Friends’ provides every opportunity for all pupils to participate in athletics. The Club runs two days a week after school on Monday and Wednesday, and on a Saturday Morning. We avail of the excellent facilities at Thiepval in addition to those at school. Competitions with other schools like Grosvenor Grammar, Methody, Dromore HS, Wallace and Ballyclare HS are held on Saturdays and during games when possible. It is a vibrant club where all pupils can work at their favoured events in an effort to improve personal best performances. Sadly the 2020 season was cancelled in every respect but we look forward to an enjoyable and exciting 2021
Athletics Report 2020
Year 13 pupil Abby Tate is one of Friends’ most dedicated athletes. She trains all year round and particularly enjoys indoor athletics. Throughout her career she has performed at a high level in the Ulster Schools Muti Event competition held in September and this season she finished 4th in the Intermediate Girls.
Abby continued to train for her two favoured events in the coming months and was rewarded with success at the Northern Ireland and Ulster Club Indoor Athletic Championships in the Abbotstown Indoor Arena. She claimed the U18 Long Jump title and achieved bronze in the 60m hurdles.
CROSS COUNTRY 2020
Friends’ every year has an enthusiastic group of pupils who take part in the Ulster Schools Cross Country Championships. Some pupils may be more involved in others sports but are naturally fit and enjoy the endurance challenge Cross Country running offers. However, over the last decade Friends’ have produced some stunning performances by individual athletes who train and also compete outside school for their clubs. Their dedication and commitment are commendable especially in Northern Ireland’s, often harsh, winter weather conditions.
Cross Country Report 2020
The season always begins with the District Championships traditionally held at Ormeau Park in late January/early February. Congratulations goes to all our pupils who competed in very windy conditions at the District Cross Country Championships. The results were as follows:
Chloe Heanen was 21st and the team finished 7th
Patrick Black was 41st out of a field of 80 athletes and the team finished 8th
Ava Mehaffey won silver in 2nd place and the team were 6th
Harry Scott finished 4th
Katie McCleery claimed another District title finishing 1st, followed by Ella Latuske in 2nd place, Anna Warwick 6th, Charlotte Snape 7th and Kate Callaghan 15th
The team finished in a commanding 1st and were awarded the gold medals.
Daniel Wilson finished 37th and the team were 7th
Sarah Kelly finished 17th
Stephen Lyster finished 15th
The team were 7th
Jack Netherton finished 7th and Andrew Elwood 14th
As a result of these performances Harry Scott, Ava Mehaffey, Stephen Lyster, Jack Netherton and Andrew Elwood all qualified as individuals along with the Junior Girls team for the Ulster Championships
In very mucky conditions Ulster Cross Country Championships eventually took place at Mallusk Playing Fields where the Friends’ pupils performed magnificently. The original event was due to be staged two weeks earlier, but the gales and heavy rain mention it was pushed back to late February.
Ava Mehaffey finished 5th in the Minor Girls and Harry Scott finished 33rd in a large field of runners in the Minor Boys. This meant that Ava had qualified for the NI schools team to run in the London Mini Marathon, following in the footsteps of Katie McCleery.
The Junior Girls continued their winning run and added another Ulster title to their list of achievements by finishing 1st in the team event. Katie McCleery was 1st home in 7th place followed closely by Ella Latuske in 11th. Charlotte Snape was 20th and her position sealed the gold medal win. Anna Warwick and Kate Callaghan finished strongly to complete the excellent team performance. Ulster Champions!
These results meant that Ava and the Junior Girls team had qualified for Irish Schools Championships at Santry, Dublin on 6th March
Irish Cross Country Championships
On the Saturday our young athletes travelled with excitement down to Dublin with their band of loyal supporting parents and family. What a day it was to become. The red ‘Coucon’ coats were donned and attracted so much attention for the other competitors. In addition, a new state-of-the-art system meant all the competitors had an electronic tag on their number, the disappointment of last year would not be repeated.
Ava Mehaffey was the first to run in the Minor Girls race. She finished a marvellous 9th and could be very proud of her performance in her debut Irish Schools race. She watched on as the Junior Girls Team of Katie McCleery, Ella Latuske, Charlotte Snape, Anna Warwick and Kate Callaghan stepped up to the gates.
Katie stayed with the leading bunch throughout the 2 laps to finish a brave 6th. Ella Latuske came in 22nd and Charlotte Shape 46th followed by Anna Warwick and Kate Callaghan. Katie was immediately escorted to the finish area to fill her details…..as a result of her 6th place she was now selected for the Irish Schools Cross Country team. The other girls and parents waited as the points were tallied. Friends’ must have a chance of a medal! When the score of 74 was officially confirmed the squeals of delight could be heard from the ‘girls in the red coats’. The points were more than enough to claim 1st place. Irish Championships. Firstly, Katie made her way to the podium to collect her medal and some time later it was the turn of Ella, Charlotte, Anna and Katie to join her at the top of the podium to collect the team gold.
Katie McCleery was due to compete in the Schools International Championships in Falkirk later in the season when she would have raced against the top cross country runners from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. However, like Ava she was to be gravely disappointed when, as a result of the pandemic, the athletics and cross country season came to a halt.
This talented group of girls will no doubt continue to represent Friends’ with such success for years to come.