Colchester Harriers 2017 Junior Awards Night
Hard work, resilience and consistent training reap rewards.
On Friday 24 November over eighty guests from Harrier Juniors and their families enjoyed the annual awards night, held this time at Stanway Rovers Clubhouse.
After a couple of technical hitches with the oven and lack of bar staff – the evening started with U13 Zion Ateba being awarded an achievement certificate for Speed: this year Zion has reduced her 100m time by over a second, her 200m by over a second and her 70m Hurdles by a staggering 2.5s as well as claiming a bronze medal at the Essex County Championships in the U13 70mH. The winner of the Girl Speed Award went to U17 Katie Rice who was credited for her hard work, dedication to training and consistently attending sessions to try to improve her performance. She was commended for her support for the club as a young Ambassador, her team mates as well as the group she trains in. In her athletic improvement, she reduced her 80m Hurdles time from 14.1secs to 13.2secs in the summer – and gained a place in the final of the Intermediate Girls 80m Hurdles at Essex County Schools Championships, her 100m went from 14.3secs down to 13.7secs and her 200m fell from 29.33secs to 28.1secs. She also impressed with a ran of 44.8secs at Peterborough in the 300m, for another massive PB.
Callum McKay and Henry Lawes were both nominated for the Boys Speed Award. McKay claimed an Indoor Silver at the Scottish champs in 60m, a Bronze at Essex Indoor 60m and Gold at Essex County Schools 100m. Sadly, his season was blighted by injury and 2017 will probably be a year he prefers to forget! However, he consistently trains hard, his dedication to this sport is exemplary – even when injured he works on another aspect of his training, constantly striving to improve. This year saw Lawes compete at his first major National Championships and really stepped up to the challenge taking two new PBs to finish his season running 11.58s in the semi- final– which reduced his time over the year by a smidge over ½ a second. Consistent training is now needed to make that move up into U17.
The winner of the Boys Speed Award went to U15 Graig Anya Joseph whose 2017 achievements were truly astonishing. He claimed Gold indoors at the Essex and Eastern 60m and then his outdoor season swiftly re-established his reputation as a phenomenal sprinter: he competed four times at Eastern Young Athletic League meets for the Harriers and won all bar one of his races – missing out on first by just 1 10th of a second (hand timed). Despite one of his customary poor starts he held his head and delivered a phenomenal race to take silver at the English Schools Championships in Birmingham. At his final meet of the year at the England Athletics U15 Championships in Bedford he set the crowds on fire as he recorded the fastest time of the meet for his age group – winning his semi in a time of 10.94s. And then went on to create an exciting final against his nemesis – the English schools champion – between them creating a flurry of activity in the photo finish booth – where eventually it was declared that he had once again been pipped to the line – just 1 100dth of a second stood between him and gold.
Nominee for Field Girl Award went to U13 Georgina Smith who early in the season achieved a top UK Long Jump ranking with a leap of 4 67m and gained her debut Essex Vest at the Southern Inter counties meet in September (missing her first day of Guide camp in order to compete). She finished the year ranked 31st in U13 Girls Long Jump.
Olivia Simon bagged the Girls Field Award having enjoyed a very successful and long season. It started as it continued with a well-deserved PB and a new indoor Club Record in Pole Vault clearing 2m for the first time – earning her a silver medal at the Essex and Eastern Championships. Outside the wind proved her main opponent and in blustery conditions this 12 year old – took on not just the elements but also competitors two or three years older than herself. Undeterred she dominated the Essex Champs and took her first championship gold and another CR with a clearance of 2.35m. Towards the end of the summer she claimed an all-time ranking whilst competing against Seniors in Canterbury and once again increased her own club record, needless to say her achievements were getting noticed and in September she earnt her first Essex County Vest to compete once again in an age category above herself against 15 other counties at an U15 inter counties match in Horspath. But this award is not just for her achievements in Pole Vault. She is showing considerable skill in the Hammer cage too, having already gained a UK top 10 ranking after just a few sessions with throws coach Rob Earle, to throw 31.07m and yet another club record.
With no nominees for the Boys Field Award, the Winner 2017 was Finn O’Reilly who had a phenomenal meet at Stevenage. In the High Jump he leapt to 1.65m increasing his PB by 15cm. But it was in the 700g Javelin that this young man excelled. In July he represented Suffolk Schools at the English Schools Championships in Birmingham having already thrown a National Standard distance of over 54m at the qualifier. An enormous throw earnt him a worthy Bronze medal, a new PB of 60.68m and a club record. This accolade then earned him a place at the 2017 School Games where he had to settle for 4th place. However, he finished the year ranked 3rd in Britain. We now need him to choose athletics as his main sport!
Milly Presland was a very deserving winner of the Girl Distance having had a very successful winter Cross Country season 2016/17, qualifying for both the CAU Inter County Championships at Loughborough and the English Schools Championships in Norwich, although giving a year on many, she achieved a creditable 141st and 231st finishing places and came away with the experience of racing these major competitions and looking forward to 2017/18 season. On the track Milly carried on where she left off in the winter, starting the season at the Chelmsford open in April by reducing her 1500m time by 12s with a new PB of 5.14s, throughout the summer season her 1500 PB continued to fall and at the end of the season she clocked a new PB of 5.03,. This year also saw her take on a new distance – the fast and often furious 800m – and having never considered herself as an 800m runner she recorded 2.32.40 in her first race over the distance. She also competed in several park runs where she has taken her time down to 2.29.4. with a current PB for the Colchester 5k event of 20.26 having reduced her time for 2017 by almost a minute.
Over in the Boys category, Joseph Boden gained an Achievement Certificate for his great attitude to training. Having had issues with injuries, he came back strongly this year with several PBs in a range of distances from 800m to 5k park run. He always gives 100% in training, but perhaps more importantly communicates well. This communication has been invaluable in adjusting training sessions to mitigate injuries, and get him back to form and running with confidence. This year’s winner U15 Max Caulfield finished off last year with a call up to the Essex inter-counties team after finishing 7th in the Essex XC championships, and finished a strong 43rd in a top class field. This however was to be the only highlight of the early part of the year with near misses at 1500m at both the Essex and Essex Schools championship races, finishing 5th in both. He now looks comfortable mixing it with seniors on the track, as he has done successfully, gaining valuable points for the senior team in the Southern Athletics League Division 1. This also has also resulted in a bronze medal at the Eastern Counties Track and Field Championships. He took 13 seconds off of an already strong 1500m time, but it is his improvement in race craft that has stood out. This racing brain has given an injection of confidence leading to early XC season successes. He nearly picked up a medal at the Essex XC relays in a team of three first year U17s, running a strong opening leg to keep the team in the medal hunt. Since then he has had impressive races in the Essex League XC and totally destroyed the schools district XC field, to win, and gain selection for a probable call up for the Essex team at the national event. And only last week he became Eastern Counties Champion at Bury St Edmunds.
This year Harriers awarded a Special Commendation Award to recognise the achievement made by T/F53 athlete Darcey Monaghan who had enjoyed a hugely successful weekend at the Typhoo National Junior Athletics Championships, organised by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS). Coming home with a trio of gold medals. She claimed great PB’s in her 100m (22.2s) and 200m (48.66s) and despite not reaching her best in the discus, still managed to bring home a gold in that too. And as if that was not enough, she joined fellow team mates in the 4 x 100m relay to bring home second place and a silver medal to add to her collection.
Team Manager Awards
Team Manager Awards presented by Sarah Collins and Jo Upton went to U17 Hollie Spellar and U13 Charlie Parmenter: these awards recognise the valuable contribution Junior athletes make to the Team at EYAL events. Spellar was commended for her positive attitude and resilience during a tough year of injuries which left her unable to compete her main events. However, despite this, she continued to attend regular training sessions and competed every EYAL as well as stepping up to score in the Javelin for the Southern League where she gained valuable points. Parmenter took part in all five of the EYALs during 2017 and has also completed some park runs and 53-12 events. He consistently tried hard and having lacked in confidence at the beginning of the season, he soon took control, improved and worked hard to gain PBs at each event in 200m and 800m; he always competes with a smile on his face and we are confident that he will continue to improve and become an even better athlete in the coming season.
Run Jump and Throw
The Run Jump and Throw Awards for which only athletes in the U13 and U15 categories are eligible went to U13 Zion Ateba and U15 Graig Anya Joseph: Athletes must have competed in at least five different track or field events since 1st January 2017 including at least one running event, one jumping event and one throwing event. These performances can be achieved either indoors or outdoors.
Best performances in each event are then converted to points using the IAAF scoring tables that are used to score pentathlons, heptathlons, decathlons etc all over the world. With some impressive jumping this season Ateba has improved her personal best in High Jump from 1.30m to 1.48m which places her 17th in the UK. Her performances accrued a grand total of 2,424 points. The next fastest first year under 15 athlete in the UK to Anya-Joseph is almost half a second slower than him. And looking at the all-time rankings he is only 1/100th of a second slower than well-known international athlete Mark Lewis-Francis who, as a teenager, was the world youth 100m champion in 1998 and the world junior 100m champion in 1999. What is even more impressive is that Anya Joseph is the only first year under 15 athlete in the all- time top 100, in fact the only other first year under 15 athlete in the all-time list ran a hand timed 11.2s almost 30 years ago. Following some impressive runs he also clocked up PB’s in Long Jump and Discus too, his five fine performances gave him a fantastic score of 3,396 points.
Ziggy Lambton was nominated for Most Improved Junior Athlete following another successful year for this developing athlete, who once again, had taken a big chunk off of his 1500m time, reducing it to 4:24.75 this year. Standout results this year include winning the Suffolk schools 1500m title, and gaining a silver medal at the Essex Championships over the same distance. Strong runs in the Suffolk schools XC qualifiers, late last year, also gained him a call up to the Suffolk team to run in the National Schools XC championships finishing well up the order in a strong field. The Winner in this category went to U15 Eliza Betts whose improvement has been mammoth over the year, from her performances last year, not just in time or distance, but also in the development of her skills and technical ability throughout the past year. She earned herself a clutch of medals at her county championships in sprint and field events and then went onto earn a county vest and competed at the Intercounties meet at Horspath. Her Long Jump improvement is a big statement of this fact, not just because she leaped out to 4.74m from a previous PB of 4.38m, but also from the way she jumped, taking in the technical needs of the way she needs to jump and attack the event. The 100m was another incredible PB, down to 13.5secs from 14.7secs and her 200m down from 31.2secs to 28.3secs. an amazing achievement over the year and a great opportunity for her to develop over the coming years.
Athlete of the Year Awards
Female Junior Athlete of the Year was awarded to Olivia Simon, one of the most dedicated and humblest of athletes in the club. She currently holds a UK ranking of third in her Pole Vault with an AT ranking of 11th –having improved not just her height by 80cm but also her technique. She has taken to Hammer like a duck to water – claiming a UK top ten ranking in her first ever event! She now holds Club records in both events. As well as competing in Hurdles, shot put and other sprints to earn points for the club making her a valuable team member. Her commitment to training is second to none. Her attitude is boundless – she can have a laugh both at herself and with others, she listens and takes instruction well and importantly gives good feedback to her coaches – she focuses hard on what she wants to achieve and works well physically and is always prepared to challenge herself to improve without losing her sense of enjoyment. She has targets to aim for and will, we are sure be an asset for the club’s future.
The Male Junior Athlete of the Year was unsurprisingly awarded to Graig Anya Joseph an invaluable Harriers team member. Someone who brings home the points, but who also doesn’t shirk a training session, he steps up and strives hard for perfection. And despite his long list of achievements he displays humility and enjoyment in what he does. He is a gentle giant, polite and respectful. He is ranked No 1 in the UK over 100m, again – having made the step up from top U13 to top U15. He has an AT ranking of 6th for his age and out of every male athlete in the country senior down – he is ranked 182nd. A change of schools means he now has to juggle many school sports commitments –and battle the A12 or a long train journey in order to attend training.
Team Medals were presented to all athletes who had competed 4 or 5 of the EYAL meets
|5||U13 Girls||Grace Gardiner|
|U15 Girls||Aliya Soames|
|U17 Women||Savanna Harrison|
|U13 Boys||Theo Gardiner|
|4||U13 Girls||Zion Ateba|
|U15 Girls||Eliza Betts|
|U15 Boys||Graig Anya-Joseph|
|U17 Men||Archie French|
The following AAA’s certificates were awarded
|Zion Ateba||1||High Jump||1.48m|
|Olivia Simon||1||Shot Put||8.66m|
|Georgina Smith||1||Long Jump||4.67m|
|Ziggy Lambton||2||1500m||4mins 24.75s|
|Eliza Betts||3||Long Jump||4.74m|
|Aliyah Soames||3||Shot Put||9.15m|
|Max Caulfield||4||1500m||4mins 22.2s|
|Savanna Harrison||4||Triple Jump||9.90m|
|Danny Millward||4||3000m||9mins 42.15s|
|Milly Presland||4||800m||2mins 29.4s|
|Lauren Strutt||4||Triple Jump||9.51m|