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ATHLETICS: County youngsters eye national glory
1:00pm Saturday 7th July 2012 in Sport News
LOREN Bleaken will attempt to win her second English Schools’ medal in Gateshead this weekend, writes KEVIN FAHEY.
The 16-year-old Hardenhuish School student has a silver to her name from the junior girls’ 1500m in 2009 followed by fourth places in 2010 and 2010 – over 1500m and 300m respectively.
This year she switches to 800m, a distance in which she tops the UK rankings for U17 women after clocking 2:06.79secs last month.
Marshfield’s Bleaken said: “It is my fourth English Schools’ and my second at Gateshead so I know what to expect up there which helps.
“The 800m is definitely my strongest event at the moment and while there are very good girls out there I am feeling very confident.
“I am looking for a medal and the aim is definitely to try and win gold but we’ll have to see how it goes.”
Matravers School sprinter William Kennedy is third in the UK rankings for U15 boys’ in both the 100m and 200m and the 14-year-old from Westbury has opted for the latter in Gateshead.
Athletes can only contest one event – and one of the boys ahead of him is Welsh so won’t be competing.
That makes Kennedy a strong contender for the podium in what is always a hotly contested event.
Dauntsey’s Clare Dyer, who lives in West Lavington, is among the country’s best U17 women’s pole vaulters.
The 15-year-old is in form after her victory in the South West Championships and won the UK Schools’ title at the Olympic Stadium in May.
St Laurence School’s Alex Carter, who trains with Bleaken, will run the inter boys 3000m. Fourth in the UK the 16-year-old from Winsley is more than capable of challenging for a medal.
Sheldon School’s Alex Stainthorpe, who cruised to victory in the South West Schools’, goes in the senior girls’ 3000m.
Calne’s Morgan Gascoigne, ranked in the country’s top 10 at both the long and triple jumps, competes in the latter.
Nearly half of the Wiltshire squad are in the top 10 national rankings.
The team, officially announced on Tuesday at Devizes School by team manager Tim Whiting, will be captained by Gascoigne and high jumper Jamie Poulton, of Bishop Wordsworth's School.
Whiting said: “Wiltshire's record at the event has always been good and with this team, we hope to make even more of an impact this year.’’ Former St Laurence School student Hannah Grubb, who lives in Hilperton, is in the Avon squad and will be hoping to finish among the medals in the senior girls’ pole vault.