ATHLETICS: Stephens shines as trio reach national finals

Oxfordshire’s junior girls’ team (from left): Jade O'Dowda, Ellysha Franklin, Petrina Chantler Edmond and Rebecca Scott

Oxfordshire’s junior girls’ team (from left): Jade O'Dowda, Ellysha Franklin, Petrina Chantler Edmond and Rebecca Scott

First published in Sport Bicester Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Rugby, Cricket and Athletics. Call me on 01865 425456

TIM Stephens, Jade O’Dowda and Maike Chapel reached the national finals after top-three finishes in the Midland Schools Combined Events Championships.

The trio will represent Oxfordshire at Boston in September, while O’Dowda also led the county to second place in the junior girls’ team event at Ashfield School, Nottinghamshire.

Magdalen College School pupil and Oxford City athlete Stephens was Oxon’s leading light, finishing second in the intermediate boys’ octathlon.

Stephens recorded six personal bests en route to a total of 4,298 – just six points behind winner Ben Clarke (Hereford & Worcester).

His best peformance came when knocking 11 seconds off his best with a 4mins 25.7secs clocking in the closing 1,500m.

Chapel (Cherwell and Radley) shrugged off two years of Achilles problems to come third in the senior girls’ heptathlon.

She clocked a personal best 16.8secs in the 100m hurdles towards a final tally of 3,593.

O’Dowda (Gosford Hill and Oxford City) managed a shot put best of 8.64m in the junior girls’ pentathlon, but had to be content with third place on 2,860 points – 156 behind winner Emily Madden Forman (Warwickshire).

The team of O’Dowda, Ellysha Franklin (Gillots), Rebecca Scott (Banbury) and Petrina Chantler Edmond (Cherwell) were just pipped for first place by West Midlands.

Oxon’s intermediate girls heptathlon team of Alice Hopkins (Lord Williams’s), Beth Mulvany (Matthew Arnold), Abbey Cottam (John Mason) and Michaela Tracey-Ramos (Matthew Arnold) came third.

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