Coopers girls claim stunning national double, as junior boys achieve best yet after borough glory
PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 July 2018
Coopers Coborn pupils made history with a stunning double at the National Schools’ Track & Field finals in Gateshead.
The junior girls’ team was crowned champions for the second year running, while the intermediate girls’ squad also came out on top.
The competition sees points awarded depending on performance in each event, with every student having to take part in one track and one field event.
And the juniors girls scored 492 to finish 62 clear of Southend High, the biggest winning margin in event history, while the inter girls tallied 520 points, an all-time National record as they won by a best-ever 59-point margin.
Over 2,500 teams had entered into the competition with only 12 qualifying for the final after the Coopers teams came through Essex and East Anglia rounds.
The stand out performers for the junior girls were Amara Nwosu in shot put, Paige Robinson in the 100m and Olivia Boachie in the 300m.
Robinson was first in the 100m and Natalie Sewell came first in the 1500m, as captaain Freya Higginbottom led the team.
For the inter girls, the top point scorers were Lola Kuponiyi, Harriette Mortlock and Alice Brown, who came first in discus and 800m.
Poppy Ellis was first in the 300m and Jessie Collier in the pole vault, as Adelaide Thatcher-Gray and Ellis shared the captaincy role.
Team manager Helen Davies was incredibly proud of all students and expressed her delight, saying; “The girls have worked incredibly hard all season long at school and club training each and every day and I am so pleased that they have been rewarded by making Coopers’ Coborn and National history, not once – but twice!
“We approached the National Final day at Gateshead International Stadium as hot favourites due to performances in the Regional finals. And despite their young age they certainly didn’t buckle under the pressure and in actual fact relished the accolade.
“The resilience, tenacity and pure guts that each and every student showed throughout the day, through the inevitable peaks and troughs of such a high level of competition, were truly astounding.
“I’m incredibly proud of the girls and I’m certain this will be an all-time favourite moment for the girls, myself and other staff for a long time. I hope they have served to inspire future year groups to achieve the very best.”
Coopers also saw their junior boys team compete in the North East, where they achieved their best-ever finish of fifth.
They managed a haul of 505 points on the day despite suffering three significant injuries, including a broken metatarsal.
Top points scorers were Oliver Yexley (javelin), Donovan Miller (100m) and Dominic Alexandru (hurdles), while Regan Clayton ran a 1500m best in 4.43.1 for first place.
Reserve Oliver Jones stepped in to cover the injured students and competed in the triple jump for the first time event, helping to pick up valuable points.
Manager Mark Duncan said: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with the boys this season. They have grown in confidence, significantly developed their skill level and now placed a fantastic fifth in the whole of England.
“I think I was most impressed by their ability to regroup, after the injury setbacks, and still put their heart and soul into the events in order to score as many points as possible for the school.
“Captain Simon Hill delivered many rousing inspirational speeches across the weekend and their team spirit was remarkable. They all now have 2019 and 2020 firmly in their sights to improve even further as intermediate boys and I have every confidence they will do just that.”
National success came on the back of a dominant display at the Havering District Championships.
More than 100 students took part, with the year seven and eight boys topping their group, as the year 10 boys finished second and the year nines third.
That allowed Coopers to win the boys’ overall title and beat rivals Campion for the first time in over 20 years.
Year eight pupil Miller set a new school record in the 100m of 11.3 seconds, while Kareem Jerome broke the year 10’s 200m mark (22.05).
And the girls landed a clean sweep of age group titles for their overall crown, with Duncan adding: “Athletics continues to go from strength to strength and we’re very grateful for the team effort provided by students, parents, staff, local clubs and coaches and the Coopers Company Foundation for funding our extra-curricular programme.”