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ESAA National Championships 2015

Andover AC athletes secured a double medal haul at this year’s English School’s National Championships held at Gateshead’s International Stadium on the 10th and 11th July with five athletes representing their respective Counties.

Following selection to their respective county teams Andover AC athletes Holly Mills (Inter Girls long jump, Hampshire), Will Westmacott (Junior Boys 80m hurdles, Dorset), Scott Barker (Senior Boys 400m, Hampshire), Tom Hewson (Junior Boys javelin, Hampshire), and Evie Wilcox (Senior Girls discus, Hampshire) made the long journey north to the impressive Gateshead International Stadium.

In her third ESAA Championships Holly Mills went into the long jump as the current UK number 1 but faced stiff competition from the ever-improving current England International Eleanor Broome. The competition was slightly hampered by strong winds affecting all of the girls distances, but despite this Holly and Eleanor quickly asserted their dominance over the rest of the field. After six rounds Holly finished in second place. Despite being disappointed with her jumps being below her current personal best Holly was rewarded with her first international call up for this weeks SIAB international in Scotland.

Everyone at AAC wished Holly the best of luck for this exciting chapter in her athletics career.

In his last ever ESAA championship Scott Barker was out to show what a talent he is over the quarter mile. After years of injuries Scott has managed to keep himself healthy and injury free for two seasons, this combined with careful planning, and hard work has helped drastically reduced his PB. Scott dominated his heat and scorched to a new PB of 48.38, going into the final as the third fastest qualifier. After a day’s rest Scott was back on track to contend the final, after another solid race Scott narrowly missed a bronze by two tenths of a second to finish in a respectable fifth place just outside his PB with 48.39. Scott was also part of the seniors boys 4x100m relay that showed some slick changes and good leg speed to capture a well-deserved bronze medal.

Away from the Championships Scott has recently been selected to be part of the England 4x400m squad at the Welsh International in July. Having two current internationals within one club is a great achievement and shows that commitment and high aspirations produces results.

In his first ever ESAA championships Will ran the race of his life to smash his PB but missed the final by the narrowest of margins, one one hundredth of a second. This performance was particularly impressive considering Will is away at boarding school and had only trained at AAC five times before the Championships. Will is a huge talent and is now focused on making the final at the forthcoming national track and field championships held in Bedford later this year.

Making his debut at the ESAA championships young talent Tom Hewson was looking to build on a superb season where he had established himself as the UK ranked number 1 Junior Boys javelin thrower qualifying with a tremendous performance at the County Championships back in May, with a huge throw of 49.26m that took gold, and secured the UK number 1 ranking.

At Gateshead Tom opened with a sensational planned throw of 48.07m, setting the standard for close UK rivals Max Law and Isaac Hay to follow. The experienced Law responded with an impressive throw of 48.87m just before the cut, and after three rounds it was just the three rivals head to head fighting for top honours. Tom fought hard to replicate the form that had secured him his number 1 ranking, and came extremely close only to be eclipsed by a throw from Law of 50.25m.

Taking silver on his debut was a major success for a dedicated athlete who is destined for higher honours. He has benefited from training in Finland coached by ex-world champions Kimmo Kinnunen and Tero Pitkamaki, and has recently started training at Loughborough. Tom will go all out at the EA National Championships at Bedford in August, focused on regaining his number 1 status, proving what a phenomenal talent he is.

In the Senior Girls discus the highly talented multi-thrower Evie Wilcox was looking to build on her previous successes, with this being her fifth appearance at the Championships. Currently ranked 6th in the UK rankings Evie faced some of best throwers in the country.

On the back of a brilliant performance at the EA U20/23 National Championships where she threw an all-time best of 42.62m Evie had her sights firmly set on taking honours at Gateshead.

Although managing a solid throw of 38.96m this was not quite enough to secure a podium place, with UK ranked number 2 Georgie Taylor taking top honours with a throw of 47.45m. Evie will undoubtedly come back to take further honours, this hard working, multi-talented athlete has huge potential and is yet to reach her peak.