Athletics: Harlow AC produce outstanding performances at county championships

Athletics / Mon 15th May 2023 at 10:47am

County Athletics Championship Weekend 13/14 May

ALL over the country this weekend, counties have been hosting their county championships. Harlow AC had athletes at both the Hertfordshire and Essex championships.

On Day One, eleven athletes were at Thurrock for Essex and six at Watford for Hertfordshire. The Essex event got underway in peculiar circumstances as when the U13 Girl’s hurdlers gathered to report, it was apparent that not all had turned up. With heats no longer required, there was a hasty re-seeding, and a straight final took place. Consequently, Harlow had two finalists: Kitty Tyson and Ciara Dobson. Tyson ran a strong race and took silver in a time of 12.40s, a new personal best. Dobson finished in sixth place and recorded a PB, 15.34s.

At the same time as this event on track, Daniel Hundley was in U15 Boy’s Long Jump action. He did not make the top eight cut and finished in tenth with a best leap of 3.83m.

The action for Harlow returned to the track with an U15 Girl’s hurdle race and U15 Boy’s 1500m races. Louise Duffy ran perhaps the bravest race of the day in that hurdle race. Even before hurdle one, she stumbled and then fell heavily off the barrier. Time is naturally immaterial in such circumstances, but she got up and completed the race. Much to the approval of the sizeable crowd.

Daniel Hundley moved swiftly from jumping to the U15 1500m race and was seventh in the nine-athlete field. In the same race was George Watkins, who finished third in a new PB time of 4.36.62 mins. Hundley’s mark was also a new PB of 5.25.01 mins.

For Harlow, the next races of note were the 100m heats. No athlete made it beyond the first round but there were plenty of personal bests: at U13 level, Kitty Tyson recorded 14.37s and Noah Brown, in the boy’s race, ran in 14.38s. At U15 level, Holly Austin ran 13.85s, Grace Bradfield made her debut in 15.05s and Louise Duffy returned to the track and ran 14.32s. 

Noah Brown and Tate Smith were both in long jump action next. Neither made the top eight cut and finished in tenth and eleventh positions respectively. Brown’s best jump was 3.69m and Smith’s 3.63m

Another newcomer to the club was Honey Trevellyan-Tucker. She was in U13 Discus and learnt what a cruel sport athletics can be. Going into the final round, she lay in third place. Sadly, two athletes who had shown no signs of throwing far pulled out two longer throws from nowhere. She should not be downhearted, as there is a lot more to come form someone that has just learnt the basics of the discipline.

The day concluded with U15 High Jump action in the field, and 800m time trials for U13 boys and girls. Abigail Jones was making her first outdoor appearance of the season and jumped 1.23m, good enough for seventh, and just two centimetres down on her indoor best.

Tate Smith ran in the boys’ time trial and was fifth in his race. Once the times were gathered, he was placed ninth overall. Ciara Dobson was seventh in her race and eleventh overall for the girls.

And over at Watford on Saturday, half a dozen Harlow AC athletes were in action. Neither Daisy Goodwin nor Isla Garrett made it through the rounds, but both ran well in the U15 800m. Goodwin ran 2.45.16 mins and Garrett 2.42.06 mins.

Thomas Grey was fifth in his U13 100m heat and equalled his PB of 14.5s. Nissi Onofowokan fared better at U17 level. She made the final and ran a PB, 13.4s, for second.

Another silver medal came in the form of Samson Brichieri-Colombi’s U17 javelin performance. He threw 45.15m, just a fraction down on the PB he set at a throws festival at Lee Valley a short time ago.

Day Two for Hertfordshire was a quieter affair for Harlow with only Nissi Onofowokan in attendance. Following her success on Day One, she was in confident mood. Conditions were perfect for sprinting, and she ran very well indeed.  She became Hertfordshire U17 champion, setting a new personal best in the process, 27.64s. She completed a medal cycle of Gold, Silver, and Bronze by coming away with an unexpected, and very welcome, third in the U17 Long Jump competition.

Back in Thurrock, Beth Harryman jumped in the senior women’s High Jump and was second with a height of 1.55m. She also took part in the senior shot competition. At the time of writing, the result remained unrecorded on the electronic system.

Middle- and long-distance events dominated the morning’s track programme. Faryl Wright was sixth in her U15 800m heat, setting a new PB in the process, reducing it to 2.37.00 mins.

In the Under 15 Boy’s event, Manny Richards negotiated the round and made it to the final. He was seventh in that final and set a new PB of 2.16.02 mins when he crossed the line.

At Under 17 level, Sonnie Mowatt was fifth in his heat and produced yet another Harlow PB, 2.16.95 mins.

There were two entrants in the seldom run 3000m for U15 and U17 athletes. Conor McEwan acquitted himself well, achieving eighth place in the U17 event in 10.55.51 mins. And perhaps performance of the day by anyone was George Watkins 9.39.10 mins for Gold in the U15 event.

There was a brief hiatus from track interest as Faryl Wright and Louise Duffy went in the U15 Girl’s Long Jump. It was an extraordinarily large field, and they were fifteenth and sixteenth respectively in the nineteen-competitor field.

The track took a break from distance races and 200m took centre stage. In the Under 15 Girl’s, Faryl Wright set a new PB in her heat of 29.98 and Holly Austin broke her PB twice. She qualified for the semi final by coming second in her heat. She then further reduced her PB to 28.62s as she was fourth in her race. In the U17 Women’s race, Gift Mutale was seventh in her heat and hit a new PB in the process, 29.01s. 

David Riok was the club’s only other entrant in the U15 boy’s race. He qualified from his heat as a fastest loser. He came to life in the final, eating up the ground on those outside of him from Lane 2. There was a moment where it looked possible that he could hold on for second but was taken a few strides from the line in an exciting finish. His time of 23.65s was a huge new personal best as he took bronze. His time is also 0.06s outside a long-standing club record for the age group.

The final event of the day was the 1500m time trial for U13 boys and girls. The club had two participants, Ben Tucker and Soshin Yoshitake-Thatcher. The pair were placed eighth and ninth respectively and both recorded PBs in the process. Yoshitake-Thatcher’s best now stands at 5.49.19 and Tucker’s at 5.25.32 mins.

In the final reckoning, twenty-one Harlow AC athletes participated in the two competitions achieving 19 PBs and 2 Season’s Bests. They also picked up two Golds, six Silvers and two Bronze medals in the process. No one can ask for more than this.

Many congratulations to all the athletes and to the volunteer coaches who have helped them to achieve all of this.

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