Biggar High girls defy the odds to win 4 x 400m Scottish Schools relay

Winning Scottish Schools Relay Championships quartet (from left) Calla Sutherland (age 15) and 16-year-olds Katie Foss, Leah Keisler and Emma Orr, are pictured with their coach Mike Love (Submitted pic)
Winning Scottish Schools Relay Championships quartet (from left) Calla Sutherland (age 15) and 16-year-olds Katie Foss, Leah Keisler and Emma Orr, are pictured with their coach Mike Love (Submitted pic)

After a sensational display, Biggar High School girls Katie Foss, Calla Sutherland, Leah Keisler and Emma Orr became national champions in a record time on May 31.

Despite Calla, Leah and Emma never having competed over 400m before, they combined brilliantly with Katie to take first place in the 4 x 400m relay at the Scottish Schools Relay Championships at Glasgow’s Hutchesons’ Grammar.

“To win this title and break the championship record when three of the girls had never run 400m before is fantastic,” Katie’s mum Hazel told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette.

“It was a phenomenal effort and the girls were rather excited about it to say the least.

“They were also shocked to get the trophy for the most meritable performance of the championships.

“They were quite chuffed, as 400m is a very hard race especially when you are not used to it.

“All the girls are in fourth year at Biggar High and the eligible runners were kids aged fourth to sixth year.

“So apart from anything else, they were among the youngest athletes competing.”

The Biggar girls – who had taken bronze and silver medals in the 4 x 100m at previous championships – made the step up to the 400m distance look effortless.

They were clearly helped by the fact that Katie (16) – who ran the final leg – is already a 400m runner of some pedigree having won at this distance at last year’s under-20 national championships in Aberdeen.

This is in a direct contrast to her three team-mates, with Emma’s inexperience highlighted by the fact that she is a rugby player without experience of running on a track.

Yet despite this Katie had a slight lead as she took on the anchor role in Glasgow, eventually winning by a clear five seconds from the second placed Peebles High School runner.

Biggar High’s winning time of 4.04.81 was a full two seconds faster than the existing record.

To make this time even more noteworthy, it was four seconds faster than Biggar – who are coached by Mike Love – had managed when winning their heat which finished just two hours before the final.

One week after the relay championships, Katie and Leah (16) triumphed in the under-17 300m and 300m hurdles respectively at the Scottish Schools Track and Field Championships in Grangemouth.

This means that the Biggar High pair are in the running for selection to run for Scotland at the SIAB Track and Field International event in Swansea next month.

Katie and Leah are due to find out later this week if they have been picked.