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Team GB the goal for Harrogate Grammar athletes following national success

Athletes from Harrogate Grammar School are making their mark on the national stage with the goal of representing Team GB at the Olympics.

Gabe Shepherd and Eve Whitaker were among the fastest finishers at the AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Series in Leeds, whilst Eve’s sister Lex Whitaker is the British Inter Counties fell running champion.

13-year-old student Gabe, who is already a Yorkshire Triathlon champion, finished 2nd from Year 8 and came 8th overall (Years 8 and 9) out of 97 competitors at the Leeds triathlon.

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 in various 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."

[caption id="attachment_13805" align="aligncenter" width="1041"] Gabe Shepherd, Harrogate Grammar School[/caption]

Meanwhile 15-year-old Eve finished 4th among the Under 17 female contestants at the Leeds triathlon.

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, 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."

[caption id="attachment_13811" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Eve Whitaker, Harrogate Grammar School[/caption]

17-year-old Lex, her older sister, 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."

And the success and aspirations of Harrogate Grammar School athletes has impressed Headteacher Neil Renton.

Mr 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."

Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.

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