Rookie athletes pick up county titles

Athlete Heather Cooke (w130604-2a)
Athlete Heather Cooke (w130604-2a)
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A pair of Gainsborough schoolgirls have become county athletics champions.

Heather Cooke and Emily Strickland, both students at Queen Elizabeth’s High School and members of Scunthorpe and District Athletics Club, picked up five golds between them at the end of May.

Athlete Heather Cooke (w130604-2c)

Athlete Heather Cooke (w130604-2c)

Cooke, 15, was in action at the Lincolnshire County Championships at Grantham, where she took two gold medals, three silvers and a bronze from six events.

Her best result came in the 300m hurdles, when she not only won to be crowned county champion, but recorded a personal best of 44.8 seconds to quality for the English Schools Championship.

It was also the Lincolshire County Championship record for Under 17 girls.

The performance has pushed Cooke up to third in the national rankings.

Proud dad Gary told the Standard: “She has only been doing athletics since last August.”

“She’s danced since the age of six and played football at Marshalls. Scunthorpe AC were recommended and it has snowballed from there.”

“Her coach David Harmes has been brilliant, the amount of hours he puts in is unbelievable.”

Cooke’s team-mate Strickland took on the competition at the Humberside Championships, coming home with three goals and a number of season best performances.

The youngster is now a county champion at 100m, 200m and 75m hurdles.

In winning the 200m she set a new personal best of 26.5 seconds which is also the qualifying time for the English Schools Championships.

Coach Harmes praised the talented duo, saying: “Both young ladies are in their first year at new age groups which makes their achievements even more impressive.”