Sexton smashes Irish records with a spectacular display of sprinting
Midway through the Irish Schools Championships on Saturday, shortly after lighting up Tullamore with a brilliant blaze of speed, Aaron Sexton neatly captured the thoughts of those watching.
"I'm completely speechless," said the 18-year-old, whose times of 10.43 (+1.9m/s) and 20.69 (+1.4m/s) didn't just break the senior boys' 100m and 200m records, but utterly obliterate them.
That Sexton only does athletics as a part-time pursuit made his exhibition all the more astonishing, with the Bangor Grammar student set to leave the sport next month to enter the Ulster Rugby academy. Of all the young stars on display on Saturday, it was he who shone brightest.
His 100m time of 10.43 shattered Marcus Lawler's record of 10.59, a mark that was equalled by Conor Morey in second.
A little over an hour later he was even more impressive in the 200m, his 20.69 breaking Lawler's Irish U-20 record of 20.87, also making him the fastest U-20 athlete in Europe this year.
"It's a great competition and I always look to target it every year," said Sexton.
"The last few months it's been majority rugby, but just recently it's been focused on athletics."
Sarah Healy brought the curtain down on her schools career with a record in the senior girls' 3000m, the Holy Child Killiney student clocking 9:24.52 to take 19 seconds off the previous record.
She will sit her Leaving Cert next week and plans to enrol at UCD in the autumn.
"I was really happy I was doing the race, it was nice to have something else to be doing," she said. "The record wasn't a big thing that I was really going for, but it was nice to get it."
Rhasidat Adeleke won a sprint double in the intermediate girls' category, taking the 100m in 11.69 and 200m in 24.29, while Mervyn Shalemba did the same in the intermediate boys', also helping Mercy Mounthawk to victory in the senior 4x100m relay.
Newport's Aimee Hayde scored an intermediate girls' middle-distance double, setting a record in the 800m of 2:09.80, while Bantry's Darragh McElhinney signed off his schools' career with victory in the senior boys' 1500m in 3:52.28.
Multi-event star Kate O'Connor took gold in the senior girls' high jump and javelin, the latter with a record of 48.17m.
Davicia Patterson broke her own record in the senior girls' 400m with 53.35, while Deirdre Murray set a senior girls' 400m hurdles record of 60.03.