Athletics: Harlow AC youngsters shine at Watford Mini Open

Athletics / Mon 5th Jun 2023 at 09:58am

THE Waterside Centre, Walton-on-Thames played host to the South of England Senior and U20 Championships this weekend. Harlow’s sole entrant was Beth Harryman. Harryman was competing in just the long jump, as she finds competitions to help her build to her primary event of Heptathlon. 5.21m was good enough for fifth on the day. She now goes in to a busy period of competition as, in addition to competing for Harlow, she has been picked up by Herts Phoenix to compete ‘second claim’ in National League matches.

Meanwhile, Woodside Stadium, Watford entertained athletes just starting out on their athletic journey. Host club, Watford Harriers were delighted by their largest ever field for the popular Mini Open series. One hundred and seventy-six participants aged 8 to 13, from right across the region, and beyond, came together to compete in a range of traditional and modified events. There were fourteen Harlow athletes.

At the time of writing, a full result card was unavailable but there were some notable performances by Harlow’s youngsters: Lacey Murray and Jasmine Larke competed in the shot putt for Y6, 7 & 8 girls. It was the first time that either had done so and they finished in fifth and sixth respectively in a fourteen competitor field.

Murray’s good day continued in the long jump as she won the competition with a best jump of 4.10m. Just behind her, with a best jump of 4m was Holly Austin. In the Year 3 & 4 event, Eleni Kember jumped a personal best that now stands at 2.08m.

Austin came primarily to run 100m and ran extremely well, into a headwind, to win the Y8 race in 14s flat. Below Y8, there were many sprint heats in distances ranging from 70m to 80m. Eleni Kember and Florence Larke were in the same Y3/4 heat. Larke won and Kember was fourth. Brother, Sean Kember, was fourth in his race.

The distance moved up to 80m for Year 5 boys and girls. Skyla Johnson was fourth in her heat and Darcie Bruce and Sophie Kember were in the same heat. Bruce won with Kember in fourth. Cassius Weekes was second in a very competitive boy’s race in the third heat.

100m was also the distance for Year 6 upwards. Inaaya Eaton and Emilia Larke were another pair placed in the same heat for Y6. Eaton was second and Kember fourth.

Hurdles was poorly supported with only a single race at each age group from Y5 to Y8. Nevertheless, Harlow had two entrants. Inaaya Eaton was third in her first ever 70m hurdles race. And at 75m for the Y5 boys, Cassius Weekes stormed to victory by fully half a second. Both show a lot of promise for the discipline.

The day concluded with a range of distance races from 400m for the youngest, to 800m for the eldest competitors in attendance. Huxley Richards, in his very first appearance in a Harlow vest, was ninth in a large 600m field for Y5 boys. In the girl’s race Darcie Bruce was involved in perhaps the race of the day. She nearly led from gun to tape. However, she was run out in an exciting sprint finish that began 50m from home.

It was good to see such enthusiasm for competition, and to see Harlow numbers grow from the six who participated at the first Watford event in April. The quality of performances also bodes well as the club looks to create a ‘conveyor belt’ into youth league teams in the future.

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