ELLIOT Bowker surprised his older rivals as he galloped to a stunning silver medal at the English Schools’ National Championships.
The Sir John Deane’s College student produced his fastest run to date over 3,000m in the senior boys’ final at Birmingham, finishing second behind pre-race favourite Kieran Wood, from Cambridgeshire.
Competing over the distance for the first time this season Bowker, a member at Vale Royal Athletics Club, moved from fifth place at the bell to challenge Wood in the closing stages.
The 17-year-old’s time, 8:32.41, is more than three seconds faster than his previous best at Trafford last year.
“It’s a huge achievement in such a high class field,” said Shaun McGrath, Bowker’s coach at Vale Royal.
“We thought Elliot could challenge for a medal, but to push for first place like he did was a truly great performance.”
Another Vale Royal runner, Amy Hinchly, finished third in the inter girls’ 1,500m final.
Like Bowker, she ran a lifetime best.
A pupil at Tarporley High School, she clocked 4:28.18 to lead the chasing pack behind victor Sabrina Sinha (Kent) and Merseyside’s Rosie Johnson.
“It looked as if Amy had ran out of gas with 200m to go but she found an extra gear in the home straight,” said McGrath.
“She was never likely to win – the two girls ahead of her are in a different class from everybody else – so to come home with a bronze medal is something to be really proud of.”
Grange School student Katie Gerrard, selected to represent Cheshire in the senior girls’ 1,500m, did not compete after she was struck down with illness.
Discus thrower Jenny Pyatt, from St Nicholas RC High School, was eliminated from the inter girls’ competition after three fouled attempts.
There was better fortune for sprinter Fisayo Williamson-Taylor, who placed sixth in the junior boys’ 100m final in 11.43s.
The Grange School pupil timed 11.24s on his way to second spot in the first heat.
Vale Royal Athletics Club’s Jacob Brown, from Malbank School, bowed out narrowly in the first round of the inter boys’ 800m.
After leading initially in the third heat, he was pipped to final place by Feysal Nadew (London) by two hundredths of a second in a race to the line.