There were medals for Cheltenham Harriers athletes Mollie Courtney and Sophie Yorke at the English Schools Track and Field Championships in Gateshead. Courtney qualified for the senior girls 100m hurdles final with ease winning her heat in 14.07 seconds with a margin of nearly 0.5 seconds over the second placed athlete. In the final she ran the same time to claim the silver medal, both times were quicker than she recorded when she finished fourth in her heat at the British Championships in Birmingham the previous weekend. The 18 year old commented, “I had a great start at Birmingham but the gusty headwind meant I couldn’t get the time I needed to qualify for the European Junior Championships. At Gateshead I was disappointed with my start but the second half of the race was much better than some races earlier in the season. In the end I was happy to end my English Schools career with a silver medal”.
The gusty headwinds had moved north on the Friday when Yorke was running the qualification rounds of the senior girls 100m. The 17 year old won her heat in 12.30 seconds with a comfortable margin to qualify for the semi-final which she won with a 12.18 clocking into an even stronger headwind. On the Saturday morning the wind was much more favourable to the short sprinters with lots of PBs being recorded, but it turned round for the afternoon for Yorke’s final. The race ended in a blanket finish with the first four athletes separated by just 0.04 seconds. After a long wait for the photo-finish verdict, Yorke was awarded the bronze medal in a time of 12.01 seconds – her second fastest time ever and just 0.02 seconds behind the winner. Yorke summed it up “In 2012 and 2014 I finished fourth in the English Schools Championships and for a few minutes I thought I may have just missed out again, it was so close. I really wanted a medal this time so I am really pleased with bronze. Both Yorke and Courtney will enjoy a short break before competing for England in the Welsh International at the end of July.