Athletics – Ulster Schools Track and Field Championships 2018

Congratulations to Grosvenor Grammar School’s talented squad of track and field athletes which performed superbly at the Ulster Schools Athletics Championships, held at The Antrim Forum on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th May, securing an incredible six gold medals as the team enjoyed its most successful Ulster Schools meet in recent memory.

Grosvenor’s gold rush began on Friday evening when Year twelve pupil Gareth Campbell narrowly held off a late charge from teammate Andrew Hagen to secure first place, in a time of 4 minutes 49.45seconds, as GGS enjoyed an impressive 1-2 in the Intermediate Boys 1500 metres steeplechase. Within an hour of this victory, however, Grosvenor’s gold count had been doubled as Year Fourteen athlete Jonny Little, in his last ever Ulster Schools race, was rewarded for his dogged determination by topping the podium in the gruelling Senior Boys 3000 metres walk, in a time of 22 minutes, 50.56 seconds.

Such a successful first evening proved hugely important in setting the tone for the meet as a whole, as the School’s athletes soon set about adding further to their haul on the main day of competition on Saturday. Throughout the course of the day cheers could regularly be heard from the GGS contingent in attendance, as medal upon medal was added to the School’s overall count. Amongst a series of impressive performances, perhaps the highlight was Junior Girls sprinter Jenna Breen, Year Ten, who outpaced the opposition to claim gold in first the 100 metres, and then the 200 metres sprint, in 13.11 and 26.62 seconds respectively. In addition the Junior age group proved a particularly successful one as, this time on the boys side, Year Ten pupil Dylan McBride added to last year’s Minor Boys gold in the same event by claiming first place in the Junior Boys 1500 metres event in 4 minutes 18.74 seconds. Not content with their day’s work, however, the School’s athletes finished the day off in style as both the Senior Girls 4 x 100 metres team, comprising Claire McKane, Holly Brannigan, Anna Stanfield and Sophie Larmour, as well as the Mini Girls 4 x 100 team of Eva Wainright, Mia Ferguson, Ellie Burgess and Amelee McCullough, transported the precious baton around the track with a rapidity than their rivals were unable to match, to each secure gold in respective times of 52.53 and 56.22 seconds.

In addition to Andrew Hagen’s second place finish in Friday evening’s Inter Boys steeplechase, further silver medals were secured on Saturday by Sophie Larmour (Senior Girls 100metres; 13.39 seconds), Helena Rieske (Junior Girls Discuss; 25.93 metres), Nathan Chan (Senior Boys Triple Jump; 13.37 metres) and Jordan Brown (Senior Boys High Jump; 1.60 metres), as well as both the Junior Girls relay team (Neve Armstrong, Jenna Breen, Sarah McCreery, Erin Tumilson; 53.11 seconds) and the Inter Boys 4 x 100 team (Lewis Hamilton, Nathan Stewart, Joseph McNaughton, Adam Sykes; 45.88s). 

Finally, impressive performances were also recorded by Sarah McCreery (Junior Girls Triple Jump; 9.45 metres), Adam Sykes (Inter Boys 100 metres; 12.07 seconds) and Stephen Wright (Inter Boys 800 metres; 2 minutes 05.91s) in claiming bronze medals, despite incredibly fierce opposition in each of their respective events. 

As is reflected by the lengthy list of achievers referred to above, this year’s Ulster Schools Championships proved, even by Grosvenor’s high standards, a hugely successful one - as also evidenced by the second place finish of its Junior Girls in the overall team event – just one point behind the winners. Well done to the many athletes who gave of their best over the two days and who have trained tirelessly throughout the winter months in order to reach peak physical condition in time for the track season. In addition a huge debt of gratitude is extended to the School’s dedicated team of coaches, led by Mrs Karen Kirk and Mr Andrew Gibson, without whose commitment and expertise GGS would not enjoy the level of success that it consistently does, year-upon-year, on the track and in the field.

All at Grosvenor wish its qualifiers the best of luck at the forthcoming ‘Irish Life Health All Ireland Schools Track and Field Championships’, due to be held in Tullamore on Saturday 2nd June – we look forward to, hopefully, reporting on many more Grosvenor successes from this elite level competition.

 

 

Grosvenor's gold medal-winning Senior Girls 4 x 100 metres relay team of (from left to right): Sophie Larmour, Anna Stanfield, Claire McKane and Holly Brannigan, pictured with their coach Mrs Kirk following their blistering performance on Saturday 19th May. 

Grosvenor Year Ten pupil Jenna Breen proudly displays her brace of gold medals following her victories in both the Junior Girls 100 metre and 200 metre sprint events at this year's Ulster Schools Championships. 

Year Ten pupil Dylan McBride prepares to receive his gold medal following victory in the Junior Boys 1500 metres event - his second victory in as many years at the Ulster Schools Championships.