Harriers out in force at the County Championships

There was a whole host of good performances by Wells Harriers of all ages at the Annual County Athletic Associationís Championships held at Yeovil track on Saturday 14th May. Damp and cool conditions were not conducive to fast times, good jumps or long throws at this stage in the season. A number of Harriers once again also officiated at the event, along with colleagues from Clubs and schools across the County. The packed programme started at 10.15am and finished at 6.45pm.

Club members collected a total of 7 Gold medals. Winning performances from Harriers came from Laura Parker in the Uí17 Womenís 1500m final, from Club coach Laura Whitehead in the Uí20s 400m & 800m, from Uí20 Tom Hockedy in the 400m, Karen Buckley in the Senior Womenís 3,000m, and from veteran Angus Henderson in the Senior Menís 800m & 1500m. Uí13 boy Callum Batten achieved a silver medal in the 1500m whilst Ann Taswell won silver in the Womenís 3,000m and Tom Bush was silver medalist in the Menís 1500m. A number of Club members competed for their schools, whilst others helped the combined Yeovil/Wells team to overall top place on the medals table.

A number of the junior Harriers from the regular Monday training group competed for the first time at these prestigious Championships and they can all feel pleased with their performances. Glastonburyís Callum Batten was 2nd in the Uí13s1500m in a time of 5.24.20 ó a new personal best (pb). Shepton Malletís Liam Black ran well in both the 100m & 800m for the Uí13 boys, finishing in 2.50.30 in the 800m. Both of Liamís times were pbs and it is clear that he can improve further as the season progresses.

Streetís Louis Curtis was close behind Liam as he ran an excellent 2.54.00 in the 800m race, and this is also a pb by over 8 seconds. Likewise, Streetís Joshua Leavey-Gillespie sliced over 14 seconds off his previous pb, in the Uí15 boys 800m with his time of 2.31.00. This was good enough for 7th overall, out of 16, and he then also competed well at 400m with 66.60. Meanwhile Joshuaís School mate Chris Wadey, who attends the Harrierís Tuesday training group, was 7th in a packed Uí15 boys 1500m race with 5.01.90 (pb). Just ahead of Chris was Alex Wiltshire in 5th place with a good 4.55.00.

Tom Hockedy again showed his sprinting qualities with his victory in the Uí20 menís 400m in a time of 49.35. This comes off the back of a heavy winter of rugby training which led to selection for a recent junior England Rugby team tour.

In the Uí13 girls 800m Glastonburyís Lucy Etherington ran well for 3.07.80. Brewhamís Justine Bowers jumped 3.56m in the Long jump and was 6th overall in the 800m with a time of 2.41.90 for the Uí15 girls. In the Uí17 women Laura Parker ran an excellent tactical race to finish first in the 1500m with a time of 5.03.50. In the same age group Sophie Etherington was 3rd in the Shot Putt with a 6.66m distance. Harrier Coach Laura Whitehead was 1st in both the Uí20 womenís 400m (62.95) and 800m (2.28.60). Laura was also pleased in some respects to see that she still holds the Championship best performance as a Uí13 800m runner from back in 1999.

Amongst the Seniors, there was a closely fought tactical race between two Harriers in the Menís 1500m with the last lap getting steadily faster and Angus Henderson just crossing the line ahead of young gun Tom Bush. Angusís 4.21.80 compared to Tomís 4.22.10. Angus had earlier gained his first gold medal with 2.05.90 in the 800m. In the Womenís 3,000m Harrierís again took a 1-2 with Karen Buckley winning in 10.36 and former international Ann Taswell in 11.08.

Fixtures:

Sunday May 22nd Brookside School Run, Street; Wessex Ridgeway Relay; Sunday May 29th Wells Fun Runs (10.30am) from Wells Town Hall; South West Athletic League Div One Fixture, Exeter ó combined team with Yeovil Olympiads. Sunday June 5th Crewkerne 9 & junior runs (10.00am) ó 5th round in the Somerset Race Series.