National silver and England place for Mansfield Harrier Rachel Norris


On the hottest weekend of the year, six current and former Mansfield Harriers represented Nottinghamshire at the televised English Schools Championships.

Rachel Norris qualified on Friday for the final on Saturday. With a poor draw in lane one, she took an excellent silver in the Inter Girls’ 200m with a time of 24.96 seconds, showing her potentail to become one of the country’s finest female sprinters. That gained Rachel selection to represent England in the Great British Schools Competition in Dublin in two weeks.

Beth Mortiboy qualified sixth best for the Inter Girls’ triple jump final on Saturday, finishing a credible eighth, despite suffering an ankle injury in qualifying, with a best jump of 11.06m, while shot putter, Becky Woolley represented her county again, with a solid throw of 10.42m for seventh in the Senior Girls’ final.

Making his Championship debut, Archie Rayner just missed out on a place in the 1500m Junior Boys’ final, with a time of 4.19 minutes.

Three local athletes and former Harriers Caelidh Ross and Jordan Scott also made their finals, Caelidh finishing an excellent fourth in a personal best of 2.08 minutes in the Inter Girls’ 800m.

Jordan Scott qualified for the Junior Boys’ 200m, finishing sixth in 23.18 seconds, and Sam Johnson finished down the field, but ran a respectable 9:19 on his debut.

Mansfield Harriers’ senior team enjoyed their best performance in the British Athletics League in Bournemouth last weekend, winning on the day ahead of Yeovil in second and Bedford in third .

Mansfield are second overall and, if they get a top two finish or beat Yeovil - which they have accomplished in their previous two matches, they will be promoted to Division Three.

Stuart King had another great day, winning the A string in the 800m and 1500m before coming fourth in the 5,000m.

Sam Cordin joined Stuart in gaining maximum points, winning the 200m A string and 100m B string in 22.06 and 11.11 seconds respectively. Stef Wilcockson, Adam Sansom and Martin Cook all performed very well, along with the Woolley family, covering the eight throwing strings between the three of them, Dad Steve and brothers Matthew and Richard.

Harriers capped off the day in style, winning both relay events, which secured their well-deserved victory.

Mansfield now travel to Bedford in four weeks time for their last match with eyes on being a Division Three team next season.

Mansfield Harriers’ Junior team travelled to Milton Keynes for their third match of their UKDL season with a depleted team.

However, there were good performances from the distance boys which shows promise for the future for the road and cross country teams.

Athlete of the day for Mansfield was James O’Mara, winning the U17 A string in a PB, recording 4:32.7 while stepping up an age group and coming second in the 400m B string, clocking 54.7 and showing a good range.

Alex Rieley, one of Mansfield’s most promising youngsters, coached by Richard Massey, used the competition for some quality speed work, winning the 800m in 2:10.1 while recording a PB over the 200m in 26.1 in the same day, before throwing the shot in typical Harriers’ spirit.

Training partner Lewis Ashmore ran two PBs over the shorter end of his range, too, running 56.8 and 2:05.5 over the 400m and 800m respectively, which will hold him in good stead over his preferred longer distances this season.

Tom O’Mara racked up useful points also in the 1500m, 800m, 400m, relay and the hammer throw. The only girl to travel was Beth Mortiboy, winning the long jump and coming second in the triple.

Through lack of quantity, not quality, this team will face Division Two next season, a very winnable league if they can get the numbers out.