Well it’s the athletics season. Time to find the old school vest from the back of the wardrobe and brush the cross-country mud from the spikes as we prepare to run, jump and throw to success. The school is seeking to defend our district title (overall) and age group titles once again at District Athletics. As we’ve won the overall boys title for 17 years in a row, we’re at the risk of sounding arrogant. Pretty damn good, with English schoolboy internationals such as Harry Harste having left the school achieving great things during his time and Ben Hellmers, last year 6th in the UK 10km U-20 rankings, this year even faster narrowly beating Noel Thatcher (see interview elsewhere in paper), we have a reputation to uphold. So the informer is issuing you this guide to the future talents and athletics prospects to watch out for!
Ian Tobin. Events; long jump, 100, 200m Year; 10 House; Chantry
Man of all sports, broke the UK age-group long jump record in year 7, struggled after that to beat that enormous jump but is now back to setting personal bests. A great sprinter to go with his long jumps, Ian holds county and district records at Long Jump and multiple county titles. Looks set to only get better
Tom Smith. Events; 1500, 3000m, XC Year; 10 House; Chantry
Last year, this guy scared me. A stunning 4:37 for 1500 and 10:09 for 3000 was uncomfortably close to my own times ( being 2 years older!) and far faster than I’d ever gotten close to at that age. Very fluent style and has a strong finishing kick, brilliant win at Districts in year 8, sitting in till 200m to go behind two others before kicking. Schools first finisher in our English Schools XC cup round. Had a clear win over 1500m at last year’s sports day and will be looking to repeat.
Alex Moore. Events 100, 200, Triple Jump, Long Jump Year; 9 House;
I was talking to Alex’s club team manager the other day. “He’s a born winner and got the grit and determination to make sure” were his comments. Won the Hertfordshire sports hall title and competed in the national final against athletes a year older and did extremely well. Mainly a triple jumper given the choice but due to UKA rules can’t compete regularly till he becomes an u-17. Despite being a sprinter was extremely unlucky not to win a place on the school top 4 XC team, this is practically unheard of!
Joe Hazell. Events; 800, 1500 Year; 10 House; Chantry
Unlucky in some ways to be in the same year as Tom Smith as in any other year Joe would be being lauded as one of the school’s most promising athletes ever. Has strong endurance and unfortunately injuries hampered what appeared to be a very impressive XC season, yet still placed top 8 in the County XC champs. Broken the 5 minute barrier for 1500m which means a top 3 placing at Districts should be assured. Stalwart of the team.
If I have one thing to say (and usually I do), it’s that athletics is the one sport where you can make something of yourself regardless of how much talent you have. It’s quite simply level of effort = level of success. Yes, the guys above are incredibly good. Winning even a school year title requires you be the best of 150 pupils (in TBSHS often to take your year title you’ll have to in the process beat the district champion) a district title the best of 1200 pupils. Yet it’s do-able, I started athletics as year 7 b-string 1500m runner as no-one else would do it. Now I’m still b-string, but for the county team with only an international ahead of me. If I can do it so can you! So get out there and enjoy yourselves. It’ll come in time.
About the author: Current u-20 Herts. 5000m record-holder, u-20 county 5000m gold, 3000m gold, team XC gold, individual XC silver, 800 bronze. 5 Herts vests. Top 50 UK u-20 5000m ranking.