St Helen and St Katharine girls continued to work hard striving towards their goals over the summer break with notable successes in the field of sport. From horses to hammers, students have been showing their mettle as they practiced and competed.
Taking part in English School Athletics were Scarlett Herold, Ella Lovibond and Anna Pettit, all of whom came away with a renewed enthusiasm for athletics and a determination to compete again next year.
Anna, Year 10, was enthused as she looks forward to next year’s opportunity: “I was selected to run 1500m in the Oxfordshire team at the English Schools national championships in Birmingham in July. It was a great experience to take part in the third largest athletics competition in Europe and compete against the best athletes in the country. I am suffering with some breathing problems so I wasn't able to reach the final but I really enjoyed the whole event, travelling together as a team and spending two nights all together in a hotel. I am now going to keep training hard over the winter to see if I can get into the team again next year.”
Scarlett Herold, Year 11, felt similarly about next year’s opportunities: “To make the selection for English Schools I had to run a qualifying time for the 100m which was 12.6s. When I did, it was such an amazing feeling to think I had qualified for a competition that big. I was in the last heat out of four and to my disadvantage there was a bit of a gust of wind in my race which was very typical as the other races had no wind, but that's what happens in athletics.
“I came sixth out of eight which I was happy with as I have never run against girls this quick before. Sadly, I didn't make the semi-finals but I wasn't too upset as I was competing against the year above too. Hopefully next year I'll make it to the semis. It was such an amazing experience, as lots of famous athletes competed in it when they were my age (Mo Farah, for one) so who knows what will happen in the future for me. The stadium was massive, I was quite overwhelmed by it at first but I was so excited to run. I will never forget it and I am very excited for next season.”
Ella Lovibond, Year 11, also competed in the School Games National Finals 2017 where she won the bronze medal for Hammer. The School Games is positioned as a high-level competition opportunity for athletes participating in the Under-17 age group. The event provides young athletes with the experience of a multi-sport competition environment and Ella excelled whilst representing England Midlands with a new personal best of 54.36 m.
Ella's success even made the local press, you can see her in the Oxford Mail, here.
Zoe Lovibond, Year 11, was selected from over a hundred other applicants as one of the 16 netball players for the Severn Stars Under-17 National Performance League Training Squad. Gilly Salter, Head Coach of the Under-17 Squad, said: “I have been so impressed with the number of young netballers who are for the first time putting themselves on a court to represent the Severn Stars. Huge congratulations go to the final 16. They made life difficult for selectors as the standards were so high, and the future certainly looks bright.” Severn Stars announced the final squad on their official website.
Upper Sixth student, Georgie Robinson-Ranger, was selected for the GB team for European Championships in Coupe de la Jeunesse where she joined Under-18 rowers from across England and Scotland to take to the water in a two-day competition in Hazewinkel, Belgium in July where she won Bronze and Silver in the Junior Womens’ Double Scull. The team was unveiled on the official British Rowing page.
Georgie Herrling, Year 10, teamed up with her pony, Troy, to win Silver in a nail biting final round for the Individual European Championships for Ponies 2017. Georgie was selected from over 50 other competitors to be one of the six competing for team GB and then one of the four on the European team.
“Britain’s Georgina Herrling, who led from Thursday’s dressage phase on a score of 40.9, had no room for error in the final day’s show jumping, as just one fence down would see the 14 year-old moved off the top of the leader board but a perfect clear round secured her individual gold on the eight year old stallion SF Detroit.”
She explains why it was such an exciting win:
“The Europeans were held this year in Kaposvár, Hungary. Meaning the ponies travelled three days to get there! There were seven other nation teams which we competed against. The whole competition was held over three days with a Trot Up and Measure in before the first day.
“On the first day it was the dressage event. Me and my pony, Troy, managed to get a score of 40.9 which put us in the lead overnight. On the second day was the cross country event and it was a very tough track. Our first team rider was eliminated meaning any mistake would put us out of team placings, but we managed to go clear and within the time limit. The show jumping was on the last day. If you knock a pole or have a refusal at a jump you receive four penalties and, seeing as I was in the lead by under two points, I couldn't afford for anything to go wrong. It is certainly our weakest phase but we were very lucky and had a fantastic round to become Individual European Champions and get a Team Silver medal!
“Next year we aim to be competing across Europe in Pony Trials, setting our sights on Trials in Germany, France and a few other locations with the main goal of defending our European Champion title in the next Europeans which will be held in Bishop Burton here in the UK.”
It was not just the students competing over the summer. Our own Mrs Keogh from the PE Department played goalie for England in the Lacrosse World Cup. They played eight games and beat Australia in the final game to win the Bronze medal. You can see the story on the BBC here.
Staying with lacrosse for the moment, this summer saw a two-day training camp taking place at St Helen’s, practicing stick skills and playing games with mixed groups Years 6-Upper Sixth. Our thanks to Mrs Keogh for bringing both her expertise and England Captain, Ash Gloster, back to St Helen’s to coach the camp. Students had the opportunity to see Ash and Mrs Keoghs’ medals from the World Cup and took part in a Q&A session.
Finally a St Helen’s girl demonstrates that success in sports is not defined by how many medals you walk away with but by your own attitude and determination to carry on. 2017 leaver, Fiona Bunn, took part in the World Orienteering Championships despite struggling with an injury and came away with an achievement that she was proud of and the determination to try again. In her own words:
"I suffered with a badly timed late ankle injury and illness in the build up to the event which led to having to withdraw from the middle distance final after qualifying quite well. I found it tough to focus on the next race with so many concerns about my fitness and was still struggling physically, which led to a mistake in the Sprint. I was disqualified which was disappointing for me.
"Towards the end of the week I felt better and managed to come 14th in the long distance which is a result I was proud of given the circumstances and the best result I have achieved at Junior World level. I have learnt a lot from these championships, despite it not going all my way and hope to improve on my results in the next two years when I will be in the same age category.” You can read more on Fiona's blog here.
Congratulations to all girls and staff for their efforts and achievements over the summer. We look forward to seeing what is next for you all.