It was an excellent first day for athletes from Morpeth Harriers at the annual
North Eastern Counties Athletics Association Track and Field Championships,
sponsored by Start Fitness, and held at a sunny, yet chilly Gateshead Stadium on Saturday 14th May.
On the day, the club managed a total haul of seventeen championship medals,
ten of them from the Field events, and seven coming from the Track.
No fewer than five were Gold, eight were Silver, and four were Bronze,
on a day which certainly kept everyone on the move,
as a swirling breeze gave out an evident chill factor.
In his first championship as an Under 17 athlete, 2015 Under 15 Champion Ruaridh Lang
excelled in throwing 42.32m in the 1.5k Discus to take the Gold medal,
which also earned him a much valued English Schools qualification,
for their annual Championships, which will be held at the same venue in July.
Later in the Shot Putt, he also produced a best of 12.13m to take a second medal, this time a Silver.
Another former Morpeth Under 15 Field event athlete excelling
in the older Under 17 age group was Bobby Griffiths,
who also took two medals, Gold in the Javelin with 35.84m,
which was a championship record, and Bronze in the Discus with 28.01m,
where her club colleague Charlotte Pickering Pruvot also finishing just in front of her,
took Silver with 29.60m, a very sizeable new personal best.
Lottie Hume winning the Under 15 Girls Discus was also an excellent Morpeth result,
as she not only took the Gold medal; she also improved her best by over four metres,
with her best throw of 23.30m.
Other Morpeth Harrier medallists in the Field events on Day one were Andrew Knight,
who was very unlucky to just lose out for Gold in the Under 15 Boys Shot Putt,
where he produced an excellent best effort of 11.85m,
which was only a mere 4cm adrift of the event winner,
and most formidable opponent Luke Allen of Darlington,
Craig Charlton, who took Silver in the Senior Shot Putt, with a superb personal best of 13.86m,
Elliot Moore who was having his very first Under 20 Men’s Shot Putt competition,
and took the Silver medal with 11.54m, and the Veteran Steven Appleby,
who won a Bronze in the Senior Men’s Discus with a best of 34.05m,
which although was not his best ever, was very much consistent with current excellent form.
Outside the medals in the Field events, but nevertheless well produced good efforts
were Charlie Chisholm (Under 17 Men’s Discus) (4th) 28.89m, (Under 17 Men’s Shot Putt) (6th) 8.76m,
and David Thomas (Under 17 Men’s Triple Jump) (4th) 11.82m, plus Lottie Hume,
whom we earlier report as winning a Gold in the Under 15 Women’s Discus,
could only find 20.25m good enough for fifth in the Javelin.
It has to be recognised that the aforementioned sets of medals and achievements,
came also from the sterling hard work put in by two of the clubs coaches Paul Reed and David Thomas,
without whom these excellent performances would possibly not have been achieved.
Their particular mentoring skills in the build up to the championships have certainly paid rich dividends
to both the athletes concerned, and the club itself, and their efforts are to be warmly applauded.
On to the track events, where one of the most exciting finishes of the day came in the Under 20 Men’s 1500m,
where two Morpeth Harriers were very much amongst the leading performers,
finishing in Gold and Bronze medal positions.
After a great deal of chopping and changing control throughout the three and three quarter lap event,
eventually it was Morpeth’s Joe Armstrong who seized the initiative to win the Gold by the slenderest of margins in 4m09.57, from Middlesbrough Mandale’s Nathan Baker,
with Adam Gibbs of Morpeth hanging on for third in 4m10.31s.
Kieran Hedley ran a superb race in the Under 17 Men’s 1500m, where the
lead changed on two or three occasions during the course of the event.
Eventually Hedley was forced to settle for second place,
and a Silver medal behind the event’s surprise winner,
Middlesbrough Mandale’s Josh Allen,
with pre-race favourite Joshua Cowperthwaite,
also of Middlesbrough Mandale finishing in third place.
Hedley posted an excellent finishing time of 4m07.31s,
which was very fractionally a new personal best.
Daniel Dixon of Morpeth Harriers was a superb Gold medal winner of the Under 15 Boys 1500m,
where he posted a finishing time of 4m21.28s, in what was his first ever experience of the event.
Matthew Waterfield and Joe Dowd of Morpeth Harriers both competed well in the Under 17 Men’s 400m,
with the former taking the Silver medal in 53.70s and the latter the Bronze in 53.98s,
both performances proving to be excellent lifetime personal bests.
After leading most of the way in the Under 15 Girls 3000m,
unfortunately Morpeth’s Holly Peck got caught in the very late stages
to eventually finish second in 10m49.21s, this being her first attempt at the distance on the track.
Whilst a Gold medal would have proved more acceptable, a Silver medal was appreciated under such circumstances.
Other Morpeth Harriers track performances but not medal winning on the first day were as follows
Hannah Brown (Under 17 Women’s 80m Hurdles) (4th) (13.02s),
Ross Charlton (Under 15 Boys 1500m) (7th) (4m39.65s), which was a brand new personal best,
Jake Masterman (Under 20 Men’s 1500m) (6th) (4m24.05s), a new personal best,
Jacob Hopkins (Under 20 Men’s 1500m) (8th) (4m44.22s),
Jordan Scott (Senior Men’s 1500m) (7th) (4m20.69s),
and Owen Priest (Under 15 Boys 300m) (5th) (41.46s).
All well earned hard working efforts by those concerned.
Slightly warmer conditions were faced by athletes taking part in Sunday’s second day of the Championships,
which saw Morpeth Harriers add another twelve medals to the seventeen that they had won on Saturday’s first day.
Three of those twelve medals were Gold in colour, and all of them came from the Field events,
which had provided the lion’s share of the medals on the first day.
Most pleasing was Lottie Hume’s win in the Under 15 Girls Shot Putt,
which brought her also new figures of 9.18m, which was an improvement of 43cm,
and sees her now ranked as second in the region for the event,
and was also her second Gold of the weekend.
The Under 17 Women’s Shot Putt also brought Morpeth a Gold medal,
courtesy of Charlotte Pickering-Pruvot, who had a best effort of 10.82m,
which also gave her a second medal of the weekend, adding to the Silver
that she had won in the Discus on the previous day.
Another Morpeth Harrier competing in the Under 17 Women’s Shot Putt was Ellie Burt,
who Putted 9.29m, just slightly adrift of her personal best,
and gave her a placing of fifth out of eight in the competition.
Morpeth Harriers third Gold medal on the second day came from Under Boy Alfie Ward,
who was competing in a major championship for the very first time.
He produced a best effort of 4.24m, which gave him a 5cm victory.
Another Morpeth Field event medallist was Katie Hilton, who won Bronze
in the Under 17 Women’s Triple Jump with a best effort of 9.92m,
which was a new personal best, a 28cm improvement on her performance
in the North East Youth Development League at Whitley Bay recentley.
Morpeth’s Under 17 Jumper David Thomas, who had just missed out for a medal
in the Triple Jump on the Saturday, was again unlucky in the Long Jump,
again finishing fourth with his best effort of 5.63m, which was around 20cm adrift of his personal best.
Daniel Melling was Morpeth’s representative in the Under 15 Boys Javelin,
producing a best of 20.81m, which saw him finish sixth, however his compensation was,
that his throw was nearly five metres better than any previous efforts achieved.
Sunday’s track events brought eight medals in all for Morpeth Harriers,
the best of which were the five Silver won respectively by Daniel Dixon,
Liam Marsh, Sean O’Hara, Jake Masterman, and Holly Peck.
Dixon produced one of the most exciting finishes in Sunday’s track events,
and was very unfortunate not to have added a second Gold to his tally
in the Under 15 Boy’s 3000m, having tasted sweet success in the 1500m on the Saturday.
He ran neck and neck for most of the way with Saturday’s Silver medallist
Daniel Currie of Middlesbrough Mandale, and only lost out to the Tees-side athlete
by a mere fraction, posting a finishing time of 9m27.11s.
This was Dixon’s first experience of the North East Track and Field Championships,
so to claim two medals was a superb achievement.
Other Morpeth Harriers in the 3000m were Ross Charlton,
who finished eighth in 10m07.92s, a new personal best,
and Daniel Melling who was one place behind Ross in 10m19.43s.
A superb effort by Morpeth Harriers newcomer Liam Marsh,
brought him a well earned Silver in the Under 17 Men’s 3000m.
Marsh made a bid for home and victory on the final lap of the seven and a half lap event,
and was very unlucky to lose out by a mere second to Gosforth Harrier Patrick Donald, as he clocked 9m34.45s.
After winning his heat of the Under 17 Men’s 200m in 23.20s, Morpeth’s Sean O’Hara
ran a slightly faster 23.09s in the later run final, however lost out to the powerful
William Curtis of Gateshead Harriers for the Gold Medal.
Jake Masterman of Morpeth won a Silver medal in the Under 20 Men’s 5000m,
posting a time of 17m08.07s, his first attempt at the distance.
Holly Peck won her second championship medal of the weekend in the Under 15 Girls 1500m,
and again it was Silver, clocking a time of 5m01.04s,
just losing out to the faster finishing India Pentland of Darlington for Gold.
On a positive note, it was very marginally a new personal best for Peck.
The Under 17 Men’s 800m proved to be a very interesting battle of wits at the front,
and after taking an initiative to go to the front at the bell, Morpeth’s Kieran Hedley
battled hard to maintain his lead as he, Josh Allen of Middlesbrough Mandale,
and Tynedale’s Max Pearson headed down the back straight for the final time.
Eventually Pearson went to the front heading into the finishing straight,
and headed all the way to the finish line to take the Gold medal.
Hedley meanwhile battled to hold off Allen, who had beaten him for Gold in the previous day’s 1500m.
Eventually Allen took the 800m Silver, with Hedley settling for Bronze to add to his previous days Silver.
Kieran’s time of 2m01.30s, proved to be a seasons best.
Other Morpeth Harriers competing in the Under 17 Men’s 800m,
were 300m medal winners from the previous day,
Joe Dowd and Matthew Waterfield, plus Connor Marshall.
Dowd finished fifth in 2m06.64s, fractionally adrift of his personal best.
Waterfield was seventh in 2m10.19s, a fractional new personal best,
and Marshall finished ninth in 2m13.29s, beating his previous best by five seconds.
It proved to be a Bronze medal winning day for the Hedley family,
when Kieran’s younger sister Rhiannon finished third in the Under 13 Girls 1500m
in a time of 5m09.44s, only losing out by a mere fraction for Silver to Gosforth’s Olivia Katory at the finish line.
In the first track event of the second day, Morpeth Harriers were very quickly onto the medal table,
when Under 17 Woman athlete Hannah Brown, who had missed out in the previous days 80m Hurdles,
took Bronze in the 300m Hurdles, posting a time of 50.54s, which was a brand new personal best
by around three seconds for the Dave Thomas coached athlete.
Thomas very nearly had another club track medallist in Katie Hilton,
who only just missed out by a hairsbreadth for a Bronze medal in the Under 17 Women’s 100m final,
where she clocked 13.54s, having clocked a personal best of 13.50 in her earlier run heat.
In a very competitive Under 20 Men’s 800m final, Morpeth’s James Young ran well
to finish fourth in 1m59.16s, just losing out for Bronze by a couple of seconds.
Joe Armstrong, who had won the previous days 1500m, also a very competitive race,
was obviously a little jaded by his previous days efforts, as despite being up with the
leading bunch in the early stages, faded to finish sixth in 1m59.75s.
Another Morpeth Harrier Jacob Hopkins, finished tenth in 2m10.11s.
In his first ever Track Championship, Morpeth’s Ben Walker could feel well pleased with himself,
when he finished sixth in the Under 13 Boys 800m in 2m34.06s.
Other non medal winning performances for Morpeth Harriers came from Owen Priest
in the Under 15 Boys 200m final, where he finished seventh in 26.50s,
Abby Sheldon, who finished 5th in the Under 20 Women’s 1500m final in 5m22.59s,
and Gracie Hufton, who finished eighth in the Under 17 Women’s 1500m final in 5m36.84s,
which was very agonisingly just marginally outside her personal best.
Over the whole two days of competition,
Morpeth Harriers had a total of 36 athletes who took part in the Championships.