The annual North Eastern Counties Track and Field Championships,
sponsored by Start Fitness, and held over Saturday12th and Sunday 13th May 2018,
for the first time at Middlesbrough Sports Village, saw athletes from Morpeth Harriers achieve a total of twenty-four medals, which included nine Gold, eleven Silver, and four Bronze.
Field eventers Andrew Knight and Bobbie Griffiths were also among several Championship best performances over the two days of competition, and James Young, was also a double Gold medal winner on the track.
It was an excellent first day of competition for the club, where sixteen of those twenty-four medals were won,
nine on the track, and seven from the field.
The Field eventers contributed greatly, with four of the medals being Gold, headed by Knight and Griffiths,
who produced Championship bests of 16.91m and 37.69m respectively in the Under 17 Men’s Shot Putt
and Under 20 Women’s Javelin.
Andrew Knight broke the existing championship best of 15-28m in the U17 Mens Shot
with all 6 of his putts throwing a series of 16-73, 16-91, 16-78, 16-56,16-58, 16-76.
A huge increase.
Another Morpeth thrower to take a Gold Medal on Saturday, was Jessica Gardner,
who produced a new personal best of 28.64m, to take the Under 15 Girls Discus title.
Rounding off the clubs first day Gold Medal haul from the Field was Ethan Stephenson,
who won the Under 17 Men’s Triple Jump, with a best effort of 12.17m.
Ruaridh Lang produced an excellent personal best performance of 42.40m
to take a Silver Medal in the Under 20 Men’s Discus.
Silver and Bronze medals respectively were won by Alice Geoghegan
and Rosie Winter in the Under 15 Girls Javelin, with bests of 25.23m and 24.29m,
the former representing a brand-new lifetime best.
Although a non-medallist, Olivia Gent gained great experience from
finishing fifth in the Under 13 Girls Long Jump, with a best of 3.61m.
The first day Track events saw Morpeth athletes gain three Gold’s, five Silver, and one Bronze medal.
In the Senior Men’s 1500m, James Young took the first of what were to be two Gold Medals over the weekend.
He won by two seconds from Birtley’s Adrian Bailes, when he posted a time of 4m02.81s.
Another Morpeth 1500m Gold medallist was Kieran Hedley, who took the Under 20 Men’s title in4m03.51s.
Just over four seconds adrift of him in 4m07.93s was club colleague Taylor Glover,
who added a Silver to the clubs’ tally.
The clubs third track Gold went to Under 17 Woman Holly Peck, who won the 800m in 2m23.27s,
closely followed in by club colleague Lily Heaton, who produced a superb last gasp effort,
to take the Silver medal in a time of 2m24.13s.
Under 20 Men’s 400m specialist Matthew Waterfield, who was the 2017 Under 17 Men’s Champion,
took the Silver medal this time round, as he posted a time of 50.86s.
Morpeth’s Amy Lott produced a personal best performance of 11.62s,
as she took Silver in the Under 15 Girls 75m Hurdles.
The Scottish Indoor 60m Hurdle Champion may well have taken the Gold,
had she not hit the final Hurdle, as she hurtled towards the finish.
Just missing Bronze was club colleague Alice Geoghegan, who finished fourth in 12.49s.
In the Under 20 Women’s 100m Hurdles, Harriet Priest took the Silver medal in 17.09s.
Morpeth’s single Bronze track medal on the day, was won by Dean Lonsdale,
who posted a time of 54.18s in the Senior Men’s 400m.
Certainly not far away from a Bronze medal was Morpeth’s Mia Belton,
who finished fourth in the Under 15 Girls 200m Final,
posting a brand new personal best of 28.11s.
Club colleagues Rosie Winter and Ellie Longstaff finished sixth and seventh,
with respective times of 28.79s, and 28.80s.
Having his first run ever in a Championship, Morpeth’s Ryan Davies did well,
when posting a brand new personal best of 5m08.01s in the Under 13 Boys 1500m Final, where he finished fifth.
In the Under 15 Girls 800m Final, Morpeth’s Rhiannon Hedley, younger sister of Kieran,
finished fifth in 2m26.61s, after winning her earlier heat in 2m27.51s.
Morpeth’s Under 13 Girl newcomer Kaitlyn Waddell gained great championship experience,
as she managed two lifetime personal bests of 32.76s, and 13.40s respectively
in the 200m and 70m Hurdle events, the latter being a Final, where she finished seventh.
Another Morpeth athlete competing in the Under 13 Girls 200m,
was Olivia Gent, who finished sixth in Heat 2 in 32.27s.
Morpeth athletes Rowan Bennett and Tom Balsdon finished
ninth and eleventh in the Final of the Under 17 Men’s 1500m,
posting respective new personal bests of 4m21.8s and 4m24.7s.
Dylan Davies, older brother of Ryan, finished tenth in the Final of the Under 15 Boys 1500m in 4m58.78s.
The eight medals that were won by Morpeth athletes in Sunday’s second day of competition,
were produced mainly courtesy of their track performers.
Twenty-four hours after managing 1500m Gold, Morpeth’s James Young collected his second title of the weekend, as he triumphed in the Senior Men’s 800m in 1m54.08s, winning again from Birtley’s Adrian Bailes,
although only by a fraction of a second on this occasion.
One of Morpeth’s finest performances of the weekend however, came in the Under 15 Boy’s 800m Final,
where Ben Waterfield, younger brother of Matthew, won the Gold Medal in a brand new personal best of 2m10.06s, having also established new figures of 2m12.77s, as he finished second in his earlier run heat.
The bragging conversations in the Waterfield household would certainly prove interesting over the weekend no doubt, however Matthew would be genuinely quite pleased for him,
as he does have a hand in the coaching of his younger sibling.
Staying with Morpeth’s Under 15 Boys, Dylan Davies put his previous days 1500m frustrations behind him,
to return to take a well-earned Silver medal in the longer 3000m event,
which he ran for the first time, posting a time of 10m17.92s.
Silver Medals were also won by Robyn Bennett in the Under 20 Women’s 1500m,
posting a new personal best of 4m46.09s, and Harriet Priest,
who achieved her second medal of the weekend in the 400m Hurdles (73.03s).
In the Senior Men’s 5000m, Morpeth’s Thomas Straughan held off the close attentions of new club
colleague Mark Long, to take his first ever North East track medal, a Bronze, in 15m33.00s.
Long, who recently won the North East 10,000metre Championship, and had hoped to medal,
was running the 5000m track event for the first first time, where he posted a time of 15m36.61s.
Holly Peck added Bronze to her first day 800m Gold, when finishing third in the
Under 17 Women’s 1500m, just a mere second outside her lifetime best with 4m50.87s.
Agonisingly just missing out for a medal again, was Morpeth’s Mia Belton, who finished fourth in the Under 15 Girls 300m Final in 45.15s, having earlier posted a new personal best of 44.67s, when placing second in her heat.
Rowan Bennett, younger brother of Robyn, who had competed in the Under 17 Men’s 1500m on the Saturday, returned to finish fifth in the 3000m, again posting a brand new personal best of 9m40.09s.
Another personal best was that of Alice Geoghegan, who finished sixth in her heat of the Under 15 Girls 100m.
Sibling Brother Oliver did gain a medal however in the Under 15 Boys Javelin, when he threw 22.15m for Silver.
Competing in the Under 15 Girls Hammer, Morpeth hurdling specialist Amy Lott will have gained great experience as she threw 20.70m for fourth place, just losing out for Bronze by around two and a half metres.
Lott also produced a new personal best performance of 7.68m in the Shot Putt competition.
All in all a very satisfactory result for the club, and much credit to the athletes who competed,
and to their respective coaches who prepared them for their respective events
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF DAVE THOMAS