MANSFIELD sprinter David Lagerberg established himself as one of Britain’s brightest young athletes by claiming 400m silver at the Aviva English Schools’ Track and Field Championships in Gateshead.
The 17-year-old Joseph Whitaker School student clocked 47.88 secs to take to the podium at an event which has previously launched the careers of the likes of Olympic and Commonwealth champion sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis.
Sale Harrier George Caddick took the senior boys title in 47.83 secs, with Dominic Smith third in 48.18 secs and, despite setting a new lifetime best, Lagerberg was still wondering what might have been.
“My time was 47.88, a new PB by a 10th of a second, I’m happy with that but disappointed because I came so close to winning,” he said.
“I just missed out, but I came third last year so it’s an improvement on that. I get nervous before every race but because this is a bigger race you naturally get more nervous anyway.
“I think I rose to the occasion and it helped that I was in lane two and the winner George Caddick was in lane three so he kind of helped bring me round as well. I think there were a number of different things in the race that made me get a PB. I’m just happy that I did it.”
Along with Lewis-Francis, the competition was also where Olympic 400m bronze medallist Katharine Merry cut her teeth.
And Merry is adamant that Lagerberg will have benefitted enormously from the experience of scooping a medal in front of a packed crowd at the Gateshead International Stadium.
She said: “It is huge for them. For David this is the be all and end all and if he can perform to the best of his ability in front of a big crowd and live television it is a big confidence booster.
“I remember thinking after I won a medal that I am the best school child in England and that really rubberstamps their potential.
“You can’t put a price on the confidence that brings. When you look down the list of past record holders you can see that this competition does produce world champions and you just don’t know how many of this group will go onto make a name for themselves.”
David was not the only local among the medals with fellow Mansfield athlete Chris Clarje and Sutton Harriers’ Bethany Mitchell also taking silvers - full story inside.
Clarke and Mitchell both produced throws personal bests, Clarke adding 2cms to his shot best and Mitchell getting closer and closer to the 50 metre mark, with a best of 49.49m in the Senior Girls hammer.
More throws success came in the Senior Girls discus and Intermediate Boys javelin where there were bronze medals for Joseph Whitaker’s Charlotte Gair and All Saints’ Thomas Peters.
Tom Wallett clocked a new PB of 13.80 in the Inter Boys 100m hurdles, missing out on a place in the final by just one 100th of a second.
Rachel Norris also clocked a PB of 25.60 in her Junior Girls 100m heat, going on to take sixth spot in the final with a time of 25.66.
Greg Millar threw 59.83m to take fifth place in the Senior Boys javelin, Mansfield’s second claim member Joe Dunderdale, representing Lincolnshire, taking the silver medal with a best throw of 64.59m.
Caelidh Ross took fourth spot in her 800m heat in her first outing at these championships, running a new PB of 2:17.57, Tamsin Smith (2.60m in the pole vault), Beth Mortiboy (4.74m in the long jump) and Chloe Elphick (10.66m in the triple jump) completing the Mansfield Harriers line-up.
Notts AC Long Jumper Stuart Street, who attends Joseph Whitaker School, leaped 6.49m in the long jump.
The Aviva English Schools Track & Field Championships is part of the Aviva Athletics Academy which encourages and enables children to get involved in athletics. For more information go to aviva.co.uk/athletics.