Essex Track And Field Champs
Harriers Excel at Essex Champs
Excellent performances were gained by Colchester’s green vests at this year’s Essex Athletics Track and Field Championships in Chelmsford over the weekend of 13 / 14 May – bringing home a total haul of 17 medals.
The weekend was kicked off by Zion Ateba – one of the youngest members – competing in atrocious conditions in the U13 girls 70m Hurdles race, to place second in her heat and despite running in the worst cloud-burst of the weekend ran a magnificent new PB of 13.51s – knocking over a second off her previous best time. Just an hour later and in drier conditions, she ran an impressive race, keeping composed to the end and was rewarded with an even quicker time (13.41s) and a bronze medal to win her first podium position at her debut County Championships. Not content with one medal, later she then went on to take gold position in the U13 girls High Jump with her third PB of the day, jumping 1.35m.
Over in a very wet sandpit Henry Lawes faced stiff competition in the U15 boys long jump. Having missed quite a chunk of winter training due to injury niggles he put in three good jumps in tricky conditions and was thrilled to progress through to the final jump off, where despite not improving on his best jump of 5.41m, he came away with a superb silver medal.
Day one saw plenty of hot competition and gusting head winds in the 100m sprints. U15 Eleanor Hopgood came 6th in her heat in 14.02s, for U15 boys, last year’s U13 Champion, Graig Anya Joseph knew he would face stronger opposition having moved up a year group, but still cruised through his heat in a winning time of 11.52s, whilst second year Lawes ran confidently to join his teammate in a time of 12.15s. In the final, despite a nerve shattering stumble at the start, Anya Joseph managed to re-gain his footing in the final to drive for victory in a time of 11.65s with Lawes placing 5th in 12.17s.
In the U17 men’s Callum Mckay was the only green vest from a strong squad to represent at the Champs, and in a ferociously tough heat, bagged himself a slot in the final in third place and a time of 11.48s. Sadly 2017 was not to be his year and finished the day edged into 4th place in a time of 11.6s. With the wind now surging and swirling, first year U20 women, Caitlin O’Reilly proved her move back to the club was the right decision by claiming two season’s best performances with 12.51s and a solid silver medal in a straight 100m final and a second Silver and SB in the Long Jump with a leap of 4.82m.
Charlie Dobson, also in the lower age band of the U20’s, eased down with meters to go to win his heat in 11.03s and faced competitors two years older than himself and a strong head wind in the final to take silver medal in a thrilling battle for the line in 11.04s.
Harrier’s Javelin throwers added to the medal tally as training partners Jordan Fester and Tom Mitchell went head to head in the U20’s men’s 800g event, with Fester showing remarkable strength to take silver in 44.85m ahead of Mitchell’s bronze 43.95m throw. Aliyah Soames competed in the U15 girls 500g and continued to show a good return to form following a long recuperation to take 4th place, whilst Hollie Spellar gained valuable experience amongst very strong competition in the U17 women’s category. Staying with throws, Philippa Davenhall, reigning 2016 Champion, once again proved what a consummate athlete she is, taking gold in the U20’s Hammer with a season’s best throw of 54.67m, just shy of her personal best and taking her into the top five in the country.
Back on the track and U15 Ziggy Lambton ran an intelligent and tactical 1500m gaining a big PB and an unexpected silver medal, whilst for the girls, 12 year old Milly Presland ran an exceptional time for such a young athlete, lowering her personal best by a staggering 10 seconds to cross the line in 5:04,18s. In the U17 category, Max Caulfield failed to progress through to the final in his race, placing 5th in 4.26:16s. In the shorter, faster 800m U20 Jake Young confidently progressed through to his final – the very last event of Day one, but despite taking the lead out fast and strong at the start, sadly he was unable to podium, finishing outside the medals.
Sunnier conditions welcomed in Day Two of the Champs, but the wind soon proved once again to be the main contender, making conditions tricky for young Olivia Simon, who has already broken club records this year. However she continued to dominate Pole Vaulting in the county by claiming gold and another PB and club record of 2.35m in the U15 girls, even more remarkable considering she was competing a year group above herself.
Race walkers Dominic and Daniel King, once again shone in the 3k event, taking yet another Championship Gold and Silver respectively, setting Dominic up nicely for this summers World Championships in London.
In the U15 girls Long Jump, Isabella Minder took a new PB with a jump of 3.88m then claimed another one as she competed in the heats of the U15 girls 200m alongside teammate Eleanor Hopgood who continues to chip away at her PB and ran 29.18s. For U17’s, Megan Stevens claimed a new electronic timed PB of 27.76s,to take 5th in her heat whilst fellow Harrier Katie Rice, who has only started competing this distance finished in 7th in 28.90s.
Against a strong headwind and yet another straight final U20 O’Reilly won an unexpected silver against a very strong head wind in 25.99s Whilst in the same age group for men, Dobson clocked the fastest qualifying time for a place in the final of 21.91s (a new electronic PB) and then fought hard against strong opposition to take a fine bronze medal in a time of 21.99s and the youngest competitor on the podium.
Anya Joseph closed the days events in great form with his second championship title, having run a comfortable heat in 23.92s he then followed this up facing stiffer competition where he got a better start than before but the head wind took its toll and the time was clocked at 24.4.
Double Gold for Betts at Suffolk Champs
On Sunday 14th May U15 Eliza Betts from Assington, Suffolk, competed at the Suffolk County Champs and came away with a trio of medals.
Her first gold was taken in the High Jump. Competing in considerable standing water, where she also managed to increase her Personal Best by 5 cm, jumping clear at 1.40m. Her second came in the Long Jump and although unable to create a new best she became County Champion.
In her 200m she was just outside of her PB and came home to claim a bronze medal in 28.5s against stiff competition from Ipswich Harriers sprinters.