u13 & u15 Youth Development League, 21 July

06 August 2018

The young athletes from Cheltenham Harriers, having reached the Championship Round of the Youth Development League for the first time, ultimately missed out to Teams that just had too much strength in depth to allow them to take their fantastic run any further. The Cheltenham squads were depleted by a number of injuries and holidays, meaning that the overall aim to reach the top two on the day and make it to the Nationals was clearly out of reach, but there some outstanding individual performances to applaud. Whilst the Team finished sixth on the day, this was behind teams with significantly greater catchment areas, including Cardiff, Swansea, Milton Keynes, Nottingham and Birchfield.

There was a ray of hope early on, as Cheltenham once again started the track session at a canter, with Lorna Willmott and Jess Duncton making it a double first in the 75m Hurdles, Willmott taking the A string in 11.45s and Duncton the B string in 11.66s. This was immediately followed by Barnie Shaw taking second in the boys A string Hurdles in a PB of 12.88s, and Harry Ineson coming a strong second in the B string. As the day continued to unfold in the sunshine at the Stoke Gifford Track, the story was consistent for Cheltenham. Some excellent performances, but just not quite enough coverage across all the events.

The U15 Girls had their share of highlights. On the track, in the 200m Jorja Webb took 3rd in the 200m A event with a PB of 27.43, followed by Hope Heward-Mills taking second in the B string in a PB of 28.05. Amy Jackson Fawkes showed great strength in battling through a heavy cold to earn a PB of 47.45 in the 300m A race. Kaitlin Sheppard, perhaps taking inspiration from the original name of the stadium (The Kip Keino Track , named after the Kenyan middle distance legend) was delighted to finally break the 5 minute barrier in the 1500m A race with a very well run PB of 4.59; and Eloise Wright also earned a PB of 5.55 in the B race. In the Field events, Jorja Webb, competing in Discus for the first time this season, earned a PB of 17.24m in the A event with Scarlett Oram throwing a PB of 15.99m in the B string. Newcomer Mimi Davis made an excellent debut in the javelin, throwing a PB of 27.55m in the A event, with Scarlett Oram a PB of 20.52m in the B. In the Jumps, Lulu Thornley, also making her debut for the team, achieved PBs in the Pole Vault and High Jump events, and all rounder Maddie Carnes earned a PB of 4.30m in the Long Jump. Heward-Mills also stepped up to cover the High Jump B string, and achieved a PB of 1.25m.

The U15 Boys were stretched to cover the events, but put in some strong performances. In the javelin, Will Excell took second in the A string with 32.30m, and Oliver Risborough won the B with 22.99m. In the Hammer, Finlay Jamieson took second in the A string, Excell coming third in the B. The Discus competition was particularly strong, Archie Waddell placing third in the A string with a PB of 29.58m, and Jamieson second in the B string. Waddell also achieved a PB of 9.92m in the Shot. In a committed team effort, there were also PBs for Harry Brooks in the 100m and 200m; Archie Mahoney in the 100m; Sam Broderick in the Hurdles; Freddie Janta-Lipinski in the 1500m; and Joe Coley grabbing PBs in three events – 200m, Hurdles and High Jump.

In the U13 Boys, probably the outstanding result was second place in the 4 × 100m relay. With some powerful running and slick baton changes, Harry Ineson, Sam Cotton, Barnie Shaw and Thomas Webster caused an upset, finishing ahead of eventual overall winners Cardiff Archers, and Milton Keynes, in a time of 53.96s.Connor Hilton had earlier set a new PB of 1.35m in the High Jump. In a very competitive Long Jump competition, Harry Ineson came third in the A string with 4.50m with Sam Cotton second in the B string with 4.31m. Hal Jamieson again made sure that his presence counted, setting PBs in Shot Put, Javelin and 1500m.

The Under 13 Girls had some of the strongest performances of the day for Cheltenham. Following earlier success in the Hurdles, Willmott took second in the A string 150m in 20.11s, and third in the Long Jump with 4.37m. Similarly, Duncton followed first place in the Hurdles B with second in the B Long Jump at 4.26m and third in a quality 800m A race with 2:34.52s. In the 800m B race, the ever dependable Milly Foster set a new PB of 2:44.26s. Lily Marchant had a busy afternoon, setting PBs in the 75m at 10.59s, and High Jump at 1.25m. Freya Webb also set a new PB in the High Jump with 1.15m. Yet another PB came from Serena Ihle-Matthews, throwing 7.43m in the Shot Put A string. In what was one of the closest fought races on the track, Seren Jones put in a fantastic display of front running to deservedly hold on for first place in the 1200m A race, with a new PB of 4:01.46s. This represents the final round for Cheltenham in the YDL for this year. Cardiff Archers and Marshall Milton Keynes were deserving of their first and second places, which take them on to the National Championship Round. The young athletes from Cheltenham can look back on a YDL season that saw them go further than in any previous year, with loads of experience to take into next year.