Written by Frank S
Our K&P junior athletes turned up en masse for the last county champs of the 2014 track & field season, as Sutton hosted the combined events, steeplechase and relay champs on 13/14 September.
The first medals were awarded for the U13 girls’ 4x100m relay, where our team (Hannah Lester, Jasmine Woodroffe, Lucy Tunnacliffe, Amelia Bell) met favourites Herne Hill Harriers. Right from the start both teams were well ahead of the other clubs, and battled it out to the finish line. They were so close to each other that for quite some time nobody was sure about the result. In the end HHH were just given the edge, but both teams had gone under the championship best performance that had stood since 1991 (!), and our team had improved their own Club record sensationally by nearly a full second. Next up were the U15 girls. Our ‘A’ team (Mica Powell, Rhianna Reynolds, Sophie Dimbleby, Ella Eze) evidently did not want to be upstaged by the U13s; they also ran to silver with a new Club record, behind Sutton but this time well ahead of Herne Hill. The future was represented by our ‘B’ team made up only of 1st year U15s (Eleanor Church, Eleanor McDonnell, Kathryn Bartle, Annabel Hobday) who had an excellent run coming 6th out of the 8 strong teams.
The 4x200m relays turned out to be equally competitive. Our U13 team (Zoe Shepherd, Imogen Busa, Gemma Watts, Amelia Bell) found themselves up against girls who looked nearly twice their height. Their run, while quicker than our boys on the following day, earned them 5th place. In the U15 4x200, Sutton were again well ahead, and Herne Hill turned the cards and this time finished ahead of our team (Annabel Hobday, Isabella Busa, Rebecca Keddie, Mica Powell) who added another bronze to the medal tally.
The boys’ and U17/U20 races were up on the following day. While we had no team in the U13 or U15 4x100, K&P were well represented in the older age groups. Our, mostly 1st year, U17 team (Eleanor Arnfield, Louise Trott, Petra Köne, Nina Gibbins) held it together well to win bronze. The men’s team (Alex Parkinson, Nick Osman, Alex Meaklim, Max Perez-Diaz) was mostly made up of U17s but had to run as U20. Not intimidated by the big men around them, the K&P team with their slick changeovers brought home the only gold medal for our relay teams.
In the last two races of the relay champs, our teams added further medals: first up was the U13 boys’ 4x200m, where our very junior team (Thomas White, Josh Bellamy, Luca di Libero, Ben Ashmore) ran to 3rd place. Their achievement was equalled by the U15 team (Blaize Lee-Blackwood, Ben Paton, Alex Burrows, Aaron Bruce). Their medal win was particularly sweet for Blaize and Ben who had been denied a well-deserved silver medal on a technicality last year.
Only one K&P athlete entered for the steeplechase, but Layla Thompson made up for the lack of numbers by winning the gold medal in the U20 1500m steeplechase.
The track champs were embedded into the combined events that were spread out over both days. We had three boys competing in the U13 event. Jack Westley, Aaron Marlow and Ben Ashmore all had very good competitions, adding PBs in several disciplines to their achievements over the season. Ben even led the field after the long jump, and finished a strong 6th. Aaron came 13th and Jack 14th overall. Our only representative for the U15 boys, Alan Berkeley, had a fine result in his specialist high jump event, but sadly then had to pull out with an injury.
Among a large field of 19 U13 girls on Sunday were four K&P athletes. Zoe Shepherd, one of the youngest athletes in the field, recorded several PB’s and finished 17th. Hannah Lester, Louisa Stoney and Lucy Tunnacliffe, with several PB’s and consistently strong performances, stayed within the leading competitors during the whole competition. The gruelling 800m at the end had to decide the medals. Lucy, who also won the shot putt event, just had the edge over Louisa in the finish and won the bronze medal. Louisa (5th) and Hannah (8th) also ended up in top positions among a very competitive field. The U15 girls’ competition started perfectly with our two competitors (Pippa Earley and Rhianna Reynolds) leading after the long jump. Pippa extended her lead in the hurdles, but then fell back in shot putt and high jump. In the concluding 800m Pippa set an astonishing pace and took more than 10 seconds out of her nearest rival – enough for the gold medal. Rhianna could not quite hold on to a medal, but also finished in the top group (5th).
In the U17 heptathlon, Laura Darcey was aiming to defend her 2013 title. PB’s in high jump and shot putt gave her the overnight lead, and after also winning the long jump she was out of reach for her competitors – gold again. A final medal in the combined events came through Michael May who braved the Masters’ pentathlon and finished in silver position.
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