WILTSHIRE’S golden girls took the South West Schools’ Track & Field Championships by storm with a magnificent medal haul at the Exeter Arena, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

The county’s female athletes won 26 medals including 11 golds, nine silvers and six bronze medals to eclipse their male colleagues whose 14-medal haul comprised four golds and five apiece of silver and bronze.

Arguably the top performance of the meeting came from Dauntsey’s 15-year-old Nikko Hunt, who set a new championship record of 4.30m to win the inter boys’ pole vault title.

The mark added six centimetres to his personal best and lifted Hunt to sixth in the UK rankings for U17 men, making him a genuine podium contender at the English Schools’ Championships in Birmingham next month.

Salisbury’s Sophie Merrit achieved double gold success in the inter girls’ shot and discus, with excellent support from Devizes School’s Emily Hutchinson with silver in the shot.

Also in the discus, Ellie-J Webb of Matravers School finished third and added a silver in the hammer, with Katie Phillips, of St Augustine’s College, Trowbridge, claiming bronze in the senior girls hammer.

Sheldon School’s 15-year-old Gemma Shephard ran away with the inter girls’ 1500m title and clocked 4:37.33secs in blustery conditions – her third fastest of the season.

Sprint hurdler Grace Redmond, of St Laurence School (Bradford on Avon), also caught the eye with gold in the inter girls’ 300m hurdles in a personal best of 45.24secs, lifting her to fifth in the UK rankings for U17 women. She also added silver in the 80m hurdles.

Devizes School’s Sophie Hay sprinted to victory in the senior girls’ 100m hurdles.

Dauntsey’s Clare Dyer kept Wiltshire’s fine pole vaulting tradition going, the 16-year-old retaining her inter girls’ title with 3.40m, the same height she reached 12 months ago. Lauren Robinson made it a one-two with silver.

The only gold medal in the junior girls’ age group was John of Gaunt sprinter Zoe Mattacks as she sped to victory in the 100m in 12.46secs.

There was also silver for St Mary’s School, Calne, youngster Yasmin Watling in a strong junior girls’ 1500m.

Matravers School’s Will Kennedy won the inter boys’ 100m, helped the county relay squad to win the 4x100m title and also finished runner-up in the 200m.

There was also gold for Dauntsey’s Jacob Platt, the Urchfont youngster, who trains in Andover, winning the inter boys’ 800m in 1:57.0.

The other Wiltshire gold medal winners were Alex Mundell (senior girls’ 800m), Eleanor Ingram (senior javelin) and the senior girls’ sprint relay squad which also included Clarendon College student Abi Davies, who picked up silvers in both the 100m and 200m.

Wiltshire retained the overall and inter girls’ titles.