Rising Sports Stars at Harleston Sancroft Academy

November 3, 2023

Harleston Sancroft Academy is celebrating its students’ sporting successes as four students who attend the Academy are seen as rising sports stars of the future.

Rhys Midwinter in Year 7, trains for 14 hours a week and participates in Men’s Artistic Gymnastics. (MAG).  He attends Spring Gymnastics in Norwich, and he has a wonderful coach called Paul Sprong who he has trained with since he was 6 years old.

Rhys has made the East Region squad at club level 4 for MAG. This year Rhys qualified to represent the East Region (Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire) in the National finals.

Paul Sprong, the coach who has overseen Rhys’s development since he joined the club said: “Rhys showed from an early age a natural ability and dedication to the hard work that goes into being successful in a very difficult sport. He is a wonderful role model to the younger boys at our club who look up to him.  He is a humble, kind young man who gives his time to share his knowledge and experiences. He is a credit to the club and as a representative of sport in Norfolk. He also blessed to have incredibly supportive parents.”

Rhys took part in the biggest competition of his career so far at the National Championships which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on 28th October at the Telford International Centre representing the East Region.

The results of Rhys’ competition was a sixth place finish for the East team at club level 4, with Rhys placing 34th individually.

Elizabeth Gray in Year 11, is one of Harleston Sancroft’s Student Leaders and trains at Spring Gymnastics and has recently become Norfolk County Champion at Bronze level (12+ age category).

Elizabeth competed at the National level of Bronze, she won the overall Gold trophy for the all-around championship along with Gold on beam and bars, silver on vault and bronze on floor. She will compete at Regionals this weekend for a space in the National final.

Elizabeth has also earned herself a place in the Inter Counties team competition at Pipers Vale in November, she gained automatic entry into the Norfolk team after her County success.

Lilly-Mae Partridge in Year 7 trains at Spring and recently competed in the same competition as Elizabeth at the Copper Level placing 2nd in Norfolk, again qualifying her to represent Norfolk at the Regional Finals at Pipers Vale in November.  The top three gymnasts from Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire will all be competing to be the regional champion.

Lilly-Mae won overall second all around to her teammate from Spring. Beam silver, and Bronze on vault. Lilly-Mae will also compete at Regionals next weekend for a top podium spot.

Heidi Palmer, Director and Head Coach, Spring gymnastics said: “Both girls are very naturally talented, but this doesn’t mean anything without dedication, hard work and a love of gymnastics, this shows in their success.”

Heidi Palmer added: “As a club we are so proud of these girls, how hard they train, their mature attitudes and their commitment.”

Scarlett Chenery in Year 9 trains in traditional Zen Budo karate with the Black Belt Academy in Norwich and qualified to represent Team Great Britain in the WTKA Unified World Championships in Italy taking place from 25th to 29th October 2023.

Scarlett joined 25 other team members ranging from age 9 – adults who all represented GB in a field of 6,000.  Scarlett has trained with Black Belt Academy since she was four years old.

GrandMaster Richard Vince, WTKA England Martial Arts Coach said: “’We have watched Scarlett grow from strength to strength as a young martial artist and we are so proud that she has represented her country again this year.  It was a tough competition with talented youngsters from all over the world competing for the top honours and she performed fantastically under pressure and we are so proud of her success.”

Scarlett competed all last week and was awarded two silver medals for Traditional Forms aged 11-13, Kumite Teams 13-15 years and two bronze medals for Kumite Sambon, and Kumite Points 13-15 years.

Rob Connelly, Headteacher of Harleston Sancroft Academy, said: “We are enormously proud of all our students here at Sancroft and I am delighted to hear of the gymnastics and karate successes.  These students all demonstrate such a strong work ethic and commitment to their chosen sports, training for many hours every week – it is great to see them excel, living out the school’s vision of ‘Life in all its fullness’.  All the Sancroft family are wishing them every success on their future sporting journeys.”