It has been an incredible season for Lower Sixth Former Stephen Simmons who has secured, not one, but two silver Pentathlon during his international debut at the England Schools International in Glasgow on Saturday 30 November.
Stephen was ranked number one in England for the U17 age group after his magnificent win at the National School Octathlon in September.
However, his journey to silver in the internationals was not plain sailing; slipping blocks resulted in a poor start and saw him hit the first hurdle. Despite recovering well, his time for the 60-metre hurdles of 8.39 seconds was down on an expected sub eight-second clocking and cost him precious points.
However, Stephen’s comeback was nothing short of a phenomenon, and proved, once again his character and strong mind-set. A scintillating 200-meters in a time of 23.03-seconds on the tight-banked track was the second fastest of the day and moved him up the field, but disaster loomed again in the long jump.
Over the board on his first jump, Stephen adjusted his run up. Frustratingly, it was not quite enough, and although his second jump was massive, he was millimetres into the Plasticine again. Another ‘no jump’ would have resulted in no points and an early exit from the competition. Adjusting his run up again, Stephen kept his composure to nail the centre of the board and cut the sand at 6.53 metres, only 8 centimetres short of his lifetime best and the leading jump of the day. He was in contention again.
Now up to second place, he faced the 800 metres, the fifth event in a competition lasting only four hours. A determined run saw him finish with a personal best of 2 minutes 11.03 seconds, enough to maintain his second place, with a score of 3565 points, and just 50 points behind the overall winner Alan Miley of Ireland.
In addition to his individual silver, Stephen led the England boys to team silver, again against a very strong Irish team.
Afterwards the Stephen commented. “I know that I could have definitely won, and had things gone differently, I would have done so, but they didn’t. Given where I was after the shot and again on a knife-edge in the long jump, I have to be proud of how I came back. There are lessons for the future, but also the knowledge that I can come good even when some things go wrong.”