The Athletics Club meets twice a week and Saturday mornings, beginning at the end of the Spring term. Everyone is welcome to experience the many different events using the school facilities and those at Thiepval. Friends’ compete on a regular basis with schools such as Grosvenor Grammar, Methody, Ballyclare HS and Dromore HS at venues such as Mary Peter’s Track and Antrim Forum. As a result of these competitions squads are selected for the District Championships.
District Championships 2017
Friends’ pupils competed in the District Athletics Championships on Tuesday and Saturday, in the usual 2nd week in May. The following pupils finished in the top 6 gaining points for the school
Mini Boys and Girls (Y8)
Finlay Crawford, Harry Archbold, Jodie Morrison, Rebecca Elliott plus the Mini Boys Relay
Minor Girls and Boys (Y9)
Lara Kennedy, Sarah Kelly, Holly Winters plus Minor Boys Relay team 5th
Junior Boys and Girls (Y10)
Kurtis Gillespie, Kate Erskine, Emily McMurtry, Cara Jeffery, Aimee McConville and Abby Tate
Intermediate Boys and Girls (Y11)
Chris Kane, Ethan Terris, Stuart Patterson, Jack Netherton, Emma Greer, Shannon McCleery, Cara McEwen and
The following pupils qualified for the Ulster finals by finishing in the top 3.
Peter Brown 3rd in Minor Boys shot
Kurtis Gillespie 2nd in Junior Boys 200m
Sarah Kilpatrick 3rd in Junior Girls 800m
Seren Mageean 3rd in Junior Girls Long Jump
Clare Neeson 3rd in Mini Girls High Jump
Kate Annett 1st in Mini Girls 100m
Sarah Kelly 1st in Minor Girls 100m
Hannah Cochrane 1st in Junior Girls 1500m and 2nd in Minor Girls 100m
Jack Netherton 3rd in Inter Boys 1500m Steeple chase
Kate Boomer 3rd in Inter Javelin Girls
Victoria Hunter 2nd in the Inter Girls Discus
Aoife Doyle 1st in Inter Girls Discus
Rachel Barnes 2nd in the Senior Girls Shot
Sarah Ferris 1st in Senior Girls 800m
Joshua Armstrong 1st in both the Senior Boys Triple Jump and 110m Hurdles
James Edgar 1st in both the Senior Boys 1500m and 5000m
Minor Girls Relay team - Melissa Wilson, Hannah Cochrane, Rebekah Irwin, Sarah Kelly finished 3rd, as did the
Junior Girls Relay team - Imogen Erskine, Abby Tate, Seren Mageean, Aimee McConville.
Ulster Schools Championships 2017
The following week Friends’ athletes competed in the Ulster Schools Championships. On the Friday evening, James Edgar maintained his winning distance running streak when he won the Ulster Senior title in the 5000m with consummate ease. Josh Armstrong too was in commanding form when he won gold medal in the Intermediate 110m hurdles. Unfortunately he had to withdraw from the Triple Jump the next day due to a niggling ankle injury. However with a PB in this race and the prospect of gaining that all important European qualifying time Josh was more than happy.
These top class performances continued on Saturday. Hannah Cochrane had qualified for the Junior 1500m making her the youngest in the field so her bronze medal was particularly impressive. Sarah Ferris consistent as ever, finished 3rd in the Senior Girls 800m adding to her Ulster Schools medal tally. James attempting the double seemed to have been taken on the bend in the final lap of the Senior Boys 1500m but with ease went up another gear to sail past his opponent for a second gold. Points are also awarded to the top 8 in each event. The Friends' pupils who gained points were Rachel Barnes 4th in Senior Girls Shot and Peter Brown 7th in the Minor Boys Shot.
The Junior Girls relay was unlucky to miss out on the final by 100ths of a second.
As a result of these performances James, Sarah, Joshua and Hannah qualified for the Irish Schools Championships. This is a tremendous achievement for Friends' pupils and just reward for their commitment to athletics training all year round.
Irish Schools Championships 2017
The competition on a national level in Ireland is exceptional. Hannah finished 9th, an excellent achievement considering she is a year younger than her competitors and Sarah Ferris maintain her consistency at Irish level by finishing 6th. Sarah, with her dedication to training, will have the opportunity to build on this performance as this is her first stab at Senior level.
Josh Armstrong had won silver in the hurdles last year and not only was aiming for a podium finish but a PB to enhance his selection for the Junior European Championships. Again he did not disappoint with another silver medal in the 110m Hurdles and another PB
Last year James Edgar competed in a highly entertaining 5000m which had the whole crowd enthralled. He had no choice but to pull out of the 1500m, because of the scheduling, so again, the 5000m was his only chance of gold. This is the ‘blue ribbon’ event, as distance running is so popular in Ireland. In the final lap James played cat and mouse with his opponents, one of whom he tried to drop on several occasions. The crowd was treated to a majestic final and another gold medal for James. What an end to a fantastic Schools Athletics career.
Cross Country Report 2017-18
Each year Friends’ enters both boys and girls teams in all the age groups in the District Cross Country Championships.
Success in 2017
In October 2016 Hannah Cochrane came 2nd in U14 Northern Ireland U14 Cross Country Championships and also 9th in the U15 age group.
In same championships Hannah and Holly Winters were part of team which took 1st place.
In the All Ireland U14 Championships, running for the Ulster and Antrim team, she finished 14th and won bronze in the team competition. Again she competed in the age group above, U15, finishing 30th and winning team silver for Ulster.
Kate Gourley began the season in great form and had deserved success in Ulster Uneven age U17 event, finishing 2nd. She followed this up with a gold medal win in Ulster Even age U18 event in Rostrevor.
Sadly the rest of the Cross Country season was a write off for Kate missing out on the Irish age group and Ulster Schools Athletics Championships due to an ankle injury sustained playing for the Ulster U17 squad.
Congratulations must go to all the athletes who competed in the District and Ulster Cross Country Championships, which started off in the usual venue of Ormeau Park. Results from the District were as follows.
Mini Girls & Boys
Best performances were Kate Annett 19th and Edward Walls 18th
The Girls team finished 7th and the Boys 6th
Best Performances was Hannah Cochrane who was 4th
The team comprising of Hannah, Holly Winter, Darcy McGall, Sarah Kelly, Ella Brown and Eve Mahaffy finished 2nd and qualified for the Ulster finals. The Minor Boys team finished 6th
Junior Boys and Girls
Abby Tate finished 10th and Omar Al-Qaryooti 11th to qualify as individuals for the Ulster Finals
The Junior Girls team finished 6th
Inter Girls & Boys
Kate Gourley won gold and the team consisting of Kate, Rachel Collins, Emma Greer and Holly Stewart finished 3rd to qualify for the Ulster finals. Aaron Pedan finished 7th Jack Netherton 15th also qualified for the Ulster Finals. The Intermediate Boys team finished 5th.
Sarah Ferris finished 5th to qualify for the Ulster and the Senior Boys led by James Edgar were the Friends’ team of the Districts. James won Gold, Conal McKee bronze and great performances from other team members, Nathan Howe, Jonathan Edwards and Marcus Greenfield resulted in Team Gold.
Faced with the tail end of Hurricane Doris the Friends’ qualifiers proceeded to the Ulster Finals at Mallusk. There was disappointment at the outset when some Friends’ runners could not compete. Most significant was the injury to elite athlete, James Edgar who was injured during training at half term. However Conal McKee ran a magnificent race to finish 14th and qualify for the IRISH Championships at Mallusk on March 11th
Kate was a hot favourite for another Ulster title but had to pull out of the race half way through with cramp. This was a very disappointing end to her season for which she had trained so hard.
The Minor Girls led by Hannah Cochrane, who finished 5th, won another silver medal and also qualified for the Irish Championships. The race was at Mallusk and the girls could be very proud of their performance on the day.
As a result of her excellent individual performances Hannah Cochrane was been selected on to the London Mini Marathon Under 13 team, following in the footsteps of Zoe Carruthers, Kate Gourley and James Edgar.