A NEW BEST FOR GRENFELL
Ken Stimpson pupil impresses as he wins a third successive title
JOEL Grenfell returned to the scene of his first major breakthrough on Saturday and proved that his injury problems are behind him.
Two years ago today, the Ken Stimpson pupil went beyond six metres for the first time to win the county schools long jump title at Cambridge University’s Wilberforce Road track.
He has come a long way since then, winning two national titles last year including the English Schools gold medal.
The 15 year-old Peterborough Athletic Club member also improved his best to 6.63m at this stadium when winning the Eastern Young Athletes League Plate Final.
Grenfell hasn’t quite hit that form this year as minor injury niggles have affected him but he produced a consistent display to win a third successive Cambridgeshire Schools title on Saturday.
Despite jumping into the wind, he began with a 6.49m effort, and he matched that in the third round following a no jump in the second.
But he saved the best until last, adding a centimetre to his personal best to reach 6.64m to move into the UK top six for his age group in his first year as an Under 17.
In second place was Huntingdon youngster Jordan Gillbanks, who took bronze in the 400m at the 2008 English Schools.
Gillbanks had a busy day, taking a second off his 400m hurdles personal best to go seventh on the UK rankings - despite the only other competitor being Michelle Longman (the only entrant in the senior girls category).
He also won the 400m and equalled his personal best in the 200m, which was won by city speedster Ashley Watson.
Watson had to settle for second though in the 100m where Peterborough Athletic Club team-mate Alex McNally won with a personal best of 11.4. McNally also added 11 centimetres to his high jump best to win.
In the same age group, King’s Harry Wells recorded a shot, discus and hammer treble.
It’s been quite a year for Wells, who made his rugby international debut and at the age of 16 is already the Nene Valley Harriers senior men’s record-holder in the hammer.
On Saturday he improved his club record with the Under 17 implement - going seventh on the UK rankings - and also set a personal best in the shot.
In the junior boys age group, Hampton ace Jake Berney extended his unbeaten record outdoors this year.
Fittingly for an athlete who has brightened up many meetings this year, the clouds lifted and the sun came out almost the second he crossed the line.
Huntingdon thrower Jonathan Edwards, younger brother of fivetimes English Schools shot champion Chloe, won three events and broke 50m for the first time in the hammer.
David Bush won three events but was the sole competitor in all, bringing a chuckle from spectators with a loud ‘Yes’ after ‘clinching’ the 100m.
Georgie Ivens of Peterborough High School improved her Nene Valley Under 20 women’s outdoor 400m to win but she had to settle for second in the 100m where Sharna Emanuel completed a sprint double.
Emanuel’s Peterborough Athletic Club team-mate Megan Edwards also recorded a double with a personal best in the junior girls 200m as well as equalling her season’s best in the shorter sprint.
Huntingdon’s Lily Seach set a PB to win the inter girls 200m and set her fastest ever hand-timed 300m for another win.
Simi Pam of King’s won the inter girls hot by more than three metres with a personal best of 12.06m.
Many locals will now be in the Cambridgeshire team for Saturday’s Anglian Schools Championships at Grantham.
BACK TO HIS BEST: Joel Grenfell leaps to victory at Cambridge on Saturday.