Athletics: Harlow AC grab third place in first meet of the season

Athletics League Division 3 North, OXFORD

HARLOW began the 2019 season with what appeared on paper to be a tough opening fixture. The match was hosted by Oxford City, who were relegated from Division Two last season, and with two sides, Wycombe and Peterborough, that had finished higher than Harlow in the previous season also in attendance. In addition, injury and the timing of the match over the Easter holiday meant that the team was shorn of some much needed experience. However, whether it was the spires of Oxford or the exuberance of youth, the team was inspired and ended the day in third place.

The day began with women’s hammer and 400m hurdles. Grace Iyinbor made her debut In the senior side and was one of a number of athletes still young enough to compete in youth competitions as well. She threw a creditable 15.91m for fourth place in the A competition.

This was all the more impressive as she was also running the hurdles and had to miss a round to do so. In the hurdles she was second in the A competition and Mairi Malcolm picked up a valuable second in the B string race. Teale Cunningham and Carl Paxman were second and third respectively in the two men’s races.

Paxman then dashed over to compete in the Men’s hammer, alongside brother Glen, that was now underway. It is always useful to have multi-eventers in a squad and this was very much he case in the absence of specialist throwers at this match. Glen Paxman was fourth in the A competition and Carl took second in the B competition.

Shemar Boldizsar dominated the sprints winning easy victories in both 100 and 200 events. Debutant, Benison George, ran the B races and was fourth in the 100m and third in the 200m. For the women, Lucy Kemp had two A string fifth placed finishes. And Mairi Malcolm was fourth in the women’s 100m B race, with sister, Eilidh, taking the same position at 200m.

Men’s long jump was also underway and Harlow could call upon a confident Leo Chaschin, who only recently had returned from Sheffield ranked seventh in the country after the indoor season. He comfortably won the A event. After nearly two years away with injury and the university in York, Jordan Sheridan made a welcome return to Harlow colours. He, too was a comfortable winner in the B event. At the same time Chashchin and Glen Paxman were in control of the pole vault, both men won their respective events.

Over in the shot circle the Women’s Shot was underway. Beth Harryman threw close to her best to take second place. Debutant, Alex Gamzakova, was throwing the heavier 4k senior shot for the first time and must have exceeded her own expectation as she went over 7.50m to claim second in the B event.

At the conclusion of the women’s shot the men stepped almost immediately into their competition. Once again it fell to Glen and Carl Paxman to step up and throw the 7.26k shot. Glen did enough for fourth and Carl second in the two competitions. The same was true for long jump and the women. Harlow put out two new faces in Millie Upton and Mackenzie Cranfield. Both were fourth and Millie equalled her PB to do so.

On the track it was time for 800m action. Jamie Putt won the men’s A race and Alfred Corrigan was second in the B race. Grace Malcolm was fourth in the women’s A race and Mackenzie came across from Long Jump and ran for third place in the B race.

At the conclusion of these races it was straight on to 400m: Harry Woodall was second in the A race and Teale Cunningham first in the B competition. In the women’s races Eilidh Malcolm was third and Amelia Loveridge ran her first 400m to take second in the B race.

Cunningham went straight from the finish of his race to the high jump. He and Chaschin claimed a brace of first places. As High Jump is run as one competition, his actual finishing place was third. In the subsequent women’s competition, Beth Harryman was a comfortable victor, as she came in to the competition at a height that only one other competitor could match. Grace Iyinbor won the B competition to conclude a very satisfying first senior outing.

The gruelling 5k was on track and Donald Campbell and Carl Paxman went for the team. Campbell picked up fourth in the A race and Paxman third in the B. Sadly, with age category restrictions, and the women’s team reliant on U17 and U20 athletes, the women could field no competitors in the women’s 3k. This was to prove crucial in the final analysis.

The endurance races allowed time for the short hurdles to be set up. As soon as they could be run the men’s 110m hurdles and women’s 100m hurdles got underway. All three competitors entered by the team, Leo Chashchin, Glen Paxman and Beth Harryman won their races.

1500m was next on track whilst on the field women’s javelin and men’s triple jump were in full swing. Campbell and Corrigan were both fourth in the men’s races, whilst Eilidh Malcolm was fifth for the women. With Chaschin being held back to ensure the team had enough eligible athletes for relays later, Sheridan stepped up to A string and Glen Paxman was drafted in to B string for the triple jump. Sheridan was third and Paxman first in each competition. Harryman and Mairi Malcolm claimed both third places in the women’s javelin.

In the reverse of this round Upton and Gamzakova were both third in the women’s triple jump with Carl Paxman second in the A javelin and late replacement, Jamie Putt fifth in the B event. Putt’s inclusion was to allow Glen Paxman to be available for the steeplechase.

The day’s final round of individual events saw steeplechase on the track and discus in the field. Paxman and Campbell picked up both second places and Grace Malcolm third, as Harlow’s only woman in that steeplechase. Paxman then stepped off the track and came straight round to the discus. He was third and brother, Carl, second in the A and B events respectively. Gamzakova and Loveridge were both fourth in the women’s event.

The relays were in traditional format for this match, but will be mixed sex events at future matches. Harlow’s men’s 4 x 100 anchored by Boldizsar came through on the line to win the race. The 4 x 400 was totally dominant and won by almost eight seconds. The women’s 4 x 100 team was fourth and the 4 x 400 team was second, holding on in an exciting race for the line in the home straight.

On the day the result had Harlow a single point behind second, which made the team’s inability to field athletes in the 3k hugely significant. However, since the event a number of athletes and teams have fallen foul of tighter rules around registration and eligibility that came into force for this season. This has had a significant effect on the scores and moved Harlow up into second place.

Result

1 Oxford City 341, 2 HARLOW 311, 3 Wycombe Pheonix 308, 4 Peterborough173, 5 Vale of Aylesbury 129, 6 Chiltern 4

After Round 1 the team sits in fifth overall in the twenty-three team league. Full results can be found on the SAL website:

https://www.southernathletics.org.uk/2019_division3n.html

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