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English Schools Regional Combined Events - Mansfield 22/23 rd June 2024

Submitted by Joe on

A gifted group of 9 athletes from Oxfordshire schools headed to Mansfield with real confidence that many of them would make the finals in September in Stoke. The team atmosphere was great and the support from parents was excellent throughout the two days.

Junior Boys

The Junior Boys (U15) started the program on day one with the 80 mt hurdles. Erlgean A-Mensah (Bicester School) led the way winning the first event equalling his PB of 12.8 sec. Sam Long (Our Ladies Ab.) was our only other Jun Boy and Sam had never competed in a hurdles race before so setting a new PB was a great start as he finished in 16.9 sec. 

The second event in the Jun Boys pentathlon was the shot and whilst Sam had another PB of 6.12 mts. Erlgean was only slightly off his best putting 8.77 mts. This moved him from top spot down to 4th.  A good couple of events for the boys came next however with both scoring fantastic PB in the long and high jumps. Erlgean jumped 5.36 and 1.50 respectively whilst same executed the long jump of the day to smash his long jump PB by over a metre jumping 4.71 and 1.35 in the high jump. 

Erlgean was now in 2nd place and was prepared to battle for the win with his best event the 800 mts to come. However it would need a herculean effort as he started the race 297 points behind the leader. This meant he would need to beat his opponent by some 25 sec to win. After the first lap this did not look likely as his opponent was within touching distance. As Erlgean pushed the pace his opponent started to flounder and the gap began to increase as Erlgean finished his opponent was barely at the 100mt start but he put in a good sprint finish to reduce the deficit to a mere 20 sec. Sam ran a good race but the trials of the day had sapped his legs and he finished in 2:31.8 to complete his pentathlon in a sparkling 12th place.  Erlgean’s second spot saw him gain our first place in the finals in September. Both boys had a great day and will go from strength to strength.

Inter Boys

The first of 2 days of competition for the Inter Boys, Kyle Rayson (Heyford Park), Lincoln Jones (Fitzharrys), Aedrin Jayatilake (Fitzharrys) and Aidan Williams (Chipping Norton), would see the boys not only having a great time – supporting each other as well as our other athletes and their opponents – but also having some great highs and a costly low.

First up – the long jump Lincoln got the them off to a good start jumping 6.21 mts closely followed by Aidan with a first ever jump over 6 mts. Aedrin followed with a huge pb of 5.86 mts whilst Kyle just missed a pb with his 5.65 cm 1 cm below his best. This meant after the first event the boys where first team lying in positions 2,3,4 and 6.

The discus and javelin followed with the first major disaster of the weekend as Lincoln had 3 no throws in the javelin. This meant the team first place was now under pressure and everyone was aware that every point would count. In terms of performance Aidan had 2 pbs with a 25.26 mt disc and a 19.64 mt jav.  Lincoln managed a disc pb of 24.13 mt whilst Kyle threw 22.70 mts in the disc and 20.84 mt in the jav. Meanwhile Aedrin had a disc pb of 23.25 mt but saved the best til last as he threw a huge jav of 43.28 for a new pb and sufficient to keep the team in first place and put himself into first place!

The 400 mts was the last event on day one Aedrin ran 59.4 sec Lincoln 56.8 sec, Kyle 57,3 sec and with the second best time of the day Aidan ran a pb of 54.9 sec keeping the team in first place overnight and putting himself up from 7th place to 4th. Aedrin onposition as the 4th slowest 400 mt runner.

Day 2 – the guys were up for the win! !00 hdls was the first event but sadly this would be the second disaster of the weekend as Aedrin whilst leading heat one and heading for a good pb caught both feet in hurdle 8 and dislocated his knee. The accident shocked the whole crowd and Aedrin was clearly in a lot of pain and stress an ambulance attended and he was taken to hospital and thankfully the knee was re-set fairly quickly but some nerve damage meant he would need to stay in overnight in Nottingham to regain feeling in his toes. The track was delayed for an hour and I think this was useful in that it gave us all time to relax after the terrible shock – the other 3 boys were clearly in no state to continue at that moment. 

Kyle had been in Aedrins race and had finished in a time of 15.7 sec a remarkable achievement as Aedrin had fallen into Kyles lane and impeded him – he would also have bettered his pb as he still ran just 0.3 sec off his existing pb. 

As race 2 got underway with Aidan and Lincoln both due to perform there was a palpable tension in the crowd as no one wanted a repeat of the first heat. The guys were fearless however clattering through hurdles 8-10 coming home in first and second place! Aidan won 14.9 sec (3rd fastest time of the day) whilst Lncoln set a new PB of 15.4 sec – both unbelievable performances considering the circumstances.

The high jump was the 6th event and with all 3 remaining athletes having pbs over 1.65 mts hopes still remained high of a shot at the team gold. Sadly all 3 were down on their respective pb’s and Aidan hurt his ankle meaning he couldn’t get higher than 1.53 mts. The shot was the 7th event and after the first round in which all 3 had no throws due to a poor performance by the official in charge (who stood at the wrong side of the boys so couldn’t possibly have seen the throws) they were all forced to a standing throw and as a result the end performances were down on what would have been required to maintain a lead for the team.  The dreaded 1500 mts was the final event and whilst hopes had been dashed of a team win it was still plausible that Aidan could finish on the podium. With a great run of 5:01.3 min and a second place in the race he was justly rewarded with a 3rd place overall and a place in the finals in Stoke. Lincoln and Kyle finished 7 th and 8 th respectively – remarkable when you know Lincoln had no score from the javelin! He finished 465 pts behind the winner but his normal javelin throw of 30-32 mts would have been enough for the overall win and a team win despite losing Aedrin.


Senior Boy

Archie Street, (Chipping Norton) well what can you say ? Archie led from gun to tape in the senior boys decathlon. He not only won 9 of the 10 events (slipped up in the shot) but managed to do it all by only setting one PB throughout the whole weekend – the pole vault at 3mt 40 cms. Archie was 5th in the finals at Bedford in 2023 and is determined to win this year. His overall total points (6336) is the best from all the regional rounds and is the 4 th best in the UK this year.  Archie won by over one thousand points and as a result actually didn’t need to show his prowess in the 1500 mts – but he did! Imagine if he really tried!!


Inter Girl

Kimberley Gladwell was one of only two girls representing Oxfordshire this year. Kimberley was our only Inter Girl and   she managed 2 pbs over the weekend - 200 27.5 = pb 800 2:33.1 pb. She did get very close to a few of her other life time bests however which meant overall she added 150 pts to her existing overall points total. Her 800 mts was a great run as she chased the leader home ensuring that she moved right up the points table from 13th position to finish 7 th at the death. A great effort and a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.


Junior Girl

Elysia Chilvers (Gillots) started her ‘new’ career as a multi event athlete with what she thought was a disapointing hurdles, however despite being below her pb (it was into a 2.5 Headwind) she finished 2nd overall and this cheered her up! Elysia went on to produce the 2nd best performance of the day in the long jump (it was a massive pb and would have qualified her for English Schools) 5.11 mts  A slight under performance in the shot was followed by a big high jump pb as she cleared 1.44 mts for the first time. This cemented her in 2nd place overall and she went on to beat the eventual overall winner in final event the 800mts with a time of 2:38.2 mins. 

So Elysia completed the weekends activities with a great quote ‘’this has been my favourite athletics experience to date…’’ a great comment from our youngest athlete.

So Oxfordshire has 4 athletes heading to Stoke in September  Erlgean, Elysia, Aidan and Archie. 

If you would like to take part in combined events athletics next years regional round will be held at Abingdon!!

Pete O’Keefe

CE Schools TM