Chandler comes out on top against friend
ALICE Chandler overcame the challenge of club rival Lisa Ferguson to take gold at the Surrey Schools Championships at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.
But windy conditions prevented either improving their 800m times in the U17 girls' race.
Chandler, of Reigate School, has already run inside the 2 minutes 17 seconds entry standard and can be considered for the Surrey team for the English Schools Championships when the county name the team this week.
However, to guarantee selection she needed to find 2:13.00, while fellow 15-year-old Ferguson, of St Bede's, has a best time of 2:17.57 which is tantalisingly close.
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They were toe to toe at the front of the final after one lap, then left the rest behind as they finished first and second, in 2:20.14 and 2:21.04.
Chandler said: "It was a bad wind and I didn't think we were going to get the times today.
"I just ran it as if it was just to win.
"Even if you don't think things are possible, you must think positively.
"I took the first lap quite fast and then I think on that last lap I tried to sprint."
Ferguson reflected of not gaining the qualifying time: "It's a shame because I've been so close to the 2.17 before, but it was a good race."
The duo train together at Battlebridge and Chandler said: "We always push each other on in training."
All top two runners will run in the inter-counties event back at Kingsmeadow next weekend, but Chandler will miss it because of Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme commitments.
Priory club-mate Henry McCann, 13, of Reigate Grammar School, had his hopes dashed of improving his 1,500m time after being placed in the B race, courtesy of a mix-up. He finished in 4:41.87, nine seconds slower than his best time.
Caterham School's Joe Stanley (RPAC), recovering from winter sport injuries, finished eighth in the final of the U17 800m in 2:12.60, having run 2:09.58 in his heat.
Jamie Brown, of St Bede's, finished second in the junior (U15) boys' 800m, but just missed out on English Schools selection. Chasing 2:06.00, he had a personal best of 0.67 seconds off that time, but could only finish in 2:10.69, such were the conditions.
"I started off well," said the Reigate Priory member, 14. "I stayed on the leader's shoulders most of the way. In the last 200m I went out in front and I just got caught in the last 50m and came second by about a second.
"English Schools qualifying was the aim this season, having come back from injury over the winter," he said.
He suffered a knee injury that "just came on" and had no obvious cause.
"I hope to get my PB down," he said of the rest of the season.
He is another who trains at the Redhill track with Stewart McIntyre. "He's a really good coach. He's really committed and goes to all the meetings that are far away," added Brown, who has run in opens at Milton Keynes and Wormwood Scrubs as he chased the English Schools time.