Some fantastic sprinting which reaped a couple of championship records - along with another meeting best in the triple jump - headlined the opening day of the England Athletics Under-17/Under-15 Championships in Bedford.
Joel Pascall-Menzie set a championship record in the under-17 men’s 100m soon after Nia Wedderburn-Goodison had done likewise in the under-15 girls’ 100m. Earlier, Halle Ferguson had entered the record books on the triple jump runway.
In the men’s 100m, something special seemed on the cards after the heats, when English Schools champion Pascall-Menzie shut down at least 10 metres before the line and won in a legal 10.78 (1.2). He was pushed to run a little harder in his semi-final when the clock flashed up up the sensational 10.39, although the wind speed was to be revealed as 4.7m/sec, thus above the legal limit. Though the wind gauge denied the Newham & Essex Beagles athlete second place on the UK all-time rankings, it was a new championship best by three hundredths.
The brief storm passed in time for the final when he ran flat-out for the first time. His time of 10.46 with a legal following wind of 1.4m/sec took two hundredths off his best. Only three other British athletes in the age group have ever run quicker.
Silver medallist Henry Nwoke (Liverpool Harriers & AC Mike Sweeney), who had run a windy 10.48 in the winner’s semi-final, was delighted to clock 10.55 to go to eighth on the UK under-17 all-time rankings.
Pascall-Menzie, who will have his last race of the season in the 200m tomorrow, said: “I was quite pleased with it. When I saw the time (in the semi-final), I expected it to be windy. I didn’t really run to my full potential. I think I could have gone quicker.”
Wedderburn-Goodison (Harrow AC/Andre Williams), after equalling her PB with 11.84 in the semi-final, went four hundredths inside the CBP in the final with 11.78. The windspeed was 3.1m/sec as she finished more than two tenths clear.
In only her second triple jump competition, Halle Ferguson (Trafford/Andrew Wood) went to second on the UK all-time under-15 rankings. Her 11.91m was also a meeting best, revising the 11.80m set last year. Although the discipline has only become a standard event on the under-15 girls’ programme this decade, it was nonetheless impressive and compares well to the UK under-17 best of 12.88m.
Ferguson said: “I wasn’t going for the championship record at all. I was just expecting to medal and not expecting to come first.”
Back to the sprints, Reece Earle (Thames Valley Harriers/Lumar Sylvester) was just four hundredths outside the PB which puts him top of the under-15 100m age-group rankings this year. His time was 11.09 (+1.6) as he finished well clear.
In the under-17 women’s 100m, Aleeya Sibbons (Newham & Essex Beagles AC/Coral Nourrice) won with 11.90 - two hundredths outside her PB and UK rankings-topper from the semi.
Abigail Pawlett of Stockport Track and Field has become used to collecting England Athletics titles this year. The Joe Frost-coached athlete took the under-17 high jump and long jump golds indoors and then earlier this month won the heptathlon title outdoors.
The athlete who is second on the UK heptathlon all-time rankings for her age group behind Morgan Lake jumped a PB 6.09m.
That was after Ellie O’Hara (Edinborough/Linda Nicholson) had briefly taken the lead with 6.05m.
“Ellie from Scotland went ahead of me in round five. It was horrible waiting,” she said. “I think I got a bit excited in the final round.”
Pawlett was also fifth in the high jump as Zara Tyas (Holmfirth/Ian Hill) took gold in 1.69m. She will be back tomorrow for the hurdles.
Stepping up from silver last year, Sam Brereton won the under-17 men’s high jump with a best clearance of 2.06m. The Newquay & Par athlete thus added to his England indoor title this year. Such is the talent of the Clive Marsh-coached athlete that he also took the England under-20 title this summer.
With a final-round put of 15.77m, under-17 shot winner Nana Gyedu (Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC/John Hillier) added eight centimetres to her PB.
In the pole vault, UK under-15 rankings leader William Trott (Swansea Harriers/Jane Hosgood) duly won with 3.91m before failing at a would-be championship best of 4.15m.
On the girls’ side, Gemma Tutton (Lewes AC/Rick Pilling), who set a UK best of 3.81m earlier this year, took gold as expected with 3.51m, just five centimetres below the championship best.
English Schools runner-up Abigail Ives (Basildon AC/Richard Bullis) was a class apart in the women’s under-17 1500m. She was well clear at the bell and went on to clock 4:30.71, a little over a second outside her PB.
The event also included competition for disability athletes aged 11-19. Podium positions were decided on merit points where athletes from different classifications were competing.
In the ambulant men’s discus, under-15 Michael Jenkins (Pembrokeshire/Ryan Spencer-Jones), who competes in the F38 category, topped the podium with his throw of 36.36m.
WPA world junior champion Karim Chan won the ambulant long jump with 6.17m. The Femi Akinsanya-coached athlete from Charnwood AC had leaped a PB 6.70m when he successfully defended his global title in Nottwil. He also won the 100m with 11.63 (+2.5).
The men’s ambulant 400m was expected to be a close contest and so it proved. T20 athlete Ethan Kirby held off the strong challenge of the fast-finishing Prince Reid, clocking 53.90 to win by two hundredths. However, it was Alexander Thomson (Whitemoss/Thomas Graham) who came out on top on points, the T38 athlete running 54.91. Reid showed his versatility by later taking gold in the 1500m, clocking 4:33.51.
At least matching that for excitement was the finish to the under-15 boys’ 3000m. After Frank Morgan (Carmarthen & District Harriers/Carol Jones) and Benjamin Peck (Thetford AC/Dean Kirton) were neck and neck all the way down the home straight, it was the former who eventually won on the dip - 9:14.11 to 9:14.18.
Anna Hedley (Fife AC/Mick Woods) was a class apart in winning the under-17 women’s 3000m in 10:09.71, not needing to approach her UK age-group lead time.
In the under-15 boys’ long jump, winner Connor McNally (Glasgow School of Sport/David Watson) added 31cm to his PB with 6.44m.
Almost as pleased with his effort must be Michael Anderson (Kingston AC & Poly Harriers/John Shepherd), who in winning the under-17 triple jump with 14.48m added 23cm to his best.
Also setting a sizeable lifetime best was under-17 men’s shot winner Chris Dyrmishi (Northampton AC/Stuart Carlaw), who went 29cm further than ever before with 16.97m.
Adding more than two metres to her best to win the under-15 hammer was Grace McDonald (Middlesbrough/Brian Walsh) with 49.43m.
Zara Obamakinwa (Medway & Maidstone/Mark Chapman) took the under-17 women’s discus with 39.84m.
Moving up from fifth last year, Harry Davies (Neath/David Arnold) won the men’s equivalent with 50.79m
In the under-17 men’s 1500m steeplechase, Jai Sispal (Leamington Cycling and Athletic Club/Chris Jackson) prevailed in a three-way clash over the last 400m, clocking 4:26.53, within two seconds of his PB.
UK rankings leader Dylan Menhennet (Forest of Dean/Andrew Compton) won the under-15 hammer with 50.04m.
With 57.16m, Liam Cawley (Team Kennet Triathlon & AC/Luke Angell) led the first three, who all set PBs in the under-15 javelin.
Likewise in the form of her life was Hannah Lewington (Swindon Harriers/Tom Dobbing), who took under-15 javelin gold with 40.98m.
Amy Thompson (Challenge Disability Sports Club./Janie Clare) took the ambulant discus title. The under-15, who competes with the F40 classification, threw 14.89m in the discus and also took silvers in the javelin and the shot.
Connor Gillie won the ambulant shot with a PB of 11.59m. Taking bronze to add to his javelin gold was Conor O’Hare (Chelmsford AC/Alison O'Riordan) with 17.59m.
Rebecca O'Rourke (Havering AC/Ruth O'Sullivan) posted a winning double in the T20 category. She won the 200m in 31.61 and the 1500m in 6:12.44. Joel Mattacks (Team Bath) won the ambulant 200m T20 in 24.88.
The women’s ambulant 400m gold went to Faye Olszowka (Bexley/Chris Harris), the sole entry in that event, who clocked 64.31.
F20 athlete Esme O’Connell won the ambulant long jump with 4.13m.
Leah Keisler (Law & District AAC/Mike Love) was quickest through to the final of the under-17 women’s 300m hurdles, winning her heat in a PB of 44.24.
Pyers Lockwood (Eastbourne Rovers AC/Trevor Simcox) was fastest in the men’s under-17 400m hurdles, the UK rankings leader clocking 56.69.
In the under-17 400m men’s, Stephen Johnston (Kilbarchan AAC/Ricky Miell) was quickest to progress with 50.05.
Katie Johnson (Edinburgh) with 2:15.58 and Oscar Logan Law & District AAC Patrick Kelly with 2:03.79 were the quickest going into the under-15 800m finals for girls and boys respectively.
The under-17 800m finals tomorrow will include Reece Sharman-Newell (Basingstoke & Mid Hants/Dave Ragan) and Isla Calvert (Livingston/Sandra Hardacre), who were quickest on the men’s and women’s sides respectively, clocking 1:56.01 and 2:13.36.
Day two will see the bulk of the finals. Follow @englandathletic on Twitter for all the results as they happen tomorrow.
Photo by Mark Shearman