Athletes qualify for national finals

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Northumberland’s Junior Boys team captured a dramatic victory at the English Schools Athletics Associations Combined Events Regional Final in Middlesbrough recently, securing qualification for the national finals.

The competition consisted of a pentathlon, which includes hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot putt and 800m, with Northumberland facing stern competition from Humberside and Durham.

The quartet of Dale Turner, John Wilson (both Blyth Running Club), Alfie Ward and Ethan Stephenson (both Morpeth Harriers) all put together a string of PBs as they trailed Humberside by never more than 150pts after each discipline.

It all came down to the 800m, with the team needing to overhaul a combined deficit of around 12 seconds against Humberside.

Each Northumberland athlete ran a tactical race initially before sprinting for home at the right moment, with Ethan finishing 15 seconds head of his nearest challenger to secure victory just for Northumberland with 6640pts to Humberside’s 6577pts.

On the day, Dale Turner was second individual, following hurdles and shot putt victories, with Ethan third after coming first in high jump.

The team can now begin preparations for the national finals in Hull in September where they will go up against five other counties from all over England. On the Sunday, the junior girls team finished fifth, while Connor Splevins and Oliver Herrings qualified as individuals after the intermediate boys’ octathlon.