Hollingsworth helps Lincolnshire to national athletics title

TWO Boston-area athletes represented Lincolnshire at the national finals of the English Schools AA Combined Events Championships at Exeter last weekend.

Maria Hollingsworth (Boston High School) was a member of the county intermediate girls’ heptathlon team, which triumphed in retaining the national team title.

Frances Nuttell (also BHS) competed in her first national final as a member of the Lincs junior girls’ pentathlon team which finished in fifth position.

Maria opened her seven-event challenge in splendid form, recording a personal best 11.75secs time for the 80m hurdles, which earned a massive 833 points on the international scoring tables for combined events.

Maria was then able to build on her fine start, clearing 1.50m in the high jump to add a further 621 points to her total, and then produced another PB in the shot with a putt of 8.08m for a contribution of 405 points.

Day one ended on another high as Maria produced another PB, recording 27.68secs for the 200m and 656 points to leave her with a total that left her in an unexpected position in the top 10 positions overall.

The day-two programme comprises Maria’s weaker events and, after such a magnificent start, it was clear that she would not find it possible to retain her high ranking position.

In tricky, windy conditions she struggled a little in the long jump, finally achieving 3.90m for 285 points.

She then experienced problems in the javelin.

Following two foul throws, Maria managed to get in a valid one recording 20.17m for 292 points.

In the final heptathlon event, Maria ran a PB over 800m to finish in 2 mins 52.32 secs for 440 points.

With a heptathlon total of 3,532 points, Maria claimed 22nd position in the individual placings.

With a team points total of 11,830 Lincolnshire had more than a 330 points margin of victory over Cheshire to retain the national team title and the Hayward Trophy.

Sussex finished in third place ahead of Cornwall, Essex, Warwickshire and South Yorkshire.

In her first experience of national competition, Frances opened with 12.89 secs in the 75m hurdles for 579 points.

In the second event, the shot, one of Frances’ weaker events, she achieved 5.48m to add 238 points to her running total.

The high jump saw her clear 1.41m and a long jump of 4.16m in her penultimate event added 345 points.

The 800m is Frances’ weakest event, but at Exeter her performance over two laps was a considerable improvement.

Responding positively and setting off from the gun in determined fashion she maintained a steady rhythm over the two laps in blustery conditions to clock a massively improved 3 mins 11.88 secs for 263 points.

A pentathlon total of 1,948 points gave Frances a 35th individual position.