Academy athletes compete at Ulster championships

CONGRATULATIONS to seven Banbridge Academy athletes who competed in the Ulster Schools Athletics Championships at the Antrim Forum track last Saturday.

All the athletes had previously qualified to compete in the prestigious competition by finishing in the top three of their events at the district competition two weeks ago.

Highlight of the day was Year 8 pupil Patrick McNiff winning the mini boys 800m and therefore being crowned Ulster champion and breaking a 22 year old school record to boot.

Patrick was also joined by three other medallists: Jemma Jackson won the silver medal in the senior girls javelin and she still has a year left in this age group. Jemma also bettered her own school record set earlier in the year.

800m runner Rebekah Nixon ran a new PB to pick up the bronze in the junior girls events. She also has another year left in this age category and she too bettered her own school record.

And Susannah Martin also picked up a bronze in the junior girls shot again with a new PB. The three girls will now move on to represent the Academy at the Irish Schools Athletics championships in early June in Tullamore, Co Offaly.

Also competing on the day the school had Ben Daly in the inter boys 400m. Ben ran well, setting a new PB, against a field of boys a year older to finish a very impressive fifth place. Patrick McClean also threw well in the mini boys shot but unfortunately was not able to place in the final eight, as did Ellen Wright in the Junior Girls Javelin. Alex Thompson, who had qualified in the Inter Boys Shot and Emma McCreary who had qualified for the Mini girls 800m unfortunately were unable to compete as Emma was unwell and Alex was in London watching Ulster play in the Heineken Cup rugby final.

From the nine qualifiers for the Ulsters the school had four medallists, including a gold, numerous PB’s and school records set and three girls going forward to the Irish. All in all it was a very successful day for the athletes of the Academy and we wish the girls, Jemma, Susannah and Rebekah all the best in the Irish championships.

Unfortunately there are no Irish finals at mini level so Patrick will not have an Irish championship to contend for but his gold medal and the title of Ulster champion are great reward for his considerable efforts.