It was brilliant to see so many of our juniors giving it their all as the Harrier League XC season began at Wrekenton on Saturday. Our U11's started things off, with harrier league debuts all round for our young athletes. In the boys race Tom Flloyd recorded a time of 7:00 to finish in 18th place, with Jack Webster 34th in 7:18. Jacob Martin was superb on debut as he took 42nd place, with Jack Ellis in 57th. In the girls race, Liliana Meikle-Lopez was our highest finishing junior with a fantastic 6th place in 7:20 in the field of 60 athletes.
By now, the rain had started which made conditions tricky for our older athletes. Jamie Floyd, running from the fast pack, recorded a time of 10:05 in the U13 boys race. George Bryce took a top 20 placing in the U15 boys race in a time of 10:10, whilst in the girls U15 race Niamh Adams took a strong 22nd place running from the fast pack.
Finally, Ellie Allan made a welcome return to the club, 3 years after she last competed. Whilst previously she was more familiar with shot put and javelins, her XC debut saw Ellie finish with a big smile on her face and we look forward to seeing more races from her in the future.
The long track and field season finally came to a conclusion at the weekend, with our athletes comping at the ESAA national finals in Bedford, and the NECAA Pentathlon in Monkton. We start our round up of the action down in Bedford!
No fewer than five Blyth juniors qualified for the national finals, an unprecedented number. Our Intermediate girls Senna Gorvett, Sadie Parker (both Northumberland), and Hannah Wilson (Durham) were joined by Inter boy Luke Pichler and Senior Girl Millie Train (both Northumberland). For all five athletes, it was their first year in age group, so this was very much a learning opportunity in what would be a competition of the very highest standard.
Saturday began with the Hurdles for the girls as they commenced their Heptathlons. Millie Train produced a fine run, just outside her PB to start the day well. Sadie, Senna and Hannah were all a little below their best but put solid points on the board. The high jump followed, with Millie jumping 1.47m which was a seasons best, whilst our inter girls had mixed results. Hannah cleared a huge 1.59m, with Sadie setting a new personal best of 1.53m with a fine clearance. Senna struggled with her approach, battling to 1.44m which was below her usual standard.
Luke had commenced his Octathlon in the long jump, getting points on the board early, before the first real moment of peril happened in the discus. Two no throws put pressure on Luke heading into the final round, and he ensured at least some points with a sensible and safe standing throw. Back over in the Heptathlon's, Millie's shot put was somewhat below her usual standard, but kept her in a strong position overall. There was a big seasons best for Hannah as she continued to build momentum, whilst Senna produced the highlight of her day 1 with a massive PB of 9.90m in the final round to kick-start her competition. Things didn't go to plan for Sadie - despite clearly having a big throw in the locker, fouls on the first two attempts applied the pressure. Her 3rd round throw stayed in the sector, but was way down on her usual distance.
Luke was looking to rebuild after the discus, and he absolutely did this in style, with the longest javelin throw of anyone, and a new PB of 45.34m The day finished with the 400m, where Luke finished strong in a very solid time. The 200m finished day 1 for the girls - sadly Sadie didn't start, whilst Senna recovered from a poor start to storm through on the home straight. Hannah produced a stand-out performance of the weekend to run a fully committed race and record an extraordinary PB of 25.23. Millie went out hard in her 200m, however coming onto the straight she was in clear discomfort, with cramp in her leg being a re-occurrence of what happened at regional qualifiers - however she would battle on despite the pain.
Day 2 started for Senna and Hannah in the long jump, with a solid 5.10m for Hannah, and Senna a little below her best with a new run-up. Millie was committed to getting through as much of the day as possible, and was rewarded with a stunning 4.78m long jump, only being denied a PB by the wind gauge. Luke produced a solid hurdles run, before a clearance of 1.77m to give him a solid start to day 2. In the Javelin, there was delight for all 3 girls as they all recorded strong PB's despite the tricky headwind on the javelin runway. Luke continued his steady day in the shot put, before the athletes prepared for the final event of the weekend. Millie Train sensibly elected not to take the start of the 800m due to the continued pain she was in, but can be very proud of her performances amidst adversity, and she was lying in a superb 17th place after the 6 events. Senna was drawn into a slightly slow pace on lap 1, but showed good relaxation and made 2:34 look very easy, which should give her confidence for the future. Conversely, Hannah was drawn into a slightly fast pace than was planned, but showed great strength and commitment as she worked towards the Line. Luke finished his Octathlon in the 1500m, ending his season with a committed run.
It was an 8th place finish for Luke, a great learning opportunity that will give him encouragement heading into his 2nd year in age group. Likewise, Hannah (10th) and Senna (26th) did themselves proud after a long season. Millie and Sadie may not have made the finish, but both had highlights and some real learning opportunities from the weekend.
Whilst Bedford was blessed with hot conditions throughout, conditions were far worse at Monkton for the NECAA Pentathlon, with grey skies and a sodden track greeting our athletes.
Our U13’s gained valuable experience throughout the day – and its this experience which will stand them in good stead for future pentathlons in years ahead. Aman Sanghera put in a fine series of performances. There were big PB’s in the shot put (5.91m) , 70m hurdles (12.48s) and high jump (1.19m), whilst a solid long jump helped set-up a chance of a medal heading into the 800m. Aman gave it her best in her first race over this distance, but sadly fell just outside the medal places. Fearne Bell produced a really consistent series of performances, which is the key in a multi-events competition – Fearne can take the experience gained into the winter season as she moves up an age group. India Gorvett has another year in the U13 age group, but has racked up fantastic experience this year as she completed her 4th pentathlon. This was one that was filled with ups and downs, including a no height in the high jump. She showed resilience to bounce back, and complete the pentathlon with a positive attitude.
Our U15’s had a similarly mixed day. Izabela’s day sadly ended early, after a fall during her hurdles warm-up resulted in a trip to first aid. Caitlin Creaby very much went through the pentathlon ups and downs. A definite highlight was the shot put, where she set a big new personal best. Solid performances in the high jump and long jump helped build her points total, whilst hurdles proved to be a work-in-progress still. Isla Bell’s standout moment was a brilliant win in her hurdles heat in 12.55s, and she was close to her best in both the high jump and long jump to help set-up a medal charge. Whilst her shot put was someway below her best, Isla was in with a chance of a medal heading into the 800m. Sadly it was not to be though, and despite a brave run Isla had to settle for 4th place. Hollie-Anne has had an incredibly busy end to the season, and she was looking to finish with a positive performance. It was not a day for PB’s for Hollie, but it was a day for a brilliantly consistent series of performances across all 5 events. This resulted in a brilliant silver medal for Hollie, a fantastic end to her season.
On Saturday, our juniors gave it their all as they participated in one of the worlds most famous racing weekends. The Junior Great North Run is something that inspires our juniors of all ages and abilities, and this year we had older athletes such as Evan competing for the last time, alongside more speed based athletes moving out of their comfort zone such as sisters Isla and Fearne, as well as younger juniors representing the club for the very first time at this event.
Check out our gallery below, and we would love to hear from those who took part, and share your experiences!
The Sprint Relays are always a fantastic end of season event, and once again Blyth juniors put on a great show, with all of junior teams shining brightly and delivering stunning results.
Things kicked off with a mixed team going in the U13 race. Alex and Martha stepped up and age group, alongside Ben and Amara as they concluded their time in the U13 age group. It was an assured run through of slick changeovers, with the team taking 2nd place in their heat as Martha stormed down the home straight, having been set-up superbly by Ben, Alex and Amara,
Later on, our scoring U13 girls team had their chance to shine. India kicked things off, before Safia, Fearne and Amara brought the team home to a thrilling 2nd place, scoring big points.
Our U15 girls team were in fine form - Caitlin, Hollie, Isla and Talia teamed up to deliver a race packed full of foot speed, with some slick changeovers. The team took a fighting 2nd behind a strong Hartlepool team, with Talia showing superb relaxation and form down the home straight.
The points kept on coming in the U17 race, and this time it was maximum points for our team of Sadie, Senna, Abi and Lauren. The girls produced a hugely committed performance, and would not let anything stand in the way of a deserved race win. The winning time of 51.20s is the new U17 club record and just two tenths off the outright club record.
It wasn't just the juniors in action, seniors were looking to rack up the points for the club as well. There was drama in the mixed 4x200, as coaches Dan and Nigel's changeover went disastrously wrong - with a dropped baton and a long inquest still going on.
Our 4x200 team of Isla, Abi, Hollie and Caitlin was non-scoring as it was not a mixed boys/girls team, but they produced one of the fastest times across the age groups in the 2 lap race, with a club record 1:51.94s for 4x200 U15 girls. A fine run! The evening finished with the 4x400 relays. Senna, Sadie and Lauren stepped up an age group to join Kandis in the senior race. As the girls had run as U17's earlier in the night, it meant that we would not score points, however it does not make the result any less impressive. The girls took approximately 37 seconds off the club record in a time of 4:04.75 to take a massive victory. It was a fine end to a brilliant evening. We only had 5 scoring teams in total, but finished in 7th place overall in the relay competition, which was a great result.
We look forward to more relays next year!
5 Blyth juniors started their XC seasons on Saturday in the junior races at the Farringdon XC Relays. Warm conditions greeted our young athletes, and they all performed superbly, with Jack and Tom starring in the U11 race. Jack took 12th place in 4m28s, whilst Tom was 16th in 4m33s. Jamie Floyd was our highest finisher of the day, in an excellent 7th place in the U13 boys race, recording a time of 11m27s. In the U15 boys race, George ran strongly to take 27th place in 11m53s, whilst Niamh represented the girls and was a fine 8th in 12m31s.
Well done to all!
Results are on this link. Photo credits Stuart Whitman.