Athletics

Boys' Athletics

It was another great year for athletics in Grosvenor and I must congratulate all the boys and staff who put in so much effort through out the year. Our numbers at after school practices were always around 40 and Mr Rodgers, Mr Jackson and Mr Campbell were a huge asset to our club this year.

It was nice to return to the Mary Peters track this year and the new facilities there are certainly impressive, as was the appearance of Mr White at the Senior and Inter Co. Down Championships! Proceedings kicked off with a new school record in the Senior Boys’ hammer for Matthew Allen with an impressive throw of 34:60 and not a Mercedes van in sight..... Younger brother Chris also threw well and all four of our hammer throwers made it through to the Ulster Championships. Medals started to flow thick and fast with Darren Loughlin securing two silvers in the Senior Boys’ long and triple jump. Matthew Hedley picked up a gold in the Inter Boys’ triple jump to make sure that we had a clean sweep of triple jumpers through to the Ulsters. Adam Wilson was in fine form and just missed out on Gold in the Inter Boys’ 100m by 0.05 as he set a personal best of 11.49 - not quite the school record of 11.0 set by some fellow Gibson but maybe next year Adam! Gareth Thompson secured a silver in the Inter Boys’ 200m to ensure our sprinting success continued. Solid performances from James Milligan and Isaac Richardson would mean that as a team we won the county title, and the Inter Boys’ relay rounded the day off by winning the relay in an impressive time of 46.1 ahead of last years Irish champions, Sullivan. Our Senior Boys’ relay team also qualified for the Ulster Championships and finished runners-up in the team competition! A good day was had by all, especially Mr White who discovered a new talent of bell ringing.

Not to be outdone, our Minor and Junior teams performed equally as well at their county competition. Nathan Chan and Ben Stevenson were competing in both the long and triple jump a year young and performed superbly, with Nathan going through in the triple. Andrew Proctor was sprinting well and he picked up a silver medal in the Junior Boys’ 100m, matched by Ben Gilmore in the Minor Boys’ 100m with Charlie McMullan also running well for a fourth place finish. Charlie also picked up bronze in the long jump and our relay team qualified in silver medal position in a very fast time of 55.5! The Ulster title has been won in previous years in 56s so it was indicative of the strength of our county competition this year. Our throwers were also doing some great things and Louis Borbely secured a place in the Ulster Championships in Minor Boys’ shot put. Jonny Little in his first ever competitive hurdles race surprised everyone including himself and won a bronze in the 80m! Much to come from this young Colin Jackson wannabe in the future! The number of entrants this year from Grosvenor was drastically reduced due to the GCSE LLW exam clashing with the competition and this undoubtedly affected our points score in the team competition.

The Ulster Schools’ Athletics Competition was held in horrendous conditions at the Antrim Forum. It rained solidly from 9:30am until 6:15pm when the Senior Boys’ relay finished. It really was a miserable day but our athletes performed admirably, kicked off by Matthew Allen and Chris Allen who finished 4th in their hammer competitions. Matthew Hedley finished a disappointing 5th in his triple jump competition but did get selected for the Ulster Athletics team based on his county performance. Our sprinters performed well with Andrew Proctor finishing 4th in the Junior Boys’ and Ben Gilmore picking up bronze in the Minor Boys’ 100m, despite pulling a hamstring in the last 10 metres of the race. Andrew Wright dominated the 1500m picking up a great gold medal and followed it up with a silver in the 800m. Finally our Inter Boys’ team minus Adam Wilson picked up a silver medal and securing a place in the Irish Championships which was a fantastic achievement and young Andrew Proctor deserves a lot of praise for filling in for Adam so well and being two years younger than those around him.

So it was off to Tullamore in Co Offaly next for the Irish Championships on the 1st June with 2 relay teams, Karen O'Hare in the javelin and Andrew Wright in the 1500 and 800m. I must say the standard of athletics on show was simply outstanding! The Senior Boys’ 100m was won in 10.5 into a head wind and then was followed by a 20.8 in the 200m! As an athletics geek I was quite excited! Every race seemed to bring a new record, some records were broken that had been standing for more then 30 years so to medal this year at Irish level really was something special. Our boys just missed out, with Andrew Wright coming 4th in his 1500m and 5th in this 800m. Our relay team ran a personal best and broke the school record with a 45.5 but it was only enough for 5th place! Our girls however picked up a great silver medal and I know Mrs Kirk will write more about that! All in all a great season’s athletics was had and big congratulations to all involved.

Mr A Gibson

Girls' Athletics

This year’s athletics promised to be successful with a number of very talented athletes coming through the ranks.

The season started with our annual match against Friends’ School Lisburn. This was a week earlier than normal which meant that athletes were given the opportunity to try out new events. It also allowed the coaches the opportunity to identify who was showing potential in different events as the Districts were only a few weeks away. Form 1 and Form 2 matches against local schools proved very worthwhile fixtures, giving the girls experience of running, jumping and throwing at the Mary Peters Track, the venue for the District Championships.

District Championships The first day of the Co. Down Districts was held on Wednesday 1st May at the newly refurbished Mary Peters Track. The weather was good and it promised to be a good day. As usual the Grosvenor Senior girls put in a team effort and covered most events on offer. Athletics captain Naomi Campbell led from the front, winning 3 gold medals (100m, 200m and relay). All of the girls performed admirably but special mention must go to our two 400m hurdlers, Hannah Morrow and Lauren White. A very brave effort by both girls resulted in silver and bronze medals. My only advice to them would be that if you are going to try a new event, it might be worth trying it before the actual competition!

Gold -
Naomi Campbell (Senior 100m & 200m) Anna Lockhart (Senior Long Jump) Karen O’Hare (Senior Javelin) Lisa Black (Senior Hammer) Senior Relay – Nicole Muirhead, Naomi Campbell, Holly Dornan, Anna Lockhart

Silver –
Anna Lockhart (Senior 100m) Holly Dornan (Senior 200m) Nicole Muirhead (Senior 400m) Chloe McMaster (Senior 800m) Hannah Morrow (Senior 400mH) Emma Larmour (Senior Triple Jump) Staci Maxwell (Senior Shot) Karen O’Hare (Senior Hammer)

Bronze -
Lauren White (Senior 400mH) Claire Todd (Senior Long Jump) Shannon Corbett (Senior Shot) Rachel Cullen (Senior Discus) Jenni Shaw (Senior Javelin) Deborah Stewart (Intermediate Shot)

The second day of competition was for the Mini (Form 1) and Junior (Forms 2 and 3) girls. ‘Weather-wise’ the day was not as good, with heavy rain at the start of the day. This made conditions quite difficult for athletes and officials. However Grosvenor pupils did not let the weather deter them and they produced some great performances. Our Form 1 pupils performed particularly well.

Medals were won by the following athletes:

Silver -
Louise McAnea (Mini Shot) Sophie Larmour, Ciara Irvine, Anna Smith, Megan Bell (Mini Relay) Sophie Rea (Junior 1500m)

Bronze -
Victoria Catterson (Mini Shot)

Ulster Schools Championships – Antrim, 17/18 May Friday 17th May saw the first of the Grosvenor qualifiers competing, with Lisa Black and Karen O’Hare taking part in the Senior Girls Hammer. This event was completely new to both of these pupils so to actually take up the challenge of competing at the Ulsters deserves a lot of praise. Lisa finished in 5th place and Karen 6th gaining valuable points for the Senior team event.

Waking up on Saturday morning, most athletes and officials were not looking forward to the weather that had been forecast – rain, rain and then more rain! Despite all of this rain, the Grosvenor pupils performed admirably. The Mini Girls had two individual performers in Louise McAnea and Victoria Catterson, both in the Shot. Both of these girls have worked really hard at learning and then improving their technique with Mrs Hunter. All the hard work paid off with Louise winning the bronze medal in a new personal best of 7.78m. Victoria excelled herself throwing 6.53m to finish in 7th position. These were fantastic performances from both girls considering the torrential rain that was falling at the time of the event. The Mini Girls relay team had also qualified for the Ulster Schools but unfortunately were missing their fastest runner, Megan Bell. Despite this, the team had trained hard in the lead up and changeovers were solid. The team of Sophie Larmour, Ciara Irvine, Hannah James and Anna Smith ran a terrific race in the semi finals to finish in 3rd position and qualify for the final. In the final, once again the changeovers were slick and the girls finished in 8th position. The girls have learned a lot this year and hopefully they will carry this knowledge through their years at Grosvenor both in relays and individual events.

The Junior Girls saw only one qualifier from Grosvenor: Sophie Rea in the 1500m. Sophie has excelled herself this season with her gutsy performance at the Districts catching the eye of expert coaches. Her additional training at a local club paid dividends and Sophie finished in 7th position, with a new school record of 5.18.0. Another year of full winter training should see Sophie easily making qualification next year.

The Intermediate Girls had a sole qualifier also: Deborah Stewart in the Shot. Deborah was on first thing in the morning in a highly competitive field. She finished in the top 10 with a distance of 6.90m. Again, this was a good performance from one of our ever-reliable athletes. The Senior Girls had a number of qualifiers this year. However, due to exam pressures, some of our athletes chose not to compete. Despite this, those who were there did not let themselves down. Naomi Campbell was up against some tough opposition in the sprints and finished in 5th position in both the 100m and 200m. Not bad from a girl who had only really started training properly in the previous few months. Her training partner, Nicole Muirhead, was taking part in the 400m. This is usually a difficult event but the torrential rain added into the mix made for an absolute ‘killer’. Nicole battled her way round the one lap of the track, despite the lactic acid build up, and finished in a fantastic 3rd position. Nicole was delighted with her bronze medal but couldn’t really enjoy it as the feeling of lactic in the body took its toll leaving Nicole a little ill! Anna Lockhart has been a stalwart of athletics in Grosvenor for seven years and in her last year at the school had qualified for the long jump. Again, in miserable conditions, Anna managed to finish in 4th position, gaining valuable points for the team. Karen O’Hare was out again on Saturday, this time in the javelin. She finished 4th in a very close competition which would have seen her gain a medal if she had thrown her normal best. The conditions were a contributory factor to her under performance but 4th in Ulster isn’t bad at all. Staci Maxwell took up the challenge of the shot, competing well in a tough competition. Again Staci finished in 8th position gaining even more valuable points for the team competition.

The final event for the Seniors was the 4x100m relay. Nicole Muirhead, Naomi Campbell, Holly Dornan and Anna Lockhart are seasoned performers in this event. There was high expectation for them to do well but this year there seemed to be a strong challenge from the North West. If District results were anything to go by, the girls would have to run faster than ever before. The four girls rose to the challenge and through heavy downpours they showed all present how relays should be run. Slick baton changing and determined running by all four girls resulted in the gold medal and Ulster Championship. As Anna sprinted through the line, there were cheers from pupils, parents and teachers. They had managed to retain the title – a difficult feat. Roll on the Irish Schools!

Year 9 Competition The Under 14 Team Championship began on Monday 13th May. The current group of Form 2 athletes have shown a lot of potential and we were hoping for a good result at the area competition. Up against notoriously strong schools such as Strathearn, Glenlola, Sullivan, Regent and Bloomfield, the team of 7 girls ran, jumped and threw their way to victory. Notable performances were from Anna Stanfield in the high jump and Lauren Irvine in the shot. These two girls combined with Molly Steele and Rachael Moore to make a victorious relay team.

100m – Molly Steele 800m – Olivia Lockhart High Jump – Anna Stanfield Long Jump – Niamh Mallon Shot – Lauren Irvine Javelin – Rachel Gallagher 4x100m – Molly Steele, Anna Stanfield, Lauren Irvine & Rachael Moore

As winners of the Area competition, the girls qualified for the District Final on Monday 20th May. Again, expectation was high, although this time the opposition was tougher. Once again, Anna Stanfield put in a wonderful performance in the high jump, just missing out on 1st place, but doing a personal best of 1.45m - a fantastic jump from a 13 year old. Lauren Irvine also put in a good performance to get 2nd place in the shot, throwing 7.85m. Going into the last event, Grosvenor were lying in joint 3rd position, with only points in it. The relay started with Molly Steele running a fantastic leg closing on the opposition. Then disaster struck! Molly passed the baton to Anna and Anna’s foot clipped the baton, tossing it into the air. Unfortunately the girls were unable to finish the race but they must learn from this experience. They pulled together as a team and show a lot of potential for next year when they will form the bulk of the Junior Team.

Irish Schools Championships – Tullamore Co Offaly, Saturday 1st June The Irish Schools Championships is the pinnacle of schools athletics competition in the country so to make it to this level is outstanding. The talent on show this year was of a level not seen before with records falling all afternoon. The Senior Girls were waiting all day for the penultimate event of the programme. The four girls have been here before and in their fourth year they had only one goal in mind. They finished in 2nd position last year and wanted to go one better in 2013. The girls had a great warm up and were looking sharp and focused for the final. We were in lane 2 with last year’s champions, Crescent College Limerick, in lane 1. Loreto Kilkenny (winners of the Leinster Schools) were out in lane 8 and would pose a threat with an international sprinter on the last leg. We had to get out fast and that’s exactly what we did. Nicole got the team off to a dream start, running faster than she had ever run. As she came into Naomi on the second leg, she passed the baton in first position. Naomi flew down the back straight, passing the athletes in lanes 3, 4 and 5 setting up Holly to run the bend in a good position. Holly held the lead and then passed the baton to Anna on last leg. After a text book changeover, Anna went into the home straight with a slight lead on Loreto Kilkenny out in lane 8. Anna gave it everything she had but unfortunately the athlete from Kilkenny just pipped her on the line. Silver medallists at the Irish Schools – not bad for four girls who have worked so hard over four years to get to where they are. The dedication and commitment shown by Nicole, Naomi, Holly and Anna has been second to none. I personally have been so proud of what they have achieved and I wish them all well in the future. Emotional scenes followed with the four girls ending an era, the like of which, hasn’t been seen in Grosvenor for a long time.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those teachers who have assisted and supported the girls in athletics, especially Mrs Hunter, Mrs McIlvenny, Mrs Gray and Miss Wilson. To those who are leaving Grosvenor this year and to those who will continue, may I wish you well. You have given me very fond memories of athletics at the school which I will always treasure. Always remember – you need a rugby ball to play rugby, a stick to play hockey, a bat to play cricket and a relay baton to run a relay!

Mrs K Kirk