Welsh Schools Championships - Cardiff

Indvidual results can be downloaded here

Team results can be downloaded here

Many thanks to everyone present at Cardiff International Sports Stadium on July 5th for the 67th Welsh Schools National track & field championships:

  • To the pupils who competed for their district
  • To the district team organisers and team managers
  • To the Urdd for including our Nationals as an element of Gemau Cymru 2014, and for providing a number of volunteers
  • To everyone who contributed to officiating on a long, hot day – both technical & non technical
  • To the stadium staff at Cardiff International Sports Stadium for their help in the planning process, for their huge support on the day, and for clearing up after the event
  • To Mr Graham Webb, our own President, Mrs Mona Hughes, and Welsh Athletics President Mrs Sue Sayer, for organising the presentation of awards
  • To Welsh Athletics for their help and support
  • To St John Ambulance for providing first aid cover.
  • To International Secretary, Dai Gatehouse, and the international team managers
  • To Margaret Matthews and the team who manned the stadium entry point
  • To Awards Group for keeping track of the championship bests and organising the end-of-meeting presentation of the Association’s six awards to individuals
  • To the parents, who came to support their children
  • To recently appointed National Support Officer, Steve Jones, for all his hard work - before, on the day, and in the aftermath

While not quite as hot as in 2013, the weather – with the possible exception of the home straight headwind - must have been conducive to quality competition because 14 new individual championship bests were set and one equalled, and there was one new relay best.

Five of the new marks were set in middle and junior girls’ shot, hammer and javelin events as a result of the decision by UK Athletics to reduce implement weights.  The middle and junior shot was reduced to 3 kg (from 4 kg and 3.25 kg respectively), with the javelin now being set to 500 grams (from 600g) and the middle hammer being brought down from 4 kg to match the existing junior 3 kg.

In those five events, the winning distances were accepted as new championship bests, and the athletes setting the marks were:

Junior Girls

Shot - Sarah Omoregie (Bishop of Llandaff, Cardiff & the Vale), 11.32 metres

Javelin - Rhian Evans (YG Gwyr, Afan Nedd Tawe), 29.57 metres

Middle Girls

In the shot, the first two girls recorded the same best distance. Although their positions were identified by comparing their next best throws, both are credited with the new event best, and Emily Cockrell added her name to the list of event bests for a second time when she won the javelin.

Shot - Emily Cockrell (Olchfa, Afan Nedd Tawe), 12.80 metres, and Katie Whiteley (Maelor Penley, North East Wales), 12.80 metres

Hammer - Amber Rimmington (Flint High, North East Wales), 52.77 metres

Javelin - Emily Cockrell (Olchfa, Afan Nedd Tawe), 34.88 metres

On the track, championship bests started to tumble from soon after 12 noon.

In the combined 1000 metres walk, it was the Afan Nedd Tawe duo of Megan Stratton-Thomas (Olchfa) and Amy Phipps (Ystalyfera) who headed the field of nine, with both girls crossing the line in a time faster than the old best of 5:16.40 set by Danni Andrews in 2007.  Megan was nearly 13 seconds quicker as she finished in 5:03.74 with Amy on 5:07.47.

(Pictured: Rebecca Evans had an early lead over Issy Morris)

Immediately after that walk, a second new track best was set - with the 3000 metres middle girls’ time (10:12.55) of Natasha Cockram (South East Wales), set in 2009, being lowered.  In the combined event for senior and middle girls, Y Pant sixth former Rebecca Evans (Glamorgan Valleys) set off in determined fashion in the defence of the senior title, which she won in 10:11.50 last year but it was year 10 Issy Morris (Powys) who lasted the distance better with the Christ College student coming home in10:10.62.

Soon after 1 pm, there was a real purple patch on the track, with athletes setting new best times in four consecutive events.

It started with the middle boys’ 1500 metres, the event in which John Cove (Cardiff High) had, last year, taken 8 hundredths of a second off Colin Clarkson’s (Penyrheol, West Glamorgan) long standing event best of 4:03.6 from summer 1977.


This time it was another pupil from Cardiff & the Vale, year 10 Jake Heyward (Llanishen), above, who underlined his potential by going even quicker, stopping the clock at 4:02.79 to take just over 7 tenths off John’s time – and this was not the only middle distance event in which a new best was set for the second consecutive year.

Following Jake’s performance in the 1500 metres, the winning times in all three 300 metres were the quickest on record.

In the middle girls’ event, year 10 Eve Williams (Cwmcarn, South East Wales) finished second behind Hannah Brier (Ystalyfera, Afan Nedd Tawe) over 200 metres but won the 300 metres (39.37) in a time which erased Faye Harding’s (North East Wales) previous quickest on record of 39.75 seconds.

The two junior 300 metres were included in the timetable in 2013.  The junior boys’ event was the result of the recommended reduction in the 400 metres, and was a return to a distance previously held with the best on record standing at 37.45 seconds set by Matthew Petty (Afan Nedd Tawe) in 1997 at Brecon, while the girls’ distance was a completely new event.

The two winners in 2013 were Jordan Fender (Cardiff & the Vale, 38.74 seconds) and Rebeca Hartson (Dyfed), with Rebeca’s winning time of 41.92 being accepted as the new event best.


In the boys’ 300, it was Builth pupil George Thomas (Powys) who came home clear of the field to record a time of 37.11 seconds, taking just over three tenths off the old mark, while the first two finishers in the girls’ race betters Rebeca’s time.  It was Gabby Fakande (Brynmawr, South East Wales), above, who claimed victory, lowering the best by nearly a second with a time of 40.96 seconds, with second placed Hannah Pachutta (Bryntirion, Glamorgan Valleys) claiming second in 41.65 seconds.

After Jake Heyward’s performance in the middle boys’ 1500 metres, it was the turn of another Cardiff and the Vale year 10 – Emily Griffin (Cardiff High) – in the steeplechase to lower the 5:25.79 time set by Erin Hayes (Llantwit) in 2013.  Sadly, there were only four girls’ in the field but Emily produced a determined run to finish over 30 seconds ahead of second placed Angel Powell (Cardiff Newman, Glamorgan Valleys).  Emily’s time of 5:21.96 took over three seconds off Erin’s time and, with the event appearing for the first time in the SIAB Schools international timetable, albeit with non scoring status, it will be interesting to see how she performs on the international stage.

The senior boys’ 400 metres was one of the few events which needed heats to identify the eight finalists from nine athletes who reported.  The heat winner were Marcus Bayona- Martinez (Builth, Powys, heat 1, 50.98) and Rhys Granville (Strade, Dyfed, heat 2, 51.88), but the final was much quicker.  Having run sensibly in the heat 1 to finish third (53.77), it was Bassaleg’s Seb Blanch, who cut loose in the final to claim victory in a swift 48.22 seconds to equal Mark Ponting’s (Gwent) 1995 event best time.

There was one final new track best in the middle boy’s relay.  The Cardiff & the Vale quartet of Harry Hillman (St Teilo’s), Kristian Jones (Cowbridge) and the Radyr duo of Adam Smith and Ryan James won in 43.99 seconds to take two tenths off the Dyfed time (44.2 seconds from 1989).

On the field, those spectators and hammer coaches, who were present, must surely have been delighted at what they saw from the top performers on Saturday.  There is no more glorious sight in the throws than to see a good hammer technician sending that ball and chain high in the air to land at over 50 metres (for the girls) or 60 metres (for the boys). 

In last year’s report on the Nationals, there was a reference to year 12 Jac Palmer.  It said:

Jac Palmer duly won the senior boys’ hammer on his debut but he will be disappointed that his best distance was only 56.01 metres.  That leaves one more year for the sixth former to improve the event best of 56.43 metres set by Ritchie Wells in 2008.

Jac, who has been in excellent form this summer, both with the 6 kg and senior 7.62 kg implements, had a really unusual day.  In the 11 am round of field events, he became the first pupil at these championships to send the hammer over 60 metres.  Starting with a no throw, his series reads nt, 61.95 (cbp), nt, nt, 63.35 (cbp) and 60.25.  So a new best on record mark of 63.35 metres with the 6 kg hammer, adding over 6 metres to the old best of 56.43 metres from 2008.  Jac had good reason to be happy and, given that there are three male hammer throwers in the Wales team for Glasgow, we hope that he will continue to develop and gain Commonwealth selection in the years to come.

Having gained a new best in the first round of field events, Jac lost another one in the second round at 12 noon as his middle mark of 59.69 metres, from 2012, was bettered.

It was year 11 Nathan Thomason (Eryri), who became the second member of the 60+ metres club in the hammer at this fixture.  Nathan’s series was 55.48, 62.03 (cbp), 57.73, 58.90, 51.22 and 60.15, adding just over two metres to the event best.  Congratulation to the John Bright (Llandudno) pupil, and we hope that he too continues to improve.

After a high in the first series of field events, and the loss of his championship best in the second series, there must have been pleasure for Jac in the fifth series on the field as his younger sister, Ffion, also a pupil at Cwm Rhymni (Glamorgan Valleys) had a narrow victory in the junior girls’ hammer with a best throw of 40.78 metres.

Reference was made earlier in this report of Amber Rimmington (Flint High) in the middle girls’ hammer.  Amber had joined the 50+ metres club at last year’s Nationals when she demolished the junior event best with a throw of 52.11 metres.  On her debut in the middle ranks and still using that 3 kg implement, we were all wondering what she might achieve.  Unlike Jac and Nathan, Amber had competition from old rival Emily Pearce (Treorchy, Glamorgan Valleys), who was her main opposition in last year’s three throw junior event.  In an eight girl competition, Emily was drawn first with Amber second.  Emily opened with 48.26 metres and Amber countered with 52.77 metres, breaking the old best of 48.73 metres set by Toni Wells (South East Wales) in 2009.

Emily’s series after that opening throw was 51.04, 49.89, 51.86, 46.03, 52.50 – ending with a best of 52.50 metres – while Amber’s throws were 49.79, nt, 51.23, 47.35 and 48.37, leaving her with a new best of 52.77 metres.

There was another new hammer best in the 4 pm series, the senior girls’ competition – and the third event of the day in which the Wells family lost their event best.  This time it was Toni’s senior mark of 50.03 metres from 2010.

It was Brynteg sixth former Zoe Dakin who won this event.  Her series – 42.99, 49.91, 45.45, 50.07 (cbp), 47.94 and 41.69 – included four throws better than her closest rival – Carys Smith, now studying at Gower college (Afan Nedd Tawe), second with 44.38 metres.  So Zoe’s best of 50.07 metres, a championship best by 3 centimetres, made her the third girl over 50 metres on the day, and meant that Glamorgan valleys district claimed three of the six hammer titles.

Kieran Grimwade (Whitchurch, Cardiff & the Vale) was a comfortable winner of the junior boys’ hammer.  His best, of 48.93 metres, was over twelve metres longer than second placed Scott Hill (Bishopston, Afan Nedd Tawe, 36.78) in a competition which attracted a disappointingly small field of only four throwers.

At this point, an apology needs to be given to another pupil, who thought that she had set a new pole vault championship best on Saturday. 

Carys Jones (Bro Dinefwr, Dyfed) had first made an impact as a year 8 at Tregib in 2012 at Brecon.  On that occasion, she set a new junior girls’ vault record of 3.05 metres, and she equalled that feat again last year in Cardiff.

In the preview for this event, it was suggested that the middle girls vault best was 3.30 metres – as it is listed in the National programme – and that Carys needed to go higher to set a new mark.  That’s exactly what Carys did, asking help from Meeting Referee Stuart Hodson to have the bar set to 3.31 metres.  After first time clearances at 2.80m, 3.00m and 3.10m, she needed a second attempt at 3.20m and then cleared 3.31 on her third vault before failing three times at 3.40 metres.

Apologies, Carys!  There was an error in the quoted event championship best – and it is difficult to understand.  On checking, the best is actually 3.50 metres – not 3.30 – a height achieved by three middle girls - Elinor Lewis (Cardiff & the Vale) and the North East Wales duo of Christina Hughes and Rebecca Davies back in 2007 and 2008. 

For the last two years, reference has been made in this report to the situation in the pole vault competitions, highlighting the success of Carys but also expressing concern about the number of pupils entered in the competitions at these Nationals.

In last year’s report, the reference said:

Last year, the concern about the small number of entries for the six pole vault competitions was flagged up – only 20 entries, with 11 pupils competing.  There was an improvement this year – 28 entries and 21 competitors – but the standard was down on heights achieved in years past.  A work in progress then and, given that this is the most expensive of the eight field events to take part in, one which needs to be monitored carefully.

That reference was misinterpreted, with coaches and parents feeling that there was some potential Welsh Schools plot to downgrade or do away with the event.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Our Welsh Schools approach is to encourage the event in all of our districts.  We appreciate the hard work that is being put in by dedicated parents, volunteers and coaches – especially Ed Thompson – and we want to work towards an event athlete pathway in which interested pupils, wherever they live in Wales, have an opportunity to train, compete and progress in the event – just like former Cowbridge pupil Paul Walker, who will be in action for Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

To that end, the numbers are showing an upward trend.  In 2012, there were only 20 entries, of which 11 pupils competed, including only 1 junior boy!  Last year, with the event given a special status in terms of eligibility to compete, there were 28 entries, with 21 competing.  This year, the entries were up to 34 with 23 competing – encouraging but patchy with a significant number of entries from Afan Nedd Tawe and Cardiff & the Vale.  There were 13 junior vaulters, 7 middles but only 3 seniors – with Josh Hollisey-McLean the only senior boy.

Although this report has focused on pupils who set new championship bests, there were a host of pupils in the 400+ entry who produced hugely encouraging performances – and we very much hope that they will continue to develop and become quality senior athletes..

Individual Awards

Welsh Schools makes six individual awards on Nationals day.

Guto Nyth Bran Cup – awarded to the boy achieving the best performance in a field event

Presented to Jac Palmer (Cwm Rhymni, Glamorgan Valleys) – senior boys’ hammer

Welsh Academicals Cup - awarded to the boy achieving the best performance in a track event

Presented to Jake Heyward (Llanishen, Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan) – middle boys’ 1500 metres

TSB Cup - awarded to the girl achieving the best performance in a field event

Presented to Sarah Omoregie (Bishop of Llandaff, Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan) – junior girls’ shot

JDB Williams Memorial Cup - awarded to the girl achieving the best performance in a track event

Presented to Megan Stratton-Thomas (Olchfa, Afan Nedd Tawe) – junior girls’ walk

Kirsty Wade Middle Distance Cup

Presented to Emily Griffin (Cardiff High, Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan) – middle girls’ 1500 metres steeplechase

Colin Jackson Hurdles Cup

Presented to Lauren Evans (Cardiff High, Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan) – 75 metres hurdles

Team Awards

Cardiff & the Vale retained the four trophies won in 2013 – the three trophies for the boys and the one for junior girls – with Dyfed winning the middle and senior girls sections.  For the first time since 2009, Cardiff & the Vale also claimed the President’s Cup for overall points.

Gemau Cymru Ambassador

Very many thanks to Great Britain international walker Bethan Davies for being our Gemau Cymru Ambassador this year.

Special Awards

We were delighted that three special presentations were made to volunteers at these Nationals.


Mrs Marian Williams, who stepped down as our National Track & Field Secretary earlier in the year, received a special presentation from Welsh Schools’ Chairman Gerald Davies in appreciation of all her hard work in that post and as General Secretary.  Sue Sayer, the Welsh Athletics President, was on hand to present a Meritorious Award to long serving Cardiff AAC team manager and meeting organiser Debbie Bull, and Afan Nedd Tawe Schools Chairman and long serving member of Neath Harriers, Steve Jones, received his Meritorious Award from Alan Currie.

68th Nationals in 2015

The provisional date for next year’s Welsh Schools’ National track & field championships is Saturday, July 4th. The venue will not be finalised until later in the year.

SIAB Schools' u17 track & field international – Saturday, July 19th, 2014, at Cardiff International Sports Stadium

Welsh Schools’ hosts this year’s SIAB u17 track & field international on Saturday, July 19th, at Cardiff International Sports Stadium. Event details and announcement of the pupils selected will follow.

We wish our team ‘Good Luck’ for that event, and we would very much appreciate as many people as possible – young and old – coming to support our athletes.  Competition will start at 11 am and finish just after 5.30 pm.

Sainsbury’s School Games, in Manchester

For the first time since the School Games were started in 2006, there will be no Welsh Schools track & field team competing.  This decision has not been made by our association.

Congratulations to Hannah Brier (Ystalyfera, Afan Nedd Tawe)

Hannah has been an important member of our SIAB Schools’ team since 2011.  Because of her selection for the Team Wales women’s 4 x 100 metres squad for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, she will, sadly, not be able to compete at this year’s SIAB Schools international in Cardiff on July 19th.

Welsh Schools wishes her ‘Good Fortune’ in Glasgow.  It will be a wonderful, learning experience.

Congratulations on selection for Great Britain & Northern Ireland under 20 teams

Welsh Schools is delighted that three of our senior boys have been selected for Great Britain and Northern Ireland teams.  David Omoregie (Bishop of Llandaff, Cardiff & the Vale) adds to the two vests that he gained in 2013 by competing in the 110 metres hurdles at the Mannheim Trophy and at the World Junior track & field championships in Oregon, USA, while Iolo Hughes (Syr Thomas Jones, Eryri) and Ciaran Lewis (Llanishen, Cardiff & the Vale) are included in the under 20 team for the European Mountain Running Championships in Gap, France on July 12th.  We pass on ‘Best Wishes’ to all three of them.

Welsh Athletics Ltd.
Cardiff International Sports Stadium
Leckwith Road
Cardiff. CF11 8AZ.

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