Despite miserable and prevailing wet conditions throughout the annual Northumberland Schools
Track and Field Championships, held at Gateshead Stadium on Saturday 10th June 2017,
there were still four championship records broken, three of them by athletes from Morpeth Harriers,
who in addition managed to win a total of thirty-one medals, sixteen from the track and fifteen
from the field, including twenty Gold, seven Silver, and four Bronze individual medals.
With rain descending from the heaven’s Intermediate Boy Rory Leonard certainly tested himself over the seven
and half laps of the 3000m distance, and quite remarkably with very little opposition in site, he clocked 8m59.07s,
which although was well adrift of his personal best, however it was good enough to break the 29-year-old
Schools record set by Elswick’s Ceri Rees, who had clocked 8m59.5s in 1988.
Considering he had very little opposition to draw from, Leonard can take consolation
from the fact that he also took the Gold medal, and looks a near certainty to be boarding
the Northumberland team bus bound for Birmingham next month, and the English Schools Championships,
where no doubt the North East double medallist will face sterner rivals.
Another Morpeth Harrier who also looks certain to make that bus, is fellow Intermediate Boy Andrew Knight,
who throughout the course of his Shot Putt event, actually broke the championship record
on no more than five occasions, eventually ending his series of performances with a best of 15.07m,
which although was not a personal best, was still enough to shave a mammoth 64cm off the previous record,
set by a relatively unknown David Cowie in 1987.
Another eight Gold medals were won on the track by Morpeth Harrier athletes,
courtesy of Jake Masterman (Senior Boys 2000m Steeplechase) 6m40.57s,
Liam Marsh (Intermediate Boys 1500m Steeplechase) 5m14.17s,
Amy Lott (Junior Girls 75m Hurdles) 12.7s,
Josh Burton (Senior Boys 800m) 2m06.11s,
Matthew Waterfield (Intermediate Boys 400m) 51.40s,
Holly Peck (Junior Girls 1500m) 4m53.54s,
Kieran Hedley (Senior Boys 1500m) 4m04.12s,
and Taylor Glover (Intermediate Boys 1500m) 4m06.09s,
which was agonisingly only just under three seconds adrift of Max Pearson’s 2016 championship record.
Back with the Field events, where another ten Gold medals went to Morpeth Harriers on the day.
Ruaridh Lang was agonisingly just a mere 23cm adrift of the twenty-year-old Intermediate Boys Discus record,
with his best effort of 45.05m taking a thoroughly deserved Gold medal.
Lang is another athlete hoping to win the selectors hearts for the English Schools trip.
A new personal best of 39.84m, earned Morpeth Harrier Bobbie Griffiths the Gold medal
in the Intermediate Girls Hammer, and gave her a new championship best performance,
beating the previous record set by Rebecca Simpson in 2010, by a mammoth 1.30m.
Griffiths added another Gold medal in the Javelin, with a best effort of 38.98m,
which won by a good thirteen metres, but was agonisingly two metres adrift of the 1986 record set by Linda Barnes.
Making a welcome return to action following injury, Morpeth Harrier Charlotte Pickering-Pruvot
managed to achieve two well-earned Gold medals in the Intermediate Girls Shot Putt (11.19m),
and Discus (32.95m).
Hopefully both performance standards will see her considered for selection for the
English Schools Championships, despite the missed opportunities during her period of inactivity.
Another two double Gold medal winners from the club were Kayla Devon and Ethan Stephenson.
Devon is certainly faring well on her return to the sport following a brief departure,
and under the watchful eyes of her coach Dave Thomas, she is progressing rapidly,
and these two performances alone certainly lay testimony to that effect.
In the Intermediate Girls Long Jump she produced a best of 4.35m,
winning by 21cm over her closest rival, and her 10.24m in the Triple Jump,
saw her win by a 58cm margin.
Meanwhile in the Junior Boys High Jump, Stephenson cleared 1.65m for victory,
and in the Triple Jump, which he was attempting for the first time, he jumped a best of 11.42m,
to win by 42cm over fellow Morpeth Harrier Matthew Heslop, who took the Silver medal.
Morpeth’s other Field winner was Junior Girl Jessica Gardner,
who achieved a new personal best in the Discus with 23.49m
A total of seven Silver medals, including that of Matthew Heslop,
were won by athletes from Morpeth Harriers.
Five came from the track, with two coming from the Field.
Two of the track Silver medals came from Jessica Young-Rogers, in the Intermediate Girls100m (13.06s),
and 200m (26.5s), in both cases she was just a fraction adrift of North Tyneside’s Stella Perrett.
Other Morpeth Track Silver medallists were Ella Duffield (Intermediate Girls 800m) 2m29.5s,
which was a new personal best performance, Joe Dowd (Intermediate Boys 800m) 2m09.91s,
and Joe Ramshaw (Intermediate Boys 1500m) 4m12.36s.
In addition to Matthew Heslop, Morpeth’s other Field Silver medallist was Elena Saunders,
who produced a new personal best of 8.96m in the Junior Girls Shot Putt.
A total of four Bronze medals were won by Morpeth Harrier athletes, two from the track, and two from the field.
Lily Heaton finished third in the Junior Girls 800m in 2m35.2s,
Thomas Cunningham finished third in the Junior Boys 800m,
posting a new personal best time of 2m25.48s.
In the Field events, Andrew Knight added a Bronze to the Gold that he won in the Shot Putt,
by throwing 29.88m in the Intermediate Boys Discus, finishing third to club colleague Ruaridh Lang.
Joe Briddon secured a Bronze medal in the Intermediate Boys High Jump, with a best clearance of 1.45m.
Other non-medal winning performances by athletes from Morpeth Harriers were as follows
Brad Brown (Intermediate Boys 800m) (6th) 2m18.38s (personal best),
Ella Duffield (Intermediate Girls 300m) (5th) 47.0s (personal best),
Kirsty Duffin (Intermediate Girls 300m) (6th) 49.53s,
Dylan Davies (Junior Boys 1500m) (7th) 4m58.8s (personal best,
Jonny Kidd (Junior Boys 1500m) (8th) 5m03.3s,
Megan Winter (Intermediate Girls 200m) (5th) 29.5s,
and (Intermediate Girls Javelin) (4th) 21.98m,
Owen Priest (Intermediate Boys Triple Jump) (4th) 10.68m,
Alfie Ward (Junior Boys Triple Jump) (8th) 10.30m (personal best),
and (Long Jump) (5th) 4.46m, and Alice Geoghegan (Junior Girls Javelin) (5th) 19.62m.
Leading athletes will have a second opportunity of raising a performance
in trial for the English Schools competition this weekend,
when the Northern Schools Inter Counties Track and Field Championships
are being held at Wentworth Stadium in Hexham.