National success for HGS athletes

Athletes from HGS are making their mark on the national stage, clocking up several impressive performances over the past few weeks.

Gabe Shepherd and Eve Whitaker were among the fastest finishers at the AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Series, based at Roundhay Park, Leeds last month, and Eve’s sister Lex Whitaker, 17, is the British Inter Counties fell running champion.

Year 8 student Gabe, 13, finished 2nd among Year 8 boys (out of 97 competitors from Years 8 and 9) at the Leeds triathlon. He is a past Yorkshire Triathlon Champion for his age category and has clocked up a total 15 triathlon wins. He has also been selected to represent Yorkshire at the England and Wales inter-regional triathlon championships to be held in September.

But his real passion is swimming: he trains and competes with Harrogate District Swimming Club and has been ranked fastest in England for his age on a number of occasions, for several different events.

He said: “I am really looking forward to competing for Yorkshire in a triathlon as I have never done that before. My favourite part is the swimming and most of my training is in the pool with the squad at the Hydro. I would like to compete for Team GB as a swimmer one day.”

Eve, aged 15 and in Year 11, finished 4th among the Under 17 female contestants at the Leeds triathlon. Her past triathlon successes include finishing 4th in the U15 British Triathlon Championships and 2nd in the Yorkshire and Humber Triathlon series 2019. Her preferred sport is fell running and she is due to represent England in the International Youth Cup after finishing 1st in the Inter-Counties England Under 18 trials. She is also the current fell champion for England and well as for English Schools and Yorkshire.

She said: “I am excited about representing England. It is such a great opportunity to gain experience for future races whilst also having fun and enjoying a competitive race.”

Lex, aged 17, was ranked 4th in the last World U20 mountain running trials, held in Wales in 2019, finished 3rd in the British and Irish mountain running home internationals in 2019, and is also the current England and Yorkshire fell running champion. She is aiming for the U23 GB fell running team and will be competing in trials later this year. She said: “I enjoy fell running because it is so varied – you can have a steep hill or craggy and rocky surfaces, or both, which makes it quite technical. Also, the fell running community is quite small so it is really friendly, with everyone cheering each other along.”  

Headteacher Neil Renton said: “It never ceases to amaze me how many of our students excel outside of school as well as dedicating themselves to achieving excellence during the school day. Congratulations to Gabe, Eve and Lex for their achievements, which are a reflection of their hard work as well as their talent.”