England Athletics Senior Champs 2018 - Day Two
Day two saw the sprinters pick up where they had left off on day one, with a host of impressively quick heats culminating in two tremendous finals. Plus, of course, there was a chance for the distance runners to strut their stuff, albeit with fast closing laps, as conditions were once again blustery or wet. Not to mention one of the furthest triple jumps ever by a Briton.
That field action was among the day's highlights, as Naomi Ogbeta (Trafford, Tom Cullen) produced a huge lifetime best of 14.15w, the perfect send-off for Berlin and the European Champs next week. Yes, it was in part thanks to a +3.2 following wind, but nonetheless only two Brits have ever jumped further and it was truly a mark of international significance.
After a great win on day one in the 100m, Kimbely Baptiste (Crawley) was always going to be the athlete to watch over 200m, not least as she came to the event as defending champion. And so it proved as after a smooth bend, she powered away in the final 100 for a 23.40w victory, much quicker than last year.
In the ambulant women’s 200m, Eve Walsh-Dann (North Down, Keith Dann) clocked a rather swift 30.69w, good for No.2 in the world had it not been for the +2.6m/s wind.
The men’s race was always going to be tough to call. Edmond Amaning (TVH) strung together 20.50w and 20.60w to advance to the final, while the 100m champ Andrew Robertson (Sale, Sam Robertson) was a stride or two slower, but was clearly a man in form with that 10.06w the day before. And of course, there was the defending champ Antonio Infantino (Kings College, Joshua Nevers-Simpson) 20.61w semi to consider. Who’d win this one?
The answer came at the end of what was the best race of the day. Robertson got a blistering start, but it was Amaning who held his form together best to win in a windy (+4m/s) 20.44w from Infantino (20.52w).
The 100m hurdles also featured a cracking field, with UK champ Alicia Barrett (Chesterfield, Toni Mininchello), defending champ Yasmin Miller (Derby, Robert Smith) and in-form multi eventer Danielle McGifford (Wigan and District, Sharon Walls) who clocked a windy 13.34 in the semis to beat Barrett, all looking likely candidates for the gold medal. It was Barrett who got the best start before hitting the seventh hurdle; she could do nothing as Jessica Hunter (SB, Scott Grace) flew past to record a (windy) lifetime best of 13.30, adding to the U23 title she won earlier this year.
In a case of ‘if it’s good for sprinters then I can do it too’, Jess Judd (Blackburn, Mike Judd) waited until 2km in the 5000m before making her move. One quick lap later it was all over and Judd continued to smoothly ease away from the chasing pack to add this title to the BUCS one she took at the start of the season. She reached 3km in 9:47.1, 15sec ahead of the chasing pack and built that to a commanding 18sec by the finish line, crossed in 16:13.47.
In the men’s race, no-one could respond when defending champion Alex Teuten (Southampton, Rod Lock) surged to the lead. So emphatic was that fast lap that the cross country international had time to ease off over the final 400m, covered in 65sec, to win in 14:42.42.
A split time of 60.2 will tell you the men’s 800m was a cagey affair and, using the power of hindsight, it probably wasn’t a good idea to allow Markhim Lonsdale (Crook, Keith Lonsdale) to lead given his standout closing speed. And so it proved as he opened up a huge gap with 180m to run. John Bird (Ipswich, Rob Denmark) did close significantly in the final 50m and had Lonsdale anxiously glancing to his right, but the Crook athlete hung on to win in 1:54.18.
If the 800m featured a slow opener that was nothing compared to the 76.7 first 400 in the Men's Mile; an 800m split of 2:30.9 understandably didn’t do much damage so it was all down to he final 420m, the point at which it all kicked off (3:39.2, bell). There were faster milers in the field, but Jacob Brown (Vale Royal, Andrew Carter) can claim to be the best sprinter on the day, and took the coveted title in 4:33.01, just hanging on from Andrew Smith (P&B, Aaron Thomas) 4:33.19.
Hayley McLean (Chelmsford, Chris Zah) was a rather more comfortable winner of the 400m hurdles. The European U23 champion and now three time CAU winner looked easy and in full control, if that’s possible in the pouring rain, and easily won, her 58.80 more than two seconds slower than her best – it was that miserable early on!
And, if anything, the men’s race five minutes later was run in even worse conditions, although that didn’t appear to worry Jacob Paul (WSE, Marina Armstrong) too much as he powered to win in 51.47; nice running in what can only be described as testing conditions for the hurdlers.
The field events were also particularly demanding as competitors had to contend with a swirling wind and early on, a very wet circle. In the women’s hammer, British Masters champion Lucy Marshall (WGE, Gary Herrington) threw 59.64 in round five to pass long time leader Pippa Wingate (Kingston & Poly H, Gareth Cook), who had led from the second round thanks to her 59.34. Both were below what they have thrown elsewhere this season, but both coped with the washout conditions superbly.
The men’s long jump was a much closer affair, as seven men bettered seven metres, but early on no-one moved beyond 7.39. However, with his longest leap ever – a windy 7.78 – Reynold Benigo (Sale, Lukasz Zawila) seized the initiative. The U23 champion followed that with a 7.87w to make the most of the now dry but still gusty conditions. Jacob Fincham-Dukes (Leeds, Matt Barton) responded with 7.60 in round four and then 7.81 to make sure Benigo had to keep his focus in the closing stages, but had to settle for silver.
George Armstrong (NEB, Zane Duquemin) trailed Chris Scott (Southampton, Andy Neal) for much of the competition, but a massive PB of 59.72 in the fifth round meant he could add this title to the U23 he won earlier this season in Bedford.
Double Paralympic champion Stefanie Reid (Charnwood, Aston Moore) was the standout competitor in the long jump and unsurprisingly was the comfortable winner with 5.43. Zak Skinner (Loughborough, Aston Moore) also produced a useful 6.46 opener to win the men’s ambulant final.