At their first Youth Development League U17/U20 match in the South West 1 division Cheltenham Harriers took first place in the 8-club match after a close battle with Swansea Harriers. With a blustery wind and rain there were not many personal best performances, but overall some fine individual placings.The highlight of the day came in the U20 Men’s Javelin, where new club member Oliver Corfield launched a throw of 62.37 metres to add almost 2 metres to the previous overall league record. He therefore becomes the first Harrier to ever hold a league record in this competition.
At U17 level in middle distance events it was encouraging to see last year’s U15 boys move up into this age group and acquit themselves so well. Oliver Powell took 2nd place in both 800m and 1500m A string, whilst Luke Kearns, George Hawthorne and Matthew Dwerryhouse all took a series of 1st or 2nd spots in their events. Ben Williams also made promising starts to the season at U20 level in the 1500m and 3000m. The sprints again saw Dom Biss continue last season’s good form as he easily took victory in both 100m and 200m U17 A string races, with Alex Eaglestone impressing with wins in the B string races. Joe Akers, in the U20 sprints made a useful debut with season’s best in both races plus a 2nd place in the long jump A string. The field events again provided a host of points as the multi eventers did very well. At U17 level. Jamie Worman took wins in the A string 400m, High Jump and Long Jump. In jumping events he was supported well by Dan Carpenter and Rob Worman who won the B string events. Rob Worman also took a fine 2nd place in the Pole Vault. At U20 level Conor Kearns started the season well with a personal best 1.76m win in the High Jump and first in the Pole Vault. In the throwing events, in addition to Oliver Corfield’s record Javelin win, Joe Hardman won the U20 B string. There was also a 2nd place A string for George Elliott in the U17 competition.Ben Wade and Alex Eaglestone combined well with Alex Griffiths in the U17 throws. Griffiths won the Hammer Throw, Eaglestone the Shot Putt whilst Wade had a fine 2nd place in the Discus. The U17 men won both the 4 × 100m and 4 × 400m relays, whilst the U20 team won the 4 × 400m.
The women’s team was also very strong on the day, with several newcomers to the competition. The outstanding performance came from Rachel Longstaff who easily won both the 1500m and 3000m at U20 level, and emphasised her evident potential at these distances. In the U20 sprints Jessica Barker ran well to take 2nd in the 200m, with Rebecca Townsend and Alexandra Quinn-Savory backing up at B string in both sprints. Quinn- Savory then went on to win the 400m. For the U17 team Morgan Henry, Jessica Shackleton and Freya Lane picked up valuable points across the three sprint events, with Morgan Henry also taking 2nd in the A string sprint hurdles. At middle distance, as well as Rachel Longstaff’s wins, there was a 1st place for Meg Brinley, in both the U20 1500m and 3000m, a great start on her track debut, having only ever competed previously in Cross Country. At U17 level Tasmin Carpenter and Agata Giles took 2nd place in the A and B races, with Giles also winning the B string 800m. In 800m and 1500m Ella Burfitt and Bethan Samuel placed 3rd in the A string races. In the throwing events Melissa Bird showed versatility as she took wins in the U20 Discus and Shot, with 3rd in the Hammer. Imogen Davies supported in the B string with wins in Discus and Hammer too. Jade Rigglesford secured a win in the A string Javelin. The U17 throws were very competitive, with full fields. Naya Hemens, Hannah Tilley, Grace Whalley and Miki Trbojevich combined well to add many valuable points to the team total in the match. To finish the day, U17 4 × 300m relay and U20 4×400m relay both scored with fine victories.