More than a Little joy for Academy as Elizabeth and Minor Girls grab gold

Banbridge Academy's Ulster Champions, the Minor Girls relay team of Suzy Neill, Molly Mathers, Lynsey Orr and Kelly Gley.
Banbridge Academy's Ulster Champions, the Minor Girls relay team of Suzy Neill, Molly Mathers, Lynsey Orr and Kelly Gley.

Banbridge Academy has five more Ulster Champions after some fantastic performances at the Ulster Schools Athletics Championships.

At the Antrim Forum on Saturday 21 May, Elizabeth Little won the Junior Girls 100m while the Minor Girls 4x100m relay team also grabbed gold medals and and the title of Ulster Schools Champions.

Elizabeth Little is the Junior Girls 100m Ulster Champion!

Elizabeth Little is the Junior Girls 100m Ulster Champion!

Both now go forward to represent the Academy at the Irish Schools Championship on Saturday (4th June) at Tollymore in County Offaly.

The school was well represented in nine different individual events and with two relay teams on the day.

In the Junior Girls 100m, Elizabeth ran a magnificent race to win the gold medal in an extremely tight photo finish. Elizabeth now adds this title to her previous titles in the 100m and the Long Jump.

Elizabeth also competed in this year’s Long Jump and this too was extremely tight with Elizabeth finishing fourth jumping 4.78m and finishing just 5cm behind the winner.

The Minor Girls 4x100m relay team also ran a fantastic race to win their semi-final and then ran even better again to win the final and claim the title of Ulster Champions. The team consisted of Suzy Neill, Molly Mathers, Lynsey Orr and Kelly Gley.

Their time in the final of 54.36 seconds was also a new school record. Individually one of the team, Suzy Neill, ran in the 100m final and here she ran brilliantly to a time of 13.5 seconds to finish fourth and narrowly miss out on the medals.

Another team member, Molly Mathers threw well in the Minor girls Shot Putt but was unable to place.

In the Inter Boys 3000m, Patrick McNiff defied illness to finish fourth, narrowly missing out on a medal but unfortunately this illness meant he was unable to race in his second event, the 1500m.

In the Senior Girls 800m, Rebekah Nixon ran a new school record of 2.24.99 to finish seventh and followed this up an hour later with a great run in the 1500m to finish fourth in a time of 5.06.35, another new school record.

Elsewhere Nadia Radcliffe, Banbridge Academy’s youngest competitor, ran a strong race to finish fifth in the Mini Girls 800m - a really impressive performance at her debut Ulster Championships.

The intermediate boys 4 x 100 relay team, consisting of Tom Stannage, Andrew Denver, Harry Campbell and Srinivas Suresh, ran well in their heat to qualify for the final but unfortunately did not manage to get the baton safely around the track in the final.

All the above athletes had qualified for the Ulster Championships with top three performances at the District Championship earlier in May, held at Mary Peters track.

At these District Championships, Patrick McNiff was a gold medallist in the 3000m and followed this up with a silver medal in the 1500m.

The Academy also had a magnificent gold medal for Nadia Radcliffe in the mini girls 800m – a sure sign of the promise this young athlete has.

In the Junior Girls, Elizabeth Little set a new school record to win gold in the Long Jump and she also ran brilliantly to claim silver in the 100m. Suzy Neill also ran well this time in the Minor Girls 100m and also claimed silver.

Rebekah Nixon had a good day and won silver in the 800m and a bronze in the 1500m and the inter-boys 4 x 100m relay team ran brilliantly to win a bronze medal and Molly Mathers took bronze in the Minor Girls Shot Putt.

Then finally both Molly and Suzy combined with Lynsey Orr and Kelly Gley in the Minor Girls 4x100m relay to claim a silver medal.

These were the best results of the day for the Academy athletes but many more put in good performances, setting personal bests, and finished well up in the rankings.

In all, some 35 athletes represented Banbridge Academy at the District Championships and all should be commended on giving their full effort on the day.

To summarise, Banbridge Academy enjoyed two fabulous days at the Ulster Schools Championships and the District Championships but the plaudits must go individually to Elizabeth Little for her fantastic Junior Girls 100m Ulster Crown and collectively to the Minor Girls 4x100m Relay team for an outstanding performance to claim that gold medal.