Fabulous 4th Place Finish

Fielding an almost full team sheet the young green vests enjoyed an excellent day of track and field action at the EYAL Plate Final on a warm and often breezy Sunday 15 September.

Hosted at Bedford International Stadium, two weeks later than the same event last year, all was still to play for as the relays took to the track at the end of the day – with Harriers lying in third place. Excitement built as each squad stepped up to the mark.  Despite all getting around safely the team had to succumb to a final fourth place finish with a provisional point tally of 511. Certainly, the highest placing for the Club in more recent years. However, a strong U17 men’s team returned home glorious as provisional joint winners in their age category (at time of going to press we think we have found another point to make us overall winner in this category!!)

With blue sky overhead team spirit was high even with a number of athletes stepping in to fill less favoured events or filling for injured athletes. Having enjoyed a fantastic first year with the club, top scorer on the day again went to U15 Sean Emika- Ugwuadu who bagged himself an excellent trio of individual first place finishes as well as forming part of the 4×100 relay team who took a great second place.

His first success came in the U15 boys Long Jump, an event he rarely trains in and yet consistently jumps well into the top half of the five-metre zone leading the field at every meet he has competed.  His best leap of 5.78m was good enough on the day to secure maximum points.  Frustratingly the wind then denied him an official 100m PB which as B string he won in 12.09s (2.6w) knocking off just over half a second off his previous best.  The third and final win came as B string in the High Jump where he equalled his pb of 1.60m.

Jimi Sijuwola ended his EYAL participation in style, claiming joint second highest scorer for the team.  A last-minute addition to the U17 Long Jump competition saw him take a great second place and then had to endure a rare re-run of his 100m which had seen him cruise across the line in an easy win (11.17s). However due to a technicality, the race was deemed to have been null and void and all athletes were given the minimum twenty-minute turn around to race again.  Fortunately for Harriers, Sijuwola proved his consistency by producing a replica of his first race and once again crossed the line in first in 11.18s.  He then managed to produce a fine 200m, dipping ahead of the field in 23.58s.

One of the first to compete on the track was U15 Zion Ateba showing great consistency with a third-place finish in the 75m Hurdles clocking 12.66s.  Her High Jump competition again proved what a natural talent she is for this event, holding off a challenge from Ipswich she went on to clear two further heights, looking much more comfortable with her run up,  she cleared 1.59m a mere two centimetres outside her best for top marks. She ended her day with a new PB in the Long Jump (4.88m) and another haul of maximum points, making her once again one of the team’s top scorers.

Jakub Walecki continues to provide excitement and entertainment in the High Jump arena.  Looking even taller than the last meet, it was evident that the work he has been undertaking is reaping rewards, as once again he was last man standing in the U15 competition.  That bar just kept nudging ever upwards as he grew in confidence and much to his delight, he achieved a great PB to clear 1.80m – tantalisingly close to the Club Record.  He also took second in the Javelin with 32.44m.

Special mention must go to our Hammer girls U15 Olivia Simon and U17 Josephine Larkins who have both taken first place finishes in all their EYAL Hammer competitions this year – including the plate final.  Bedford saw Larkins launch her 3k implement out to 49.90m, over ten metres ahead of the second placed athlete.  Simon won by a good eight metres, recording 38.34m.  Both girls added to the total score with fourth and fifth place finishes in the Discus and Javelin events respectively.

In the U13 boys field events Wyatt Larkins leapt up the UK rankings with a massive PB (6m) in the Discus throwing a best of 27.79m taking him to a provisional 10th to add to his 2nd in Hammer!  This was only good enough for second place however – he then added to his points with a first in B string Javelin (19.17m) and third in Shot (8.28m).   

After ripping his hands open on a pole which was too hard for him, U17 Harvey Daniels managed to borrow a softer version from a fellow competitor and went on to produce his best set of vaults yet, to increase his PB by twenty cm and equal the club record of 3m (which has stood since 2005) whilst taking a great second place and much needed points.  Competing in her maiden Pole Vault event, Evie Hood showed grit and resilience to clear 1.70m for third. This strong, multi- sportswoman then showed her versatility by a competent run in 300m for second place points and followed it up with a tidy PB in the Shot (7.66m).

Harriers spectators were on their feet as U15 Alexander Bell-Cobbold committed from the gun in her U15 800m, gaining a good fifteen metre lead.  With the pack settling into a gentler pace behind her, Bell – Cobbold worked hard to maintain a good lead, running blind and much to the delight of the team, clung on as the gap between her and the chasing field closed in over the last hundred metres, to take an excellent win in 2.28.22.  Emily Henderson took a good fourth in the B string.  Bell – Cobbold also competed the 300m where she came fifth in 46.47s. claiming a new PB en route.

Young William Long enjoyed a great last meet as an U13; a gutsy run in the 1500 saw him take the lead early on  and although hunted down in the final straight he found that all important last drop of speed to hold off the challenge for a fabulous first place, his highest ever placing and a new PB to add to the celebration.  This is sure to add heaps to his competitive confidence for the forthcoming cross-country season.  Finley Greenleaf blistered his 1500m time down by 20 seconds to clock a brilliant new PB of 5.40.88.

In the girl’s equivalent race, Emily Swan and Lizzie Wellsted both gained fine PB’s with the later having knocked sixteen seconds off her time this year and Swan a superb minute or more.

Harrison Leek and Harry Gillon both ran well to gain A string third and B string fourth in the U13 800m –  whilst Rachel Sale and Alice Begg ran hard against some stiff opposition in their respective races and were duly rewarded for their efforts with new PB’s, Begg decreasing her time by some ten seconds down to 2:48.25s. U15 boy Oliver Crisp, was persuaded to take on the 800m even though he has not been training for it and went and claimed a ten second PB too for a good fourth place finish. He also competed the 300m and shot.

Over the 1500m U15 Edward Malone made a very welcome debut for the club and went away with good fifth place points in 5.26.57 for a track PB; B string partner Theo Gardiner earned valuable second place points in B string and also picked a third place in the Javelin. Thomas Colsell has been a steadfast member of the U17 men’s middle-distance events all season, competing both the 800m and 1500 at each match – the only age group where this is permissible – and will be sorely missed as he progresses to U20.  Having laid aside his French Horn, it was great to see Charlie Walder back in the team wracking up some points whilst taking an impressive thirteen seconds off his 1500 time for a very decent B string second.

Milly Presland and Maddie Claydon running in the same 800m race found themselves up against No.6 UK ranked athlete from Basildon who already has an impressive International career to her profile; carrying a shoulder injury Presland was somewhat off her best but still managed to cross in fourth with Claydon just strides behind her for a rewarding B string second place.  Sadly, Presland’s injury meant she had to withdraw from the rest of the day’s events which meant Claydon then stepped up to run her first ever 1500m for a great PB of 5.36.96 with Missy Buxton taking B string fourth.

Archie Smith and Arnold Emika-Ugwuada may well spend the next four years enjoying their own in-house battles in the Long Jump pit and on the track, so closely are they matched!   Smith was on top form in the U13 boys long jump, achieving a 16cm PB to leap just shy of 5m (4.97cm) to take a fantastic first place A string finish , not satisfied with one personal best, he reduced his 100m time down to 13.81 as B string to cross the line in third. In the 200m he gained the same score running a comfortable 27.76s for his third PB). Emika-Ugwuada  also claimed first place points as winner of the B string Long Jump with 4.42m and then went on to earn himself two new electronic PB’s: A string third place points in 13.58s and B string 200m in 29.25s.

Quietly notching up PB’s this season, U15 Megan Taylor achieved her fourth consecutive new best time in the 75m Hurdles whilst also showing steady improvement in her technique, this bodes well for the transition up to U17 next season.  She also added five centimetres to her Long Jump and made her debut in the Shot. U13 Hollie Martin- Whymark smashed her previous 70m H time – clocking her first sub 13s time (12.58s 1.4w) for fouth place and surely needs to consider how she progresses this. Kai Chilvers continued to amaze with a nifty U17 men’s 100m Hurdles, showing his ambidextrous abilities to hurdle cleanly with both legs which snatched him a PB of 15.72s and third place.  His Javelin went one better with a second-place finish with 30.87m adding 4.5m to his previous best – and he doesn’t ever practise either event! 

Sprinters Hollie Martin-Whymark, Jessica Scotchmer, Tilly Motts and Olivia Gillon all faced stiff competition in their events and with the winds ever changing direction there was slim chance of many PB’s and most had to settle for fourth or fifth placings despite putting up valiant efforts on the track to run consistently for their season with Scotchmer taking a 200m PB of 30.69s (1.7w). In the top age group – the green vests were certainly flying: Shanii McLean’s long effortless stride belying her speed, gained an excellent win in the 100m B string in 12.84s (1.6w) ducking her under the 13s mark for the first time.  Drawn in lane 2 for the 200m she struggled with a tighter bend but once on the home straight worked well, just missing out on first place by 2/10th of a second to run 25.75s (2.2w) her fastest time this year.  Maya Rattray ran consistent to form this year gaining valued third place points in her 100m (12.75s 2.9w) and 200m (27.10 2.5w).

In only his second meet with the club, Jack Stinton, has certainly made a name for himself as one to watch as the years progress.  Having been held up by an accident on route to Bedford, he had a very swift warm up before joining Sean in the U15 boys Long Jump where he claimed a good second place as B string with a best of 4.81m.  In his 100m A string race, what he lacked in style, he certainly made up for in fast turn over, as he outstripped the field, smashing his PB by 0.61 seconds to record a legal 11.69s win.  His 200m was a closer match, but he did enough to hold off strong competition from the Bedford athlete to take the win in 23.95s – obliterating his previous best by almost a second.

Sam Shippey managed to once again dominate his races; victorious in both the A string U17 men’s 200m in 23.20s comfortably ahead of second place and then enjoyed a relatively (for him) slow 400m to still finish almost a second ahead of his nearest rival for 53.02. He also added to the team tally in the Discus.  Jennifer Palmer competing her final 300m as an U17 saved her best for last, producing a fabulous PB to run 44.39s for third place.  Stepping in with just an hour and a half notice, Libby Sutton competed her first ever 300m and did herself proud with a fine 44.86s following an explosive start, she managed to hold on for second place.

Completing the team were Chanel Mba who took a marvellous first place in the U17 W Triple Jump (9.86m), third in the High Jump (1.40m)and third in Discus (18.22m); Victoria Utti B string third High Jump (1.35m), Third Shot (9.89m PB); Aliyah Soames pulled maximum points for B string shot (8,36m) and fourth in the Javelin (28.04m); U15  Emily Henderson fourth Discus (14.18m); Grace Gardiner fifth Javelin (22.22m); U13 Hollie Martin -Whymark fourth A sting 70m H (12.58s PB) Emily McGill  sixth A string 1500m (6.15.05); Emily Longstaff fifth B string 1500m (6.43.89) and fifth B string shot ( 4.92 PB); Chloe Prosser  fourth 70m H (14.68s) and a great second in her Javelin (18.17m); Amelie Taylor High Jump (1.15m PB); Alice Begg third High Jump (1.10m) and sixth Discus (12.31m); Jess Scotchmer Long Jump (3.94m); Rachel Sale sixth Long Jump (3.44m) and fourth shot ( 5.99m PB); U13 boys  Finley Greenleaf sixth in 75m H despite falling at the last fence, he managed to cross the line (16.41s PB) and fifth High Jump ( 1.15m); Alex Walder third 75m H (17.12PB);  William Long fifth High Jump (1.20m); Alfie Harris took two good second positions in B string Shot (7.84m) and B string Discus ( 15.58m) as well as fifth in A string Javelin (21.36m PB): U15 boys Tom Ashley fifth B string 200m ( 28.61s) and fourth Discus B string (12.73m) shot 5.57m: Noah Papley fifth B string 300m (47.02s); U17 Joseph Clarke fourth B string 100m (12.09s)  B string Long Jump (5.26m) and B string second Triple Jump (10.49m); Harvey Daniels third A string High Jump (1.60m); Vic Chima second B string High Jump (1.50m) and A string second Triple Jump (12.23m): George Lavender third  A string shot ( 10.51m) and fifth A string Javelin (35.80m); Tanaka Maara fourth B string Shot (7.56m).

Relays: U13 Girls fourth in 58.32s; U15 Girls fourth in 55.22s; U17 Women third 51.53s; U13 Boys fifth in 58.17s; U15 boys second in 49.60s (despite a bad collision between 1st to second!) U17 men first in 47.55s.

We wish U17’s Maya Rattray, Jennifer Palmer, Chanel Mba, Victoria Utti, Libby Sutton, Aliyah Soames, Josephine Larkin, Issy Minder, Imogen Lowden, Maisie Waller Toyne, Madison Filer-Sinclair, Rhianne Boatswain, Daniella O’Leary, Jimi Sijuwola, Joseph Clarke, Vic Chima and Thomas Colsell every success as they progress through to U20.

Many thanks to Tilly Swan for the Photography this season.