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Williams wins English Schools!

Emily Williams come of age with a truly scintillating performance at the English Schools Championships to win the Inter-Girls 800m final and be crowned English Schools Champion, and in so doing secure selection to compete for England in the British Schools International in Dublin in a weeks time, her first International on track.

Emily was under intense pressure going into the competition as the highest ranked athlete, but she did what champions must do and produced a top level performance when it mattered most to smash her PB and take athletics most prestigious championship Gold for school age athletes in style, her first major track championship.

Emily Williams English Schools Inter-Girls 800m Champion

Williams had a tricky draw in the qualifying rounds squared up against Ellie Farrow and Annie Testar both closely matched to her PB, and with just the first two from the three heats guaranteed to progress there was no room for errors. She ran a composed race taking it on from the offset, and setting a swift pace she opened up a sizable gap on most of the field after 600m, and comfortably finished her heat in 2nd place in 2:10.95 behind Farrow.

In the final the stage was set for Williams who was competing in her third successive ES 800m final, previously having finishing 7th and 2nd she was keen to not be the bridesmaid again, but faced a high quality field featuring 6 of the top 7 UK ranked athletes, and including Molly Canham who had defeated Williams in the 2016 Junior Girls 800m final.

In a tense start, Williams quickly established herself settling in behind Ellie Farrow who had decided to take the race out from the start. Williams held second position through the opening lap which split in a fast 62.94, and she sat determinedly on Farrows shoulder on the back straight, fighting off an attack from Molly Canham at the 200m mark, and she kicked decisively with 150m to go to move to the front of the pack. Once williams had hit the front, she never looked back opening up a 4m gap which she held comfortably through to the finishing line to take a famous victory, smashing her PB to finish in 2:06.83, one of the fastest winning times ever for an English Schools Inter-Girls 800m final.

Williams was clearly ecstatic, and almost unbelieving that she had managed to take the Gold and gain the chance to win her third International vest, her first on track, and represent her country at the British schools international. " I'm increadibly pleased to have won my first track Championship, its been hard work but training has been going really well and I must pay credit my training parners in the squad, two of whom were also competing at English Schools, they have really helped to drive me on". Williams will be competing in Dublin against the best 800m athletes from Scotland, Wales & a combined Ireland, as well as second place England finisher Molly Canham, also earning her England call up.

Emily, estatic with her first English Schools track Gold

Williams adds the Inter Girls 800m English Schools title to the Junior Girls cross country title in 2016, as well as a podium finishes to underline her Championship winning credentials. Coach Shane Smith was delighted with her first major track title “Emily was absolutely outstanding over the whole Championship, and she produced a stunning performance to win the Inter Girls 800m still a year young in the age group”. He added “Emily has proved she can run fast times earlier this season, but it’s important to be able to win championships, and she has ran a fantastic race which went exactly to plan. I am looking forward to seeing her represent her Country again in what promises to be an intriguing race”.

The three other Harriers proudly representing their club & Country all produced highly credible performances on the big stage. Erin Healy, with her second successive ES finals ran within a fraction of her PB in the Inter-Girls 200m heats but sadly did not progress through to the final, but as with Williams, Healy is still a year young in the age group so she will certainly have more to give going forward.

Dylan Bowley, who sadly had 3 weeks disruption to his first ever ES championships on track, ran a fine 800m heat in the Junior Boys race to lead the race with 600m to go, but lacking full fitness he was unable to maintain his position and progress to the final running 2:05.19 in a very tough heat to finish in 5th place. Dylan will also have other opportunities to compete with four more years of ES Championships.

Fynn Batkin running in his first ever track championships also ran well in the Inter Boys 3000m to set a new PB in the straight final and finish in a highly respectable 9:55.77 to finish mid place in the large field of 26 athletes. Fynn will also look to build on this for his final 2 years of ES.

Overall the English Schools track championships were a real success, with the Harriers winning a rare Gold medal with Williams, and showing that there is a crop of talented athletes continuing to compete at the highest level.

Congartulations to Emily, and well done to Erin, Dylan & Fynn.