SEVENTEEN-year-old Ryan Palmer of Huntingdonshire Athletic Club continued his climb up the echelons of national sprinting when he made the final of the English Schools Senior Boys 100 metres in Gateshead.

The sprinter was a late starter at the club and his coach Richard Phelan is excited but cautious after such a good showing on a national stage.

He told The Hunts Post: "Ryan arrived at the club displaying unrefined raw talent, but few signs of the dedication he has since applied to produce the accomplished sprinter he is today."

Palmer ran into a headwind (-0.6 miles per hour), finishing in sixth in a time of 10.88 seconds, his fastest-ever time against the wind. However, it was in the heats, with more favourable winds, that the teenager made a significant improvement on his personal best.

With a following legal wind of 1.9mps, Palmer finished in third place with a time of 10.78, an improvement on his best legal effort by 0.11 seconds.

This time was a Hunts AC Junior and Senior record and ranks him 12th in the national junior rankings.

Phelan said: "His progress up the UK rankings is all the more remarkable because he is not yet physically capable of a full training schedule.

"Essentially his body can't yet handle the forces he generates. Pushing too far now is likely to lead to major setbacks, so frequently backing off to avoid serious injury has limited the winter training and left him frustrated at times.

"He's bounced back from each setback and as he matures he is going to get quicker, it may take a while and how much quicker isn't yet clear. But it is going to be an exciting few years seeing where it leads."

Hunts AC vice chairman, Wayne DuBose, added: "Ryan joined us in 2010. He wasn't quite 16 when he started running times that made us sit up and pay attention. By year's end, he'd run a fast 11.1 seconds.

"Last year, Ryan made the English Schools 100 metres final, running his first legal sub 11-seconds time, and anchored Cambridgeshire to a sprint relay bronze medal.

"This year, Ryan made the National indoor junior 60 metres final where he broke seven seconds for the first time.

"With this 10.78 100 metres time, Ryan has a platform from which to become more prominent at the national level."