FOR high jumper Tom Gale 2016 is proving to be the year of his immense content.

The 17-year-old John of Gaunt School student from Trowbridge is enjoying a season of so many highs that he must be starting to feel giddy.

This week Gale is packing his bags as he prepares to link up with his Great Britain team-mates in London on Saturday as they fly out to Poland for the World Junior Championships.

He departs with an extra spring in his step after winning the senior boys’ high jump title at the English Schools’ Track & Field Championships in Gateshead last weekend.

Gale was a strong contender for the title but it was only the second time that he had represented Wiltshire at the event after finishing eighth in the inter boys’ high jump on his debut last year.

Little wonder that Gale is being seen as one of the most improved athletes not just in the west country but in the country.

“A year ago I would never have believed that this would happen,” said Gale.

“This season is a whole new ball park for me and it is weird to think that just a year ago this was my first English Schools.

“It is a really strange experience coming from absolutely nowhere to win this title. I mean in 2014 I was only second in the South West Schools’, just qualified for the English Schools’ last year and then this year I win it. It was quite nice.”

Gale, who coped well with the new level of expectation on his shoulders, won with a leap of 2.12m and then went close to a personal best of 2.18m.

“The aim in Poland will be to try and make the final, I would be exceptionally happy to do that,” added Gale.

The Team Bath athlete was the only Wiltshire medallist at the two-day event, but there were a number of fine performances that saw a further eight finish in the top eight.

Of those, the unluckiest had to be the Howorth brothers, from St Augustine’s College, who both finished fourth in their respective events.

Rory Howorth couldn’t do any more than run a personal best of four minutes 10.30 seconds in the junior boys’ 1500m but in a frantic finish he missed out by a second.

Older brother John smashed his PB by over four seconds, but in a high-quality inter boys’ 1500m steeplechase had to settle for fourth spot, easily his best performance in the event. In the same race twin Robert ran strongly to finish sixth.

John of Gaunt student Caitlin Wosika slashed more than 10 seconds from her PB to finish fifth in the inter girls’ 1500m steeplechase final, while Ransford Aka’nai of St Augustine’s was seventh in the junior boys’ long jump.

“The team were fantastically supportive of each other and totally brilliant to team manage,” said team manager Tim Whiting.

“It was a thrill to watch them perform. Tom Gale’s win late on Saturday afternoon was the perfect end to a memorable few two days. We all wish Tom success in the World Junior Championship in Poland later this month.”