Three of Exeter Harriers’ young multi-eventers have performed exceptionally well at the Somerset Schools’ Combined Events Championships at Millfield. Sam Dove, Jack Turner and Anya Turner produced some outstanding performances, with 15 year old Anya Turner taking the County age group title to merit a National Standard score in her first Heptathlon. All three athletes have just progressed to a new age group and find themselves up against athletes more than a year older than themselves
With the new age group comes a new hurdles distance, and Turner coped admirably with her first run over 80m hurdles with a time of 12.43 to finish joint first with the eventual overall winner Grace Davies-Redmond, last year’s U17 English Schools Heptathlon Champion and England International, who was a guest at the competition.
Turner’s high jump clearance of 1.54 in exceptionally windy conditions dropped her overall position to fourth, but a superb new lifetime best in the shot putt of 10.38 moved her up one place. The final event on day one was the 200, and with Turner clocking 28.00 running into a headwind and finishing second to Davies-Redmond she maintained third position overnight.
Day two brought new lifetime bests in all Turner’s events, with a long jump 5.09 promoting her to the second spot, and the javelin of 31.85, by far the longest throw of the competition. With one event to go Turner found herself just 120 points short of Davies-Redmond, and with the 800m brought a renewed confidence in Turner. She went from the gun determined to give it her all and pushed to the front when they broke from lanes after the first bend. It was an exhausting race into a strong headwind at times but Turner’s determination was rewarded with an outstanding new lifetime best by more than 4 seconds of 2.40.52, an exceptional achievement considering the unfavourable weather, and she comfortably took the overall County Schools title with 4257 points, giving her automatic qualification for the Regional Championships on 28/29 June at Yeovil.
Sam Dove, competing for the first time in the U17 Octathlon, was surprised and pleased with his overall sixth place with a score of 3097, including new lifetime bests in the long jump by 29cm to record 5.27, the discus with 20.38, and the javelin by more than 4m with 25.63. Dove also had to contend with the 100m hurdles, 400 and 1500, and high jump, with all but the high jump being events new to him.
Jack Turner, competing as a guest in his first year in the U15 Pentathlon, also did well to achieve sixth place with a new lifetime best points score of 1625, which included a new legal best in the high jump of 1.51 and the long jump by 16cm with 4.48. Turner’s other events were the shot putt with 8.17 , the 800 in 2:46.68, and a new 75m hurdles distance in 15.03.