A squad of 13 Blyth athletes travelled to Middlesbrough for the Northern Championships over the weekend of the 12th and 13th August. Blustery and at times wet conditions greeted the athletes on Saturday, making for a challenging environment, but our athletes handled it superbly.
First up, India Gorvett produced a consistent series in the U13 long jump, before older sister Senna cruised through her 300m hurdles heat as the fastest qualifier. Niamh Adams went in the 1500m final. She ran a strong first lap but was not quite able to maintain the pace and finished in 13th place. Sadie Parker put some difficult recent competitions behind her in the long jump, and started to rediscover some accuracy on her approach in the blustery conditions. A fifth round leap of 5.33m was enough to secure silver in a very strong field. Hollie-Anne Sudder was involved in a close battle in the javelin, and whilst she did not reach her usual distances, she was still able to finish 5th, within centimeters of the medal placings.
India produced one of the performances of the weekend in the shot put, throwing a massive personal best of 5.25m, before lining up for her 200m heat just minutes later. Senna Gorvett lined up for her 300m hurdles final, going out fully committed at the gun. She was engaged in a neck-and-neck battle with Lucy Salter of Stockport, with both girls pushing each other to the line in a thrilling battle. Senna maintained her form off the final hurdle, and produced a monster dip for the line to take the gold by just 0.06s. Her time of 44.00s was a huge PB, and is the 2nd fastest all-time by a North East athlete.
Sunday greeted our athletes with slighty more settled weather, and things started with a bang with 4 athletes in the long jump. Caitlin, Izabela and Abi did not quite hit there normal marks, however there was a big breakthrough for Talia Green as she leaped to 4.12m in the final round, a massive personal best and it secured her 2nd place in Pool B. Lauren Creaby negotiated her 800m heat comfortably, crossing the line first, whislt Luke started his day with a big personal best in the discus, exceeding 35m for the first time. Amber Wright took 6th in the high jump, with a best of 1.45m as she showed great composure. The 300m heats were up next, with Isla producing a huge PB of 43.04s to finish 4th in her heat, and qualify for the final. Caitlin also ran a massive PB of 44.34s, which was a brilliant performance.
In the 100m heats, Izabela recovered from a poor start to finish well, whilst Talia set another personal best with a great run. Next up were the sprint hurdles heats. In the U15 heats, Izabela produced a strong run, maintaining her stride pattern all the way, whilst Isla was just outside her PB despite having barely recovered from her 300m heat. Abi has been in fine recent form, and took a controlled win in her heat to set her up for the final. In the U17 heats, Amber had a solid race but didnt progress to the final, whilst Sadie was 2nd in her heat and qualified for the final later in the day. Luke Pichler went in a straight 100m hurdles final, and whilst his run was far from clean, he battled through for a well earned bronze medal.
In the Javelin, Sadie was not quite able to replicate her warm-up throws in competition, whilst Senna produced 3 throws all in excess of her previous PB to leave her very happy. In the Long Jump, Luke was involved in a thrilling battle for Gold with Rhys Brunton of NS Poly. The title looked to be slipping away after Rhys took the lead in the 5th round, but Luke fully comitted to a max-attack final jump, launching himself to 6.19m which was enough to take gold by just 6cm. In the 200m, Hollie-Anne Sudder produced a run just outside her PB from the trick lane 2 to finish 3rd in her heat, just missing out on a place in the final by a tenth of a second.
The action was coming thick and fast towards the end of the day, with more medal prospects still to come. Lauren went in the 800m final. The first lap was ran at a relatively slow pace, with Lauren part of the leading trio. The pace slowly ramped up on the 2nd lap, with the big moves being made with 150m to go. In an intense battle down the home straight, Lauren gave it everything, just being pipped to 2nd place on the line, but it was a hard-fought bronze.
In the Hurdles finals, Sadie was first up and she produced a sensational start in a loaded field. At halfway, she sat in 2nd place, with athletes all around pushing her hard. Off the final hurdle she was just overtaken by athletes either side, but a 4th place finish in a big PB of 12.04s was a great result. In the U15 final, Abi recovered from a slow reaction to attack the first hurdle with great intent. As she battled to get into contention, she hit several hurdles hard, which eventually affected her rhythm and she finished 7th. The action concluded with Isla in the 300m. After fully committing in her heat, the final was always going to be hard work - but and 8th place finish at this level was a creditible performance.
It was a fine Championships for Team Blyth, with our athletes showing superb maturity, teamwork and athleticism throughout.
Photo Credits Ross Pichler & Stuart Whitman