COMPETING in the English Schools’ Championships for the first time, 14-year-old Will Crisp produced a superb performance to win his first national medal on the track.
The Swindon Harrier had travelled to the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham, with the conservative ambition of making the final, having never competed on this stage before.
But Crisp, who was running for Oxfordshire Schools as he is a student at Faringdon Community College, showed he has the temperament and ability for the big occasion as he twice bettered his personal best to clinch a magnificent bronze medal in the 800m.
“I am just buzzing,” said Crisp.
“My aim before was just to qualify for the final so to get third place was fantastic and I am just so pleased.”
Crisp, who lives in Hinton Parva near Wanborough, had to work hard to even get through the heats and then in the final wasn’t aware he had won a medal.
“To be honest in the heats I thought I was not going to get through as I was last for much of the race but I really went for it in the last 200 metres and managed to finish second and scrape through,” added Crisp.
“In the final all the runners bunched up and I seemed to be stuck in lane three right at the back. But then it opened up a bit and I came through although that last 100 metres seemed to last forever.
“But four of us crossed the line in a bunch and I did not have a clue I had a won a medal until afterwards when I was in the pen (collecting his kit) and the result flashed up. That was a great feeling!”
To illustrate just how tight the race was, the winner clocked 2mins 01.13secs, second was 2:01.29, Crisp ran a PB of 2:01.37 and fourth place was 2:01.48.
Such are the fine margins in sport but Crisp and his coach Bryan Clinton can take great satisfaction that they got their preparations spot on. In addition, Crisp believes he may have created a little bit of club history.
“Someone told me afterwards that I was the first athlete from Swindon Harriers to win a medal at the English Schools’ Championships,” said Crisp.
“I am not sure if that is true or not but it would be mazing if it is. But overall I loved every minute of the championships and it was just great to be there taking part.”
Unfortunately, fellow Harriers Lillie Bellamy and Ciaran Cooper won’t have the same happy memories of the 2014 championships.
In her final appearance, 18-year-old Cirencester College student Bellamy was knocked out of the heats of the senior girls’ 800m while Swindon New College student Cooper, who unluckily fell ill in the days leading up the event, suffered the same fate in the senior boys’ 800m.
“I am really disappointed with that as I desperately wanted to make the final,” said Bellamy.
For Wiltshire there were two gold medals. Salisbury’s Sophie Merritt won the senior discus while rookie Grace Chambers, a boarder at St Mary’s School, Calne, won the junior high jump. Emily Hutchinson of Devizes was third in the senior shot.
Also, former Marlborough & District AC runner Gemma Shepherd was really unlucky to miss out on a medal in the inter girls’ 1500m being caught in the closing metres and having to settle for fourth.