Athletes from Morpeth Harriers achieved a total medal haul of fourteen at the first day of the annual North Eastern Counties Track and Field Championships, sponsored by Start Fitness, at Middlesbrough Sports Village
on Saturday 11th May 2019.
In all they achieved six Gold, Six Silver, and two Bronze, on an excellent day,
where the sun shone mainly throughout the whole of the proceedings.
Pride of place amongst those performances, must belong to Under 20 athletes
Bobbie Griffiths and Matthew Waterfield.
For Griffiths, it was indeed superb, as she broke her own Championship best performance, achieved in 2018, by throwing an excellent 38.88m, taking over a metre off her previous figures, to win a superb Gold Medal, over her Darlington rival Jasmine Sharp, who threw a best of 33.83m, which gave Griffiths a clear five metre victory margin.
In the Under 20 Men’s 400m, Waterfield set a personal best of 49.43s, to win the Gold Medal
by just under a second Durham City’s Matthew Douthwaite.
Alice Geoghegan was just short of her lifetime best, when she threw 27.72m
to win Gold in the Under 15 Girls Javelin.
In the Under 17 Women’s Discus, Jessica Gardiner was pushed all the way by her Middlesbrough AC rival Eve Robson, to clinch her Gold Medal victory.
Throwing a best of 28.92m, she won by the mere margin of 40cm.
Morpeth Harriers other Gold Medals on the day, came from Ethan Stephenson in the Under 17 Men’s Triple Jump, who achieved a best of 12.54m, and Ruaridh Lang in the Under 20 Men’s Discus, who achieved a best of 43.67m, agonisingly just a few centimetres adrift of his lifetime best.
Another Morpeth Harrier competing in the combined Discus event, which was the last held on the day, was Edward Gardiner, younger brother of Jessica, who won a Silver medal by producing a lifetime best of 23.60m, losing out for victory by a four-metre margin to Gateshead Harrier Thomas Mann.
Gardiner was one of six silver medal achievements on the day, the others coming from Sean O’Hara (11.72s) in the Senior Men’s 100m, Owen Omoigui in the Under 13 Boys 100m, where he clocked 13.68s, a new personal best, Theo Brown, (33.18m), in the Under 17 Men’s Discus, his first attempt at the event, Amy Lott (11.88s) in the Under 17 Women’s 80m Hurdles, also a new personal best performance, and Rosie Winter (22.39m) in the Under 17 Women’s Javelin.
Morpeth Harrier achieved two Bronze medals on day one, firstly from Under 13 Girl, Hannah Lott, younger sister of Amy, who clocked 11.97s in the Final of the 70m Hurdles, which was a new lifetime personal best,
as she just outsprinted, he club colleague Kaitlyn Waddell to the line.
Waddell, who had performed extremely well to reach the final, by producing two personal bests of 12.72s,
and finally 12.58s along the way.
The other Morpeth Harriers Bronze medal came from Ross Charlton,
who just outsprinted his club colleague Daniel Melling in the Under 20 Men’s 1500m.
Charlton clocked a time of 4m13.00s, to Melling’s 4m14.38s, which for the latter,
was a brand-new personal best by just over five seconds.
Sunday’s second day of competition saw Morpeth Harriers achieve another ten championship medals, four Gold, three Silver and three Bronze, plus another championship best, which came from specialist thrower Jessica Gardiner, who won the Under 17 Women’s Hammer, with a best throw of 46.17m, the old figure being 44.46m, which had been achieved by Middlesbrough Mandale’s Saada Juma in 2018.
The personal best for Gardiner was quite massive indeed, moving from her old figures of 39.81m, means that she is now No 16 in the UK Rankings for 2019, and is now a very clear second in the region behind Juma, who was not competing on this occasion.
Juma of course is a second year Under 17, whilst Gardiner is a first year, so this performance is certainly a breakthrough in ability terms for the younger athlete, and a great tribute to her coach.
Another fine Morpeth achiever, and also a Gold medallist, was Under 15 Girl Alice Geoghegan, who not only, like Gardiner, won her second Gold of the weekend, but also on her way to doing it, broke her lifetime personal best twice, once in her Heat of the 300m, where she finished second by a whisker to
Middlesbrough favourite Lois Creasey.
Alice’s brave and determined tenacity held up however in the later run final, where she beat Creasey by around a third of a second, by posting a new personal best of 41.86s, which shaved around two seconds off her lifetime best, and ranks her tenth in the UK, and No 1 in the region.
Possibly inspired by seeing his older sister win her Gold Medal, Morpeth’s Edward Gardiner added to the family weekend tally, and his clubs, by producing a best throw of 28.33m in the Under 15 Boys Javelin,
winning by slightly over five metres from Gateshead Harrier Mason York.
It also saw Gardiner eclipse his previous figures by around three metres.
Morpeth’s fourth Gold medallist on the day was Amy Lott, who in only her second ever Under 17 Woman’s 300m Hurdles, won in 49.21s, which was agonisingly only a mere fraction adrift of her previous recently achieved figures.
In the Senior Men’s 200m final, Morpeth’s Sean O’Hara won his second Silver medal of the weekend, posting a time of 23.28s, just losing out by a mere whisker for Gold, to Gateshead’s Justin Cooper.
A consolation for O’Hara, was that it was his best time for two seasons at the distance.
Morpeth’s Robyn Bennett won a Silver medal in the Senior Women’s 1500m, posting a time of 4m55.78s, which was around nine seconds adrift of her lifetime best for the three- and three-quarter lap event.
Melody Brooks secured Morpeth’s third Silver medal of the second day, producing a best of 9.60m in the Under 15 Girls Triple Jump, her first ever attempt at the event.
Three Bronze medals were won by Morpeth athletes, with two of them coming from Long Jumps.
Abi Leiper produced a best of 4.43m in the Under 15 Girls competition, and Max Marr, a best of 5.66m in the Under 17 Men’s event.
Holly Peck won a Bronze medal in the Under 17 Woman’s 1500m, posting a brand-new personal best of 4m45.95s, shaving virtually a second off her previous figures.
Including those who made the podium, there were a total of twenty six new personal bests set by athletes from Morpeth Harriers over the two days of competition, with fourteen being achieved on Saturday, and another twelve on the Sunday, certainly a fitting tribute to the competing athletes and their coaches in their respective achievements.
In addition, there were a good number of athletes, apart from those already mentioned earlier in this article, who were not far adrift of a medal winning place, despite their tremendous efforts.
Spare a thought indeed for Morpeth Senior Man Phillip Winkler, who not once, but twice,
just missed out on a Bronze medal.
On Saturday he finished fourth, only a mere second adrift of Wallsend’s Jordan Middlemist in the 1500m,
where he clocked 4m04.37s.
Returning to the track on the Sunday, and yet again, Winkler just missed out, this time to Tyne Bridge Harrier Sparrow Morley by a fraction of a second, despite clocking 1m57.81s.
Despite a personal best clearance of 1.20m, Morpeth’s Under 13 Boy Owen Omoigui just missed out on a medal in a five athlete High Jump competition on Day 1.
Morpeth Under 15 Boy Ryan Davies set new figures of 4m43.82s, when finishing eighth in a sixteen strong field in the 1500m, which also included club colleague Bertie Marr, who finished twelfth in 4m51.89s.
Both athletes returned on the Sunday, where they tackled the 3000m for the very first time, where Marr finished fifth in 10m05.25s, and Davies finished seventh in 10m18.12s.
In the Under 15 Girls 800m on Day 1, Morpeth’s Abi Leiper set new figures of 2m31.64s,
when finishing seventh in a very strong competitive field.
Also, on Day 1, in the Under 17 Men’s 1500m, Morpeth’s Rowan Bennett and Dylan Gooding finished in fifth and sixth places respectively, clocking times of 4m20.68s, and 4m21.34s, the latter representing a new personal best.
After trying to get into some pace in the final of the Under 17 Men’s 400m on Day 1, Morpeth’s Ben Waterfield and Charlie Lane, both first year’s in their age group, finished fifth and sixth respectively, posting times of 55.37s, and 56.67s, the latter being a brand new personal best performance for the distance.
Although still just outside the medals on Day 2, Waterfield still had a more satisfactory outcome in the 800m, finishing just outside the medals in sixth place, posting a time of 2m02.72s, which was agonisingly just a fraction adrift of his lifetime personal best.
Morpeth’s Theo Brown, who had managed to win a Silver Medal in his first attempt at the Under 17 Men’s Discus at his first attempt at the discipline, was just outside the medals in fourth place in the Shot Putt, despite a personal best effort of 8.89m.
Despite producing a personal best of 14.37s in her heat of the Under 13 Girls 100m 0n Day 2, Morpeth’s Hannah Lott found herself just outside the final qualifiers in three heats of competitors.
Lott also finished sixth in the Shot Putt, producing a personal best performance of 6.23m.
Abi Leiper produced a personal best performance of 5m09.83s, to qualify
for the final of the Under 15 Girls 1500m on Day 2.
In what was her second track final of the weekend, she finished in ninth place,
posting a time of 5m13.87s, obviously a very tired young lady at the end of it all.
After producing a personal best performance of 13.17s in her heat of the Under 15 Girls 100m, Morpeth’s Melody Brooks just missed out on being amongst the medals in the final, posting a time of 13.33s.
Although it did not quite get him amongst the medals, Morpeth’s Dylan Davies produced one of the biggest new personal bests of the weekend, when he finished sixth in the Under 17 Men’s 3000m, posting a finishing time of 9m54.29s, taking around twenty-two seconds off his previous figures.
Morpeth’s Amber Witt did enough in her Heat of the Under 17 Women’s 100m, when placing third in 13.24s, and just missed out on a medal in the later run final, finishing fifth, with a new personal best time of 12.86s.
Although missing out on an individual medal to add to her already won Gold and Silver, Morpeth’s Amy Lott produced a new personal best of 28.92m in the Under 17 Women’s Hammer.
Her performance saw her placed fourth in the competition won by club colleague Jessica Gardiner, where she had broken the Championship record.
Many congratulations go to all the club’s athletes who turned out over the busy weekend, to produce some excellent performances, rewarded by an equally excellent return of a total of 24 medals.