English Schools success

Mia McIntosh, leading in orange vest, won gold in the junior girls' 75m hurdles.
Mia McIntosh, leading in orange vest, won gold in the junior girls' 75m hurdles.

Dacorum and Tring AC are

celebrating their best set of results from the English Schools Athletics Champs with a record haul of two gold and four silver medals.

Mia McIntosh and Josh Woods were crowned national champions at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium, while Katie Webb, Destiny Ogali and Dan Hopper won silver medals.

Josh and Destiny were also part of the Herts team that won silver in the 4x100 relay.

The six-medal haul is a record for the club, which has recorded impressive results over the past two years with district, county and regional titles won by their youngsters. The total of 15 D&T athletes meeting English Schools standards was also a record.

New recruit Mia smashed the competition in the junior girls’ 75m hurdles final with a winning time of 11.15. En route to the final she won her heat in a national-standard time of 11.04 and went even faster in winning her semi-final in 11.01 – placing her firmly on top of the UK rankings to date.

Josh won his national crown in the intermediate boys’ triple jump, with a gold medal leap of 14.37m – a national standard mark and a new PB of over half-a-metre.

Joining them on the podium were silver medallists Katie, Destiny and Dan.

Katie, a throwing specialist, was second in the junior girls’ discus with a national-standard throw of 32.61m.

Destiny, who has only been training at the club for a season, showed he is a sprinter with a brilliant future. He won his heat in the intermediate boys’ 100m with a national-standard time of 10.90. He went on to win his semi-final in 10.79, the fastest of all eight qualifiers and the fastest U17s time of the year to date.

In the final, he gave it his all, finishing a close second to Raphael Bouju, of Beds, who has been competing at the highest levels in the UK and internationally for four years.

Long jumper Dan Hopper, in the senior boys, hit a silver-medal leap of 7.33m, beating a club record that had stood since 1991. It vaulted him into third place in the UK rankings.

Destiny and Josh won a second medal apiece as part of the Herts 4 x 100 relay team in the intermediate boys.

In the final, Herts were pipped to the line by Surrey, but the Herts boys won silver with their time of 43.27, the third fastest time of 2018.

In other notable performances, Marli Jessop finished just 0.08 seconds off the podium in fourth place in the intermediate girls 80m hurdles in 11.52, a phenomenal result considering she was the youngest of the finalists. On her way to the final, she finished second in her heat in a national standard time of 11.34, and second in her semi-final in 11.42.

Thomas Ashton, a middle distance runner, has also turned his talents to pole vaulting and qualified for English Schools with a leap of 3.15m, well above the entry standard (3.05m). He went on to finish fifth out of 12 competitors in the junior boys at Birmingham with a PB 3.20m.

Milly Gall, the 2017 junior girls’ English Schools long jump champion, moved up an age group this year and hit 5.40m in the intermediate girls long jump to finish ninth, while Ralph Williams qualified for the intermediate boys 100m hurdles final with a quick 13.72 in his heat. A mishap at the start of the final left him in eighth place in 14.20.

Amy Thurgood, the sole D&T athlete for Beds, finished 13th in the senior girls’ high jump (1.58m).

Amy Wright was 15th in the country in the intermediate girls’ hammer (41.75m). She met the English Schools entry standard with a PB 48.10m, an outright club best.

Four other D&T athletes met the tough English Schools entry standards and competed in Birmingham.

Lily Norwood just missed out on qualifying for the final of the junior girls’ 100m with a heat time of 13.04, while Joseph Chamberlain was unlucky to run in a slow heat of the junior boys’ 1500m, finishing in a time below his recent PB (4.19). Amelia Woodnick was third in her heat in the intermediate girls’ 80m hurdles in a fast time of 11.73 and ran a solid 12.02 in the semi-final, narrowly missing out on the final. Tom Wright also qualified for the meet in the senior boys’ high jump with a PB 1.95m but was unable to attend.

Kristian Imroth qualified for the intermediate boys’ 1500m steeplechase (4.31.73) at a match in Bromley in May. He has since moved to another club but won the English Schools 1500m steeplechase in a PB 4.21.31, the leading time in the UK this year.

Club statistician Paul Burton noted that D&T contributed 44 per cent of Hertfordshire’s medals.

The county finished fifth in the standings. Including Kristian’s win, if the club were a county itself, if would have ranked 13th out of the 44 participating counties.