Record broken and impressive performances at U23 and U20 Championships
Jake Norris provided the highlight of the first day of the England Athletics U23 and U20 Championships as he unleashed a new UK record in the U20 hammer. There were impressive performances across a number of other events as the titles were decided.
The stand out moment of the first day at Bedford was Jake Norris (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) throwing a new British record of 80.45 in the final round of the U20 hammer. Having already set a British record of 79.55 at Baton Rouge LA, USA, the thrower who is one of Paul Dickenson’s impressive squad and now studying in the US, moved to within a centimetre the championships record of 73.42 in the third round. Then in the sixth round he threw out to over 80m to break the 80m mark and re-write his record as well. The throw was the second furthest in the world by an Under 20 this year. It came a week after he finished third at the NCAAs with a 73.24 thrown with the senior implement.
Jake commented, “I only came back on Wednesday morning so I’m still feeling it. I woke up at 3:30 this morning. I managed to get back to sleep for another hour but that was about it.
“Obviously I had to leave a day out for travel. But once I got back I pretty much did what I’d normally do, maybe cut down the volume a little bit, just to keep rested. But nothing much has changed.
“I felt like my throws today just felt easy, hitting 78s. I knew if I was going to catch one it would be a personal best.” Now Jake has his sights set on the World Juniors in Finland, “I think I’ve definitely got more in me and I definitely want to win that. Winning feels pretty good... I’m probably going to go home and sleep!”
Silver went to Bayley Campbell (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow, Paul Dickenson) with 73.42, just shy of his personal best.
In the 100m, Chad Miller (Hercules Wimbledon, Ryan Freckleton) seemed to look faster as the rounds progressed and in the final he gave the same impression as he overhauled Dominic Ashwell (Shaftesbury Barnet) and charged through the line in a 10.35 (+0.5) to 10.40 with Kaie Chambers-Brown (Birchfield H, Sharon Morris) taking a bronze with 10.41.
Chad, who secured his place at the World Junior Championships, said, “I know that when I’m in a certain place at 60, 70m then I just need to relax.
“My dad literally always says to me, ‘Running fast is running relaxed’, so I just relaxed and came through.
“In my head I’m just like, ‘Relax, relax’. In the semi I tried to run fast and I was straining. I wasn’t as fast; I ran the same time as in the heat. [In the final] I just relaxed and the line came quick! To be English champion is amazing. I used to come here and be praying I’d make the semi. To me, personally, it means a lot.
“A few years ago I said, ‘When I’m second year under-20 I want to run 10.3, because that’s what you need to be in contention on the world’. So for it to actually happen, I just have to thank God. I’m so happy.”
Tommy Ramdhan (Bexley, Ryan Freckleton) hit the front and held off the smooth looking Reuben Arthur (Enfield & Haringey, Ryan Freckleton) as he claimed the U23 100m in 10.36 (-0.1) to 10.50. Southampton’s Oliver Bromby (Southampton, Sara MacDonald-Gray) completed the medallists.
Kristal Awuah (Herne Hill, Matthew Thomas) looked impressive through the rounds of the U20 100m and was equally so in the final, where she pulled clear for gold in a 11.50 (-0.20) to also qualify for the World Junior Championships.
Behind, silver went to Emerald AC’s Ciara Neville (Noelle Morrissey) in 11.70 and bronze to Cassie-Ann Pemberton (Birchfield Harriers, Sharon Morris, 11.80).
Shannon Hylton (Blackheath & Bromley, Ryan Freckleton) was away fast and pulled away for U23 100m gold in a personal best of 11.44 (+0.3). In silver medal position was Jenna Wrisberg (Giffnock North, Alan Wrisberg, 11.78) and the bronze medal went to Page Fairclough (Shaftesbury Barnet, Simon Duberley) with 11.92.
Shannon said both the time and the win were important, “Both really: at a Champs I always want to come away with the win. But I’ve been using the last couple of weeks to get fitness, I had an injury [fractured foot] earlier this year so it was the aim to use these races to get into speed. Usually I like to open up with speed but that hasn’t happened because of my injury. I’m really happy to run a PB!
“After the injury I’m ok. Time is the only healer but I’m ticking over with British trials in two weeks time. I have the 200m tomorrow before rest and training ahead of trials.”
Commonwealth Games fifth placer Molly Caudery (Cornwall AC, Stuart Caudery) was the U20 pole vault winner with 4.20. Her performance ensured her selection for the World Junior Championships was confirmed, having already made the Gold Coast Games team as a senior. Another athlete making an impression above her age group, U17 athlete Jade Spencer-Smith (Harlow, Ellie Spain), took silver with 3.90.
Morgan Lake (Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow, Fuzz Caan) was a comfortable winner of the U23 high jump clearing 1.90 to win. Silver was shared between Laura Armorie (Herts Phoenix, Roger Armorgie) and Emily Borthwick (Wigan Harriers, Fuzz Caan) with both clear at 1.68. Tom Gale (Team Bath, Denis Doyle) cleared 2.16 in the U23 high jump to add another England Athletics title to his honours. Four centimetres down in the tricky windy conditions was Lewis McGuire (Shaftesbury Barnet, Ken Allan) with 2.12 as Akin Coward (Shaftesbury Barnet, Carol Jackson) claimed a bronze with 2.08.
Earlier in the day, Lina Nielson (Enfield & Haringey, Lawrence Lynch) looked in dominant form in the U23 women’s 400m hurdles, with an impressive display to come home in 57.89, just outside her season’s best.
By contrast, the women’s U23 1500m saw a great last lap battle. Megan Davies of Sale Harriers (Paul Roden) pulled away in the straight to win gold in 4:24.53 from Lucy Robinson (Wakefield District, Aaron Thomas 4:24.71) and Lilly Coward (Invicta East Kent, Craig Winrow, 4:25.39).
Despite the anticipated windy conditions, in the U20 5000m, John Millar (Ipswich Harriers) built an early lead before being overhauled by Emile Cairess (Leeds City, Phil Townsend) who then surged ahead. If people say, when caught, front runners don’t come back Millar clearly hadn’t been told and battled back to lead again. Cairess hit the front on the home straight to take the win in 14:20.77 as Millar claimed silver with 14:23.83. Will Richardson (Birchfield Harriers, Peter Stewart) took bronze in 14:24.47.
The combined 3000m steeplechase race saw Luke Gunn-coached Mark Pearce (Shaftesbury Barnet) win the last lap battle to take U23 gold in 9:04.65 from Matt Seddon (Bracknell AC, Jeff Seddon, 9:07.52) as James Beeks (Basingstoke & Mid Hants, 9:10.48) claimed silver. Behind their battle, Alfred Yabsley (Milton Keynes Distance Project, James Bennett, 9:29.19) was taking gold in the U20 event.
The U20 javelin was won by Bethan Rees (Cannock & Stafford) with 47.87 as a close battle with Bekah Walton (Blackheath & Bromley, David Turner) 47.56 unfolded. Notably in third place was Commonwealth Games heptathlon bronze medallist Niamh Emerson (Amber Valley, David Feeney), who improved her PB from 40.34 to 43.74.
Lewis Byng (Stratford Upon Avon, Paul Bearman) stepped up an age group to win in the U20 shot. His 17.31 put him top of the rankings for that older age category. In second was James Kelly (Finn Valley, John Kelly) with 16.55 and Nicholas Young (Sale Harriers, Neil Donbavand) was third with 16.44.
There were close competitions in the men’s discus competitions held on Day One. George Armstrong (Newham & Essex Beagles, Zane Duquemin) claimed a tight U23 event as his 55.79 was just 61cm ahead of Shaftesbury Barnet’s George Evans (Andy Kokhanovsky / Colin McCullough). Bronze went to Eoin Sheridan (Liverpool Harriers, Peter Collins) with 51.22. In the U18s event Jay Morse (Cardiff, Ian Leek) beat Joshua Douglas (Southampton, William Bushnell) with 55.48 to 55.30.
In other throws events Daniel Bainbridge (Shaftesbury Barnet, Mike McNeill) added more than 2m to his javelin PB to take the U20 title with 69.00. Katie Head (Newham and Essex Beagles, Paul Head) took the U20 hammer with a throw of 57.96 ahead of Alice Barnsdale of Lincoln Wellington (Dave Smith, 56.35) and Anna Purchase (Notts AC, Rob Careless). In the women’s discus, it was a clearer win for Amy Holder (Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow, Neville Thompson), whose 54.86 saw her take the title from Divine Oladipo (Blackheath & Bromley, John Hillier, 50.23). Sarah Omoregie (Cardiff, Gareth Lease) claimed the U20 shot with 14.22.
In the U20 men’s Pole Vault Frankie Johnson of Bedford & County (Simon Eastwood) made the most of home advantage and claimed the title with 4.55 as the silver and bronze medals went to Jake Watson (Telford, Peter Hill) and Jack Harris (Lewes AC, Richard Pilling) who both cleared 4.40.
A close long jump saw Callum Henderson (Edinburgh, John Scott) take gold with 7.35, as both silver and bronze medallists went out to 7.25. Shandell Taylor (Havering) took second ahead of Alessandro Scheini (Giffnock North, Dave Watson / Ryan Allister) on second best jumps.
A huge PB from combined eventer Alice Hopkins (Oxford City, Marcia Marriott) saw her out to 6.46 to win the U23 long jump. Montel Nevers (Notts AC, Nigel Kesteven) claimed the U23 triple jump with 15.65 from Kevin Metzger (Sale Harriers, Keith Hunter) 15.37.
Opportunities were given for U18s to stake their claims to European Youth Championship in Gyor, Hungary. Jasmine Jolly (Preston Harriers, Peter Crook) made the most of it and took the U18 400m Hurdles in 60.98.
Elise Thorner (Well City) also looked confident in lowering her PB to 6:51.68 in the U18 2000m steeplechase.