Zach Soars To New Heights
Monday 18th July 2016 @ 11:57 by Mark Phillip

A former Ashton Sixth Form student has claimed gold at the English Schools’ Athletics Championships.

After soaring to a height of 4.40m, Zach Harrop secured first place in the Senior Boys Pole Vault Final.

Having recently completed his A-Levels, the prestigious competition marked the last time in which Zach would compete at the event.

However, despite embarking on a sports science degree at Salford University in September, the 18-year-old has no intention to quit the sport.

Speaking to Reporter Sport, he said: “I’m definitely going to continue with the sport while I attend university.

“Attending Salford will make my training hours much more flexible and so should help me excel even more.

“The only new competition added to my calendar will be the British University Championships commonly known as BUCS where I will compete for Salford University.”

Zach was delighted to have bowed out of the Schools format which took place at the Gateshead International Stadium on Saturday 9 July. He said: “I’ve competed at this championship four times now, and on the first three occasions I managed to finish last or there about every time.

“I’ve been jumping really well this year and with a few people being injured I knew that this was my best chance and so I’d say I didn’t expect to win but I knew it was going to be my best opportunity.”

Zach immediately fell in love with the sport upon being introduced to it in year seven at West Hill School.

From that moment on, the athlete has never looked back. He said: “I first got involved through a teacher at West Hill School whose son did the event.

“His coach was looking for new athletes and so the teacher chose four of us to go down and try the event out.

“I really enjoyed it and within around three months of starting I jumped a national standard qualification height.

“I was hooked from that point onwards, because it showed I can compete at a very high level.

“But then there’s also the sheer thrill of the event and the danger involved that really excites me.”

Given his achievements within the space of six years, does Zach have plans on competing internationally one day? “Yes, for sure” he said.

“That’s the highest ambition for any sports person, and to represent my country would be such an honour.”