Heroic Performances see Harriers through to Plate Final
This season’s dramatic heat wave has been matched by an equally phenominal increase in the number of Harrier Track and Field athletes. The influx has ensured a new strength and depth to the teams, and so with their final match of the season in Peterborough on Sunday 5 August (always a tough month to get athletes out to compete), there were hopes that being able to cover as many events as possible would gain the green vests the score needed for a top three finish. It was all about the points and securing a place in the top 12 clubs in the Eastern region and with it a chance to compete – for the first time ever – in the Plate final in Watford on 2nd September.
Provisional results on the day showed Colchester Harriers finishing in third place with 541 points, above Nene Valley putting them in 12th position in the League– which would mean, once confirmed – that they will be heading to compete against those clubs in 7th to 12th place.
Matching the sizzling thermometer readings, Olivia Simon, Harvey Daniels, Emily Swann and Jack D’Eath all soared to new heights in the Polevault competition. Quite a feat given that they had to endure a lengthy wait whilst the officials unusually struggled to work out how to set up the equipment. Daniels, overcame a bad bout of self-doubt and fear to claim a massive new PB, adding half a meter to his previous best – with a confident clearance of 2.40m which equals the U15 Boys Club Record – and with lots of potential to take him much higher. Emily Swan, looking more confident in only her second PV competition equalled her PB with 1.50m as a non scorer. A 2018 signing, U17 Jack D’eath, showed impressive skill and courage to clear 2.30m and took 2nd place having only competed once before and with no training. U15, Olivia Simon, was determined to conquer her bogey height of 2.60m which she had been struggling to better over her last few meets. Joining the competition at 2.30m and with plenty of air space between her and the bar she then went on to clear 2.65m, earning maximum points and yet another PB and Club record and still only a first year U15.
No sooner had Simon put her Pole down she was picking up a Hammer and looking nice and relaxed managed to grab herself another PB and her second Club Record and First place finish of the day with a best throw of 38.46m – winning by a clear 6m.
Other highlights of the day included an exciting U15 Girls High Jump competition featuring first year Zion Ateba who found herself down to the last two and acquitted herself well going head to head against a Nene Valley athlete, one of the top jumpers in the country this year. Ateba’s clearance of 1.55m gained her a new PB and a good second place haul of points. Jack D’eath fresh from his Polevault success went on to finish third in the U17 men’s high jump with a clearance of 1.60m, whilst Chanel Mba took a good second place in the girls equivalent.
On the track Hollie Martin-Whymark kicked off the days events with a clear run in the U13 Girls 70m Hurdles, and showed once again that she has the potential to be a significant contender next year in this event. Lilly Sillett enjoyed a blistering start in her U15 75M Hurdles and held on well to cross the line just inches behind third place. Ateba had a tense wait to see if she had done enough to snatch third place in her U15 Girls A string race, but had to settle for a good 4th.
Multi- talented Kai Chilvers surely has an interesting few years ahead of himself; his very competent technique and quick ground speed could lead him down a very successful hurdling career – having lead the field from the gun, he was unfortunate to hit the fifth hurdle and despite losing his rhythm, he fought back well to take a very good third place. However, later in the day he ran a superb 1500m race. Tucking in behind the leader, Chilvers made excellent use of the slip stream and despite the pace being quick from the start he managed to keep up and at the 350m mark pushed on to over-take and ran on hard to finish some ten seconds ahead of second place and despite an amazing win he was disappointed with his time 4.32.8. And as if that were not enough he then gained another first place with a massive throw in the Javelin – five meters ahead of second place to claim a PB (32.46m) Could Harriers have another talented Multi- Eventer in its midst?
In other 1500m races U17 Ziggy Lambton once again showed his class by taking it out from the front… always a hard job to set the pace – but came home a clear ten seconds ahead of the second placed athlete. Next year should be interesting with both Lambton and Chilvers both in the same year group. In the Girls U13 races both Alice Begg and Dasiy Rickwood claimed good third place finishes in their respective races, with Daisy Hilson scoring vital points for the U17 W.
Against very stiff competition from Chelmsford and Ipswich runners, Harrier’s middle-distance athletes gained themselves some impressive personal best performances: starting with Rachel Sale who literally stepped in at the very last minute to compete the U13 A string and managed to knock 2.3 secs off her previous best. Jess Longstaff competing in the U15 Girls A string looked supremely impressive, running out in front over her first 400m and despite not being able to maintain her position, she bagged herself a well-deserved PB by some 3 seconds (2.47.4) which should take her into her winter season feeling confident for next year. Whilst Missy Buxton claimed valuable third place points as B string.
Thomas Palmer looked comfortable leading the field for the majority of his U17 men’s 800m. However, some tactical boxing in, left him to battle on the home straight and as the spectators cheers rose in excitement he pushed hard to cross the line in second place – with just six 10ths of a second between him and third place. Charlie Parmenter U13 and George Mann U15 both took good third place finishes in their respective races and despite Mann suffering badly from the heat he was tantalisingly close to a new PB
Olivia Gillon enjoyed a fantastic win in her U13 girls 100m; despite not claiming a new PB, technically she ran one of her best races of the year holding form to cross the line meters in front of the next competitor. In a much closer race, Talia Wynter kept calm to cross in a good second place, pushed all the time from her opponents. U17 Ella Gray showed consistent form clocking another 13.4s 100m and with it a good bag of 6 points for the club; however in the longer 200m she looked in great shape, having a good view of her competitors, she came off the bend in lane three into the lead and opened up nicely down the home straight for a clear win in a time of 27.2s a new PB.
Sam Shippey is certainly proving himself to be a dominant force in sprinting and a very handy team member. Most notable as a 300m / 800m runner he made his Harrier 100m debut as A string runner – and from the gun showed his commitment to the race claiming his first healthy PB of the day (12.0s). Later in the afternoon in his 200m he dominated off the bend and just kept pulling away to gain his second win and a further PB of 23.5s. Oliver Mitchell looked strong as he powered over the line in 12.4s for first place B string 100m but sadly had to withdraw just minutes before his 200m. Stepping into his shoes was another 2018 signing Tanarka Maara and what a find for Harriers! What he may lack in style he has in strength; coming off the bend he ate up the ground as he chased down and overtook to cross the line a hairsbreadth from first place. Not only did he claim much needed second place points for the team but he obliterated his previous PB from 27.7s to an astonishing 25.4s Earlier in the day he had run as a non-scorer in the 100m, where he lowered his 100m PB from 13.2 to 12.6s. Achieving all this in a pair of trainers and very little technical training.
Joe Clarke found himself at this meet as A string for both U17 men’s 100m and 200m and for someone who claims to get nervous, conducted himself well to run two consistent races against tough competition. A good 4th in his 100m and a great third in his 200m. His strongest event always comes last in the schedule and having literally just run a 200m he then went and competed in the Triple Jump, claiming an excellent second place with 11.07m.
In the U17 W 300m race Ayra Anderson held off strong opposition from both Chelmsford and Ipswich to not only shave two 10ths of a second off of her PB, but also achieved a great win in a time of 45.6s. She had previously claimed a good second place as B string 200m. Keagan Berg competing the U17 men’s 400m for the first time claimed a PB of 61.8s.
Other field event highlights included maximum points earned by Alice Begg in the B string U13 G High Jump; Second place and PB for Olivia Gillon in U13 Discus (11.06m), third place finishes for both Talia Wynter and Alexandra Bell-Cobbold in U13 Long Jump. In U15 Girls Kayleigh Hale claimed second place in Javelin with a throw of 28.53m, just shy of her PB and third in Shot Putt (8.04m), scraping a small but none the less new PB. In U17 W Aliyah Soames should have gone home very pleased with her performances, earning valuable points by taking first and a PB in the B string Shot Putt (8.22m) second in A string Hammer (20.73m) with yet another good PB and second in Javelin with a best of 28.50m. Daisy Hilson, having never picked up a Javelin before, took second in the B string with a PB of 20.44m. Victoria Utti had to settle for second place in Shot, whilst Savannah Harrison took 5th in the Triple Jump with 9.22m
In the equivalent boys events William Long took Second in the U13 boys High Jump, adding 10 cm to his previous best, Charlie Parmenter added valuable centimetres onto his Long Jump PB to improve his best to 3.35m and added points for third place. Charlie Palmer competing three throws events added to his Shot Putt PB to hover just under the 7m mark.
Ending the day was the usual team battle in the relays with the U15 Boys claiming a great victory despite a hick up on change over between 2nd and 3rd leg, with Shippey overtaking on the home straight to bring the baton safely home in a time of 48.7s. The U13 Girls were set up well by Bell- Cobbold and held the lead until the final few meters when Wynter was just pipped on the line. Lots of potential for this young squad though, finishing in 58.1s. Our U13 boys lack strength and dept in the sprints and although getting the baton round had to settle for last place. U17 W team came home in third in a time of 54.6s and to end the day the U17 men’s team with two members literally having just finished their Triple Jump competition got round in fourth place in 50.7s.
Other vital points were earned by: Katherine Harvey (U15g 100m), Raine Taylor (U15g 200m), Missy Buxton (U15g 300m), Jennifer Palmer (U17 w 300m & Discus ), Victori Utti (U17 w High Jump ) Thomas Ashley (U13b 100m / 200m / Long Jump), Harrison Leek (U13b 800 & Shot), Bhramav Rajesh (U13b High Jump, Discus), Barney Balding (U15b 1500), Sebastian Jacobs (U15b 300m / Long Jump). Others competing were Jenny Woods (200m) and Isabella Minder U17 300m and Long Jump.