Kettering Town Harrier Emily Williams came of age with a truly scintillating performance to win the Inter-Girls 800m final at the English Schools Championships.
And her crowning as an English Schools champion secured selection to compete for England in the British Schools International in Dublin this weekend.
Williams was under intense pressure going into the competition as the highest-ranked athlete but she produced a top level performance when it mattered the most to smash her personal best and take the most prestigious championship gold for school age athletes in style in her first major track championship.
Williams had a tricky draw in the qualifying rounds, squared up against Ellie Farrow and Annie Testar who were both closely matched to her PB and with just the first two from the three heats guaranteed to progress, there was no room for error.
She finished second in her heat in 2:10.95 behind Farrow and that sent her into a high quality field in the final, which included Molly Canham who defeated Williams in the 2016 competition.
Williams held second behind Farrow through the opening lap and then kicked on with 150m to go. Once she was in front, the Kettering Harrier never looked back and stormed home for a famous victory in 2:06.83 – one of the fastest winning times ever in an English Schools Inter-Girls 800m final.
A delighted Williams said: “I’m incredibly pleased to have won my first track championship.
“It’s been hard work but training has been going really well and I must pay credit my training partners in the squad, two of whom were also competing at English Schools, they have really helped to drive me on.”
Williams’ coach, Shane Smith, added: “Emily was absolutely outstanding over the whole Championship and she produced a stunning performance to win the Inter-Girls 800m still a year young in the age group.
“Emily has proved she can run fast times earlier this season, but it’s important to be able to win championships, and she ran a fantastic race. I am looking forward to seeing her represent her country again.”
The three other Harriers all produced highly credible performances on the big stage.
Erin Healy ran within a fraction of her personal best in the Inter-Girls 200m heats but sadly did not progress through to the final.
Dylan Bowley ran a fine 800m heat in the Junior Boys race to lead the race with 600m to go but, lacking full fitness, he was unable to maintain his position and progress to the final as he took fifth in 2:05.19.
Fynn Batkin was running in his first-ever track championships set a new PB in the straight final of the Inter-Boys 3000m as he finished in mid-place of a 26-athlete field in a time of 9:55.77.