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George Elliott among a host of Essex contenders at English Schools
ESSEX athletes begin their campaign for English Schools Championships glory today – with plenty of medal contenders from the south of the county in their ranks.
Included in a strong Essex team in Gateshead are previous English Schools champions Kaylee Dodd, Poppy Lake, Mitch Etheridge and Hayley McLean, while there are plenty more athletes ready to stake a claim for a medal.
At the forefront of those is Eastwood School’s rising middle-distance star George Elliott who tops the national under-15 rankings over both the 800m and 1,500m after running a blistering 1m 58.6s last weekend.
Elliott, right, is likely to run the 800m in Gateshead, where he faces a punishing schedule of three races in two days should he make the final.
And with his sub two-minute time set at the weekend, he is sure to be the runner to beat in the junior boys’ field.
“It’s going to be tough if I get through all the rounds,” said Elliott, the silver medallist at this year’s English School’s Cross-Country Championships. “But my coach has had me working hard on my stamina so hopefully that pays off.
“It’s going to be a bit weird because a lot of the rivals I usually race against in cross-country are doing the 1,500m. So there will be quite a few people I don’t know too well though I know one of the athletes has run sub-two minutes as well, so it will be tough.”
Elliott says there were signs the 1m 58s he ran last week at a blustery Melbourne Park, Chelmsford, at the National Schools Track & Field Cup final, was coming.
“I’ve been doing a lot of 200m reps in training at about 30s pace. I thought if I could do 16 of them with a 100m walk recovery, I could put that together over two laps. I went round in 58s and held on.”
The time was the second fastest ever by an Essex under-15 athlete behind James Shane’s 1m 58.39s set in 2004.
Like Elliott, there will be a host of athletes racing in the English Schools for the first time including Taylor Hartman (Southend High School for Boys), Jack Longhurst (FitzWimarc), James Pearson (William Edwards), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Eastwood), Bradley Barrett (Southend High School for Boys), Thomas Head (William Edwards), Millie Smith (FitzWimarc), Michelle Hughes (Southend High School for Girls), Gemma Holloway (William Edwards) and one of the youngest team members Jodie Judd (Castle View).
Also in the squad are William Edwards pair Khai Riley-Laborde and Robbie Clarricoats, Matthew Scott (Southend High School for Boys), Archie Leeming (Castle View), Josh Olawore (Havering Sixth-Form College), Liam Yarwood (Seevic) and Robert Wood (Southend High School for boys).