A 50-STRONG team of Chichester’s top junior athletes notched one of the club’s best-ever performances in team athletics in the final National Youth Development fixture of the season.
They finished runners-up to Aldershot & Farnham in the Portsmouth fixture and even surprised top-of-the-table Walton by finishing 50 points clear and pushing them into third place.
Impressive wins from the club’s two English Schools athletes were probably the stand-out performances of the day, but the back-up from the rest of the squad was equally as important, especially the athletes competing in the B string events who ensured Chichester did not have a single weak event during a programme of 50 events.
In virtually-perfect conditions for sprinting, the under-15 girls’ pairing of Alyssa White and Rachel Laurie secured maximum points in both the 100m and 200m with dominant displays in both.
White broke her own personal bests with a 12.3sec clocking in the 100m, pushing her up into the top five in the UK, and won the 200m in 25.2sec, putting her equal third in the country.
Laurie completed a 12.9sec 100m and strode clear of her rivals in the 200m with only team-mate White faster.
Eloise Lane showed good speed in the 300m while Amber Dodd and Coco Smythe were in good form in the middle-distance races.
Newcomer Phoebe Pontet was fluent in the hurdles and the depth of the squad was evident in the non-scoring races with Roberta Collyer and Molly Hogan-Hussein in the 100m and Olivia Moranne, Florence Smith, Annie Gibson and Tahlia Juggins contesting the 800m.
With field events accounting for more than half the match points, Eleanor Lowes and Alice Walford proved one of the club’s best partnerships of the day with a double win in the shot putt and only two points dropped in a first and third on the hammer.
Lowes partnered Caitlin Brown for two second places in the discus while Walford and Collyer were both third in the javelin.
To complete a fine all-round girls’ under-15 effort, Smythe was partnered by Smith in the high jump and Anna Conlon in the long jump.
The 4x300m relay quartet of Lane, Laurie, Dodd and White set a new club record with a win by almost five seconds, which puts them into the top 20 in the national rankings with a time of 3.02.9.
Under 15 boys
A combination of fast track times and good field events enabled the boys’ under-15s to come within a few points of matching Aldershot, reckoned to be one of the best teams in the south in this age group.
Sprinters Lewis Hall and Cellan Robinson both set new personal best times of 12.3sec in the 100m for hard-fought third places while Hall broke the 25-second barrier with a 24.8 sec runners-up spot in the 200m, with Robinson posting a good 25.6 in the B string.
Ben Collins returned to form in a solo run in the 800m in 2.04.9, just a few hundredths off his all-time best and an impressive ten seconds in front of his nearest rival.
Jeremy Sharp dipped under the 2.30 barrier for the first time in finishing runner-up in the B string 800m while Harry Smith and JJ Staples set good times in the non-scoring race.
There was a double first in the 1,500m with both Will Broom and Leo Stallard having more than ten seconds to spare over their nearest challengers in the A and B strings.
Ethan Brown and Harry Carter kept the points tally moving in the hurdles while James Gillett again had the responsibility of spearheading the throws with close second places in both shot and discus and a third in the hammer.
In the absence of another specialist thrower, Smith stepped into the breach in both discus and hammer while Carter gained an unexpected win in the B string shot.
Stallard and Brown gained useful points in the javelin while the jumps were covered by Carter, Robinson, Collins and Brown. As with their girl counterparts, the 4 x 300 metres relay quartet set a new club record of 2.50.3 in chasing a talented Walton team all the way to the line – both clubs getting into the UK top 20.
One of the most promising features of the match was the showing of the girls’ under-13 team, with half the team of ten representing the club for the first time.
Emily Russell led the 75m and 150m for Chichester and posted good times with strong competition from all eight clubs, with newcomers Rachel Durham and Jess Rayner providing good support in the B string races.
Added to these, Fleur Hollyer and Megan Elkins posted good times in the non-scoring 75m.
In the middle-distance events there was a new pairing of Freya Chandler and Rebecca Mann in the 800m, providing the club’s strongest pairing of the season so far, while Nicole Boltwood and Nina Moranne continued their improvement in the 1,200m.
Another newcomer, Emily Shippam, joined Rayner for two good runners-up spots in the high jump. With Russell and Durham picking up good points in the long jump, there was delight for the 800m pairing of Chandler and Mann in the javelin as they came away with a double first, this after notching third and second in the shot putt.
There were many promising signs for the boys under-13s. Tom Davy and Liam Dunne both set PB times with runners-up spots in the 800m while Joe Careswell and Owen Thomas made a good pairing over 1,500m.
Archie Lyne and Tom Cohen, with Careswell in support, battled well against some nationally-ranked athletes in the sprints while Thomas and Davy picked up good points in the hurdles.
Eddie Critchell was joined by Oli Beach in the javelin while Beach and James Smith gained two well-deserved third places in the shot putt.
Jake Trafford was joined by Lyne, Cohen and Critchell in non-scoring races on the track with personal best times.
1 Aldershot & Farnham & District 678pts
2 Chichester 658
3 Walton AC 595
4 Horsham Blue Star Harriers 573
5 Woking AC 432
6 Sutton & District AC 245
7 Havant AC 225
8 Reigate Priory AC 220
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