Personal Best Galore in Glasgow for Welsh Team at SIAB Combined Events International
Welsh Schools enjoyed another positive Combined Events International performance as they matched the 2 team medals picked up at last year’s event. However, this time around, added an individual bronze with Dylan Morgan (Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr) finishing just 6 points ahead of the 4th placed athlete in the Under 16 boys’ standings.
The event saw a staggering 33 new personal bests set by Welsh athletes as well as 9 top 10 finishes overall and 8 athletes breaking the 3000 points barrier. The impressive Emirates International Arena proved a fitting backdrop for a string of fine performances, well supported by the large contingent of family and supporters who had made the long journey north.
The team of 15 plus 8 support staff had made the journey to Glasgow on Friday. After settling in and the evening meal there followed the customary team meeting led by Steve Jones, Zane Maynard and Phil Warwicker as well as passionate and heartfelt contributions from team captains Beca Roberts (Bro Pedr) and Zak Wall (Cardiff High).
Battle commenced at 10:15 on Saturday morning, the Under 18 boys were the first on the track as they tackled the 60m Hurdles, all produced personal best performances with Will Lovejoy (Monmouth Comprehensive) recording the biggest improvement taking 0.72 seconds off his previous best. Will followed this up with a second PB in the shot, a feat matched by team captain Zak Wall as he produced a stunning 12.43m putt. The Long Jump saw yet another PB for Zak as he broke the 6m barrier for another personal best of 6.43m. He was the only athlete to break the 3000 point barrier as he finished in 5th. place overall. Team-mate and debutant Evan Williams (Coleg Cambria) finished in 13th. after 5 events just pushing Will into 14th. Evan is to be congratulated on 3 new personal bests on the day as well as a new best for his points total.
The Under 16s also got underway with 60m Hurdles, following a big 9.10s PB in this first event, Dylan rattled off a further 3 personal bests with 6.04m in long jump, 23.44s in the 200 and a real burn-up over 800m as he recorded 2:17.06. There were three event bests from debutant Liam Topp (Ysgol Harri Tudur) with a 9.69 in the shot probably the most impressive. Zac Davies (Cwmtawe Comprehensive) was another to pick up 4 PBs in the hurdles (8.82s), long jump (5.23m), the 200m (24.39) and the 800m (2:23.95), this carried him to a top 10 finish overall alongside Liam. Will Hawker (Islwyn High) was another to PB in the 200m (23.69m), however a mistake early in the hurdles had ended his chances of posting an overall score. He showed great character to pick himself up and also record PBs in the shot and 800m. However, he did have the consolation of a team bronze behind winners England and Ireland in second.
There were 3 3000+ scores from our Under 18 girls as Gabby Dickinson (Llanishen High), Ellie-Rose Isaac (Glantaf) and Flavia Jenkins (Dyffryn Taf) scored 3317, 3202 and 3093 respectively to earn all 3 top 12 finishes (5th., 7th. and 12th.) with Gabby setting a new points best. This was still not enough to win a second team medal of the day, again it was England taking gold, Scotland in second and Ireland with the bronze, in what had proved to be the most competitive age grouping of the day with a team total of 9612 only good enough for 4th.
The Under 16s also produced 3 3000+ scores from Sophie Lisk (Cardiff High) as she recorded 3179 points which included a 4.86m long jump and a 2:35.01 800m (both new personal bests), Ellie-Mae Wainwright (Bassaleg) with 3110 points which was punctuated by 4 improved performances from the WSAA Championships and Lucy Wintle (Ysgol Y Preseli) with 2 new pbs. Isabella Wigley (Corpus Christi) also helped herself to 2pbs. as she impressed on debut. The girls led the team standings up to the third event but eventually slipped to 2nd. overall but can be proud of themselves after performances which showed great potential as well as capturing the second team medal of the day.
Support for athletes on the day was provided by a coach attached to each team, Fyn Corcoran (Under 18 Boys), Charlotte Wingfield (Under 16 Boys), Phil Warwicker (Under 18 Girls) and Becca Chapman (Under 16 Girls). WSAA are grateful to Welsh Athletics for the generous support which facilitated this structure. In addition to this WSAA provided 2 team managers in Joan Goldsmith and Steve Jones as well as International Secretary Zane Maynard and WSAA Chair, Dai Gatehouse. Thanks go to all who worked tirelessly on the day to help and support our young athletes and produce another memorable championship.