Holly M, a Year 9 pupil at Wardle Academy has recently been selected to represent Greater Manchester at the English Schools’ Athletic Championships for 2017 in the 200m event.
Her journey from expressing an interest in joining an athletics club following conversations with her PE teacher, Mrs Gabriel, and her rise to this elite standard has been a short and intense one. She first attended Rochdale Athletics Club when she was in Year 8, but after a few weeks, her commitment waned and she left shortly after. Towards the end of Y8, Holly represented Wardle in the Rochdale Schools’ Athletic Competition. Here she was crowned champion in the 100m and long jump, her two favoured events.
This seemed to reignite a love for the sport and she asked Mrs Gabriel to write to her mum to see if she would be allowed to re-join Rochdale Athletics Club. Holly quickly moved to Bury AC where her training soon intensified. She then needed to make the decision as to whether to move again (to Sale Harriers) so soon after making friends at the club and establishing a training pattern. Joanne (Holly’s mum) and Mrs Gabriel had many conversations about the potential move and it was decided that she should go to Sale Harriers, to get the best possible coaching and give Holly the best chance of success. Holly was soon selected for the elite level training and the Youth Development League competitions, in addition to other competitions that she would attend representing Sale Harriers.
Holly’s 2017 athletics season has already been a busy one, with the majority of her weekends spent travelling around the North to go to competitions. She has focused mainly on the 100m and long jump, more recently turning to the 200m. Her goal was to gain the English School’s qualification time, and after missing the 100m time by 0.1 seconds, she entered the 200m at a competition in May. To her surprise, she ran 26.23s, under the English Schools’ qualifying time. Back at school, Mrs Gabriel suggested that she compete in this event the following weekend at the start of the English Schools’ qualifying process, rather than the 100m she was initially entered for.
Holly represented Wardle Academy and Rochdale Schools’, knowing she had to come in the top two to progress through to the next stage (the Mason Trophy, held in Birmingham) which she did, coming second in the final. At the Mason Trophy, there were no finals. Holly had to perform well in the heats and run the English Schools’ qualifying time in the hope of gaining selection to represent Greater Manchester at the English Schools’ Athletic Championships. Second in her heat, third overall (out of 20 athletes) in a time of 26.22, a new personal best and under the English Schools’ qualifying time, it was the best performance Holly could have asked for.
A nervous wait to hear whether she had been selected, the following Wednesday she received a letter inviting her to represent Greater Manchester at the English Schools’ Athletic Competition on the 6th-8th July 2017. This is an incredible achievement for Holly, and the Wardle Academy community all wish her the best of luck as she competes in this elite competition.