Not one of the competing athletes finished outside the top eight and there were some outstanding performances and personal bests amongst them.
In the Junior boys javelin competition, which was contested by 22 of the country’s top youngsters in wet and cold conditions, Taunton boys Will Larkman (Bishop Fox’s) and Archie Walton (Castle) both threw personal bests to finish fourth and fifth respectively.
Joe Walton (Castle) equalled his brother’s position with a fine run and personal best in the steeplechase.
Eliot Scott (West Somerset College) ran a personal best in the 400 metres to finish fourth, Rachel Langbein (Richard Huish College) ran a personal best of seven seconds to finish sixth in the steeplechase, and discus thrower Katie Cross picked up eighth place in her event.