ATHLETICS: Strong Wiltshire team goes to English Schools event
LOREN Bleaken will attempt to win her second English Schools’ medal in Gateshead in the next 48 hours, writes KEVIN FAHEY.
The 16-year-old Hardenhuish School student has a silver to her name from the junior girls’ 1500m in 2009 followed by fourth places in 2010 and 2010 – over 1500m and 300m respectively.
This year she switches to 800m, a distance in which she tops of the UK rankings for U17 women after clocking 2:06.79secs last month.
Marshfield’s Bleaken said: “It is my fourth English Schools’ and my second at Gateshead so I know what to expect up there which helps.
“The 800m is definitely my strongest event at the moment and while there are very good girls out there I am feeling very confident.
“I am looking for a medal and the aim is definitely to try and win gold but we’ll have to see how it goes.”
Dauntsey’s Clare Dyer, who lives in West Lavington, is among the country’s best U17 women’s pole vaulters.
The 15-year-old is in form after her victory in the South West Championships and won the UK Schools’ title at the Olympic Stadium in May.
Sheldon School’s Alex Stainthorpe, who cruised to victory in the South West Schools’, goes in the senior girls’ 3000m .
Calne’s Morgan Gascoigne, ranked in the country’s top 10 at both the long and triple jumps, competes in the latter.
Pewsey’s Nikko Hunt won a pole vault bronze at the National Indoor Championships in February, but broke his elbow the next day.
The 14-year-old is still unable to completely straighten his left arm, but is ranked in the top three in the country in his age group and goes in the junior boys event.
Nearly half of the Wiltshire squad are in the top 10 national rankings.
The team, officially announced on Tuesday at Devizes School by team manager Tim Whiting, will be captained by Gascoigne and high jumper Jamie Poulton, of Bishop Wordsworth's School.
Whiting said: “Wiltshire's record at the event has always been good and with this team, we hope to make even more of an impact this year.’’
WILTSHIRE athletes tasted success at the South West Combined Event in Exeter .
There were impressive performances from Grace Redmond (St Laurence School, Bradford on Avon), who was second in the junior girls pentathlon and Emily Dixon (St Augustines, Trowbridge) who won the inter girls heptathlon.
For the boys, Gio Downie (Stonehenge) was fifth in the inter boys octathlon and Ben Davies fourth in the senior boys decathlon.
The athletes will represent Wiltshire at September’s National Championships in Bedford.
In the team events, the inter boys and inter girls both finished second.