ERME Valley Harriers athlete Sammie Harris set a new county record and consolidated her position in the top two of the UK rankings with victory at the Devon Combined Events Championships.
The Ivybridge Community College pupil won the under-15 pentathlon competition at the joint schools’ and county AA event at Exeter Arena.
Harris scored an impressive 2,999 points, which was an improvement of 40 points on her success earlier this season as a guest at the Somerset Schools’ AA Combined Events Championships, where she also broke a long-standing record.
At Exeter, Harris long jumped a staggering 5.27 metres, ran 11.76 seconds for the 75m hurdles, threw 8.42 metres in the shot, leaped 1.43 metres in the high jump and completed the 800m in 2.31:28.
Harris, who is in the first year of competing at under-15 level, is in the UK’s top 10 in both the long jump and 75m hurdles. She is also a talented sprinter, who has clocked 13.1 seconds for the 100m this year and 26.8 for the 200m.
Her father, Shaun, who still holds the Devon 110m hurdles record, says his 13-year-old daughter is ahead of where they expected her to be at this point of the season and believes there is more to come.
“She scored 2,999 points (at Exeter) but had two bad events, so she is capable of doing even better,” he said.
“The standard she is at now is where we were hoping she would be at the end of the year. So she is doing better than we anticipated, but she has put in a lot of hard work.
“Hopefully, she can just keep on going and improving.”
Harris’ role model is Olympic champion Jess Ennis-Hill.
Her dad said: “She would love to meet Jess Ennis. We have looked at what Jess Ennis did when she was under-15 and she scored 3,100 points, so Sammie’s ambition is to try and beat her score at the same age.”
Harris’ other targets for the year are the English Schools’ Track and Field Championships and the National Junior Championships in Bedford.
However, the Ivybridge Community College pupil, who benefits from sports therapy from Mark Mears, is being pushed hard by her training partner Emily Bee.
Plymouth High School for Girls pupil Bee, who competes for City of Plymouth AC, came second behind Harris at the Devon Championships with 2,805. She is currently fifth in the UK rankings, which are currently topped by Southampton’s Amaya Scott with 3,035.
Bee’s top performance at Exeter came in the high jump, where she leaped to a new personal best of 1.52 metres. In the other events, Bee jumped 4.78m in the long jump, ran 12.27 in the 75m hurdles, threw 7.85 in the spot and ran 2.35:50 in the 800m.
Devon actually have four athletes in the top seven of the under-15 girls’ pentathlon rankings with Exeter’s Isobel Pinsky and Olivia Dobson having scored 2,783 and 2,726 respectively.
There are also other youngsters coming through hoping to be the next Ennis-Hill or Louise Hazel.
In the under-13 girls’ competition at the Devon Combined Event Championship, Erme Valley and Boringdon Primary School athlete Olivia Travers came third with 1,685 points. Her team-mate and Plymouth College pupil Browyn Harris was fifth with 1,520 points.
Meanwhile, in the under-17 girls’ category, City of Plymouth and Plymstock School athlete Jenna Bierton came second with 2,251 points.
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