Dromore High School athletes competed in the Ulster Schools’ Track & Field Championships held at the Antrim Forum Stadium on Saturday.
In an event that has athletes from the majority of the schools in the 9 Counties of Ulster, the competition was intense.
This year’s ‘Ulsters’ had the largest representation from Dromore High School in many years (at least 10). A total of 21 individual athletes and an incredible five relay teams won medals at Co Down Championships – this is unprecendented, even compared to impressive qualification from previous years.
In the ‘Mini’ age-group Victoria Pepper, Rhys Gregory and the two relay teams were involved by virtue of winning medals at the Co Down Championships.
Victoria, despite having a poor lane draw, won bronze in the 100m and also finished 7th in the Long Jump. Rhys, competing in the same two events, won silver in both the 100m and the Long Jump.
If this wasn’t good enough both athletes anchored their respective relay teams to medals.
The Mini Girls team of Victoria, Tara Kelly, Leah Moffitt & Alysha Wilson won silver with the boys team of Rhys, Matthew Boville, Ryan McDowell & Zac Simpson winning a fantastic gold.
To cap it all the Mini Boys won the ‘Eric Howard Cup’ for the top overall school in their age category.
The girls finished an excellent 3rd in their team event. Truly incredible achievements by both the girls and boys of Year 8. Special mention must also go to Bethany Newett and Joshua Quail who were willing reserves on the day.
In the Minor section Cameron Beacom-Hurle jumped early in the day and finished 9th in the High Jump.
He also ran 1st leg for the Junior Boys relay team that just failed to qualify for the final. The Minor Boys relay team of Samuel Parkinson, Jacob Collins, Sam McKinstry and Jake Corbett also ran well in the semi-final to be denied a final place by hundredths of a second.
The Junior team had both boys and girls involved. Eve Hughes had qualified in both Shot and Discus. In both she did herself proud, finishing above her ‘ranking’ in both. In the Discus, she was in bronze medal position after the first 3 throws, but was unfortunately overtaken in the final 2 throws to eventually finish 4th. In the Shot she was placed 8th.
Peter O’Connor, by his own very high standards, had a disappointing day in the throwing circle. The day started well with a 5th place in the shot, but ended in disappointment with a 6th in the discus – an event Peter will undoubtedly have many more successes than failures in the future.
Jake Shortland, deputising for the unavailable Daniel Harper, had a creditable Long Jump competition. The Junior Boys relay team narrowly failed to qualify for the final with Peter and Jake joined by Tyler Graham and Cameron Beacom-Hurle to leave the boys an agonising 9th best time.
In the Inter age-group Dromore had quality athletes challenging for medals. Kerry McDowell had a difficult task in attempting both hurdles events at 80m and 300m. She qualified for both finals, finishing 6th in the 300m Hurdles (an event she is a relative novice at) and 4th in the 80m in which she pushed all the way in pursuit of bronze. Alanna Wilson finished a solid 6th in the 100m sprint with Brooke Shaw failing to make the top 6 in the Discus.
The boys had a little more success in the shape of the enigmatic Robin Cantley. Last year’s Irish Schools’ bronze medallist (as a Junior) adapted well to the increased weight in finishing in silver medal position. Ethan Dunn, who had his work all complete the night before, won bronze in the 1500m Steeplechase in only his 2nd race in that event.
The Inter boys relay team of Robin, Reece Montgomery, Dylan Branker and Aaron Atkinson reached the final, eventually finishing 7th in a high quality race.
This means that Intermediate athletes Robin Cantley and Ethan Dunn will travel to Tullamore (Co Offaly) for the Irish Schools’ Championships.
This is the 2nd consecutive year Robin has qualified, with Ethan making his debut. Unfortunately there is no Mini section at the ‘Irish’ – maybe next year when they’re Minors?!