In the annual highlight of the Sussex schools athletics scene, competitors had to battle the elements at a rain-sodden and windy championships in Crawley.
Despite the conditions Chichester-area athletes emerged with a host of medals and performances which will put them in line to make the Sussex squad in the English schools championships in Birmingham in July.
Perhaps the outstanding performance of the day was from Leo Stallard in the senior boys’ 2000m steeplechase, winning with a new personal best, a Chichester Runners club record and a UK top-ten time of 6min 14sec.
In the same age group Ned Potter was near his best with third place in 9.08 in the 3000m while Ben Collins bravely hung on to finish third after a blistering first lap in the 800m.
Elsewhere in the seniors, Chichester had three finalists in the 100m – Isaac Kilroy, Max Lambkin and Cellan Robinson – with Lambkin also picking up silver in his more favoured 200m.
In the field events, Alfie Spurle was just shy of 11m in the triple jump while the Seaford College trio of Caelen Stanton, Rupert Blackwell and Joe Spiby made their mark in shot, javelin and discus.
In the intermediate age group there were two winning performances for Chichester, one at Crawley and the other at the Hampshire championships.
Oliver Beach unleashed the discus to better 40m for the first time with the heavier 1.5kg weight in his first year in this age group, good enough to win the competition and put him into the UK top 20, sixth in his year with a throw of 40.80.
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At Portsmouth, Bohunt pupil Liam Dunne continued in his winning ways with a tactical 1500m in 4.21.3, 20 seconds outside his best but enough to secure English schools selection as Dunne has already achieved the qualifying times for both 800m and 1500m.
Back at Crawley, Jacob Piper ran a PB of 11.47 to make the final of the 100m while DJ Barth was in good form in third in a blustery 100m hurdles.
Jack Wadman had his best throw in the shot with 10.49 while the two javelin throwers made it six personal bests out of six at Crawley with Sam Spiby throwing 34.48 and George Goldsmith 29.75.
In the junior age group, medals were harder to come by but there was a fine exhibition of sprinting over 100m and 200m from Elijah Green, Ben Rose and Zack Keulemans with all three making the finals and Green picking up a bronze in the 100m, a feat matched by Hugo Martell in the shot put with exactly 10m.
Another competitor at the Hampshire event was Joe Mclarnon, a pupil at Ditcham Park School, who used his confidence over 800m to good effect to snatch silver in a time of 2.11.1, just half a second off his best run in much better conditions.
Fleur Hollyer showed her sprinting technique is getting better all the time. She won the silver medal in the intermediate girls’ 200m and earned Sussex selection for the upcoming inter-counties meeting in Kent.
In the senior girls’ category, Rachel Laurie, having recently switched from 400m to 800m, took gold in her first competitive outing over the distance, while Phoebe Pontet claimed bronze in the 200m.
In the junior girls’ age group, Sophie Dudman timed at 12.97sec for fourth spot in the 75m hurdles.
There were battling performances in difficult conditions from Nicole Boltwood in the intermediate girls’ 1500m and Cerys Dickinson in the junior girls’ 800m while sprinters Lila Stone and Izzy Holcroft both ran well over 100m and 200m respectively.
Chichester’s throwers shone, with Lucie Munday setting a lifetime best of 32.52. to win the senior girls’ hammer, a feat matched by Maya Solly in the intermediate girls’ discus.
In the intermediate girls’ shot, Brooklyn Santer-Smith and Millie Grant were both in the top four with 9.77m and 9.34m respectively while Freya Chandler set a new PB of 34.96 in the javelin.