Tomlinson jumps to English Schools title - the first for Blue Star since 1997

Cleo Tomlinson
Cleo Tomlinson

The English Schools Track and Field Championships are the highlight of the season for all young athletes, with selection for the county teams an achievement in itself, as stringent entry qualification performances are required.

This year’s championships were held this year at Alexandra Stadium, Birmingham and the Blue Stars had seven athletes selected across the age groups, Cleo Tomlinson (junior girls’ long jump), Seb Wallace (junior boys’ 80m hurdles), Dan Dearden (junior boys’ pole vault), Matt O’Dwyer (junior boys’ shot), Peanut Meekings (intermediate girls’ javelin), Leo Walker (intermediate boys’ discus) and Harry Baker (senior boys’ high jump).

Tomlinson jumped 5.22m to qualify for the final of the long jump and then on the following day’s final had a fifth round jump of 5.70m, which was a huge personal best and took her into the lead.

Although her closest rival leapt 5.69m in the final round, Tomlinson held on to take a tremendous victory and with it the title of English Schools champion - the first Blue Star to win a schools title since 1997. This also set a new county record for an under-15 girls.

Wallace ran well to reach the final of the 80m hurdles, where having run a personal best 11.37sec in his heat, he ran 11.44 to finish in an excellent fifth place in the final.

Dan Dearden cleared 3.20m to take sixth place in the pole vault and Peanut Meekings threw 38.35m for eighth place in the javelin.

At the recent Sussex Under-15 League match held at Broadbridge Heath the Blue Star team put in another good performance to finish in second place scoring 204 points to winners Crawley’s 273 points but ahead of East Grinstead (117 points), Worthing (102 points), Chichester (82 points) and Haywards Heath (30 points).

Wallace had three victories in the boys’ events, winning the 80m hurdles in 11.5, the high jump with a clearance of 1.68m, with club-mate Hari Brogan jumping 1.60m to win the B string, and then taking the long jump with a leap of 5.84m, with Matt O’Dwyer winning the B string with 5.16m.

O’Dwyer then went on to win the shot event with a throw of 11.34m and there was a good run in the 800m where Matty Smith ran a personal best time of 2min 11.2sec in winning the 800m.

Both Callum Palmer and Jake Hogton achieved three second places, Palmer finishing second in the B races of 100m (13.3) and the 80m hurdles (14.6) and then throwing 22.64m for second place in the javelin, while Hogton was taking second places in the hammer (18m), the shot (7.45m) and the discus (21.10m). Dan Dearden having cleared 3.35m for second place in the pole vault then threw the javelin 22.53m for another second placing.

The girls events saw Jasmine Belshaw finish second in the 100m in 13.4, with team-mate Eve Vince-Odozi also finished second in the B race in 13.6. Belshaw then competed in the javelin event where her throw of 25.68m also saw her finish second.

Alina Hillicks took second places in the shot (6.33m) and the discus where she threw a personal best 22.32m. Hayley Emerson took first places in the B strings of the hammer (14.61m) and the javelin (19.33m). The 4x100m relays saw both teams finish second with boys’ team running 50.1 and the girls’ team 53.4.