Despite heavy and persistent overnight rain, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the Durham Schools Track and Field Championships, competitive action in the annual Northumberland Schools equivalent went ahead as planned, at Hexham’s Wentworth Sports Centre on Saturday 8th June 2019.
The prevailing conditions certainly made life difficult for athletes, especially in the Field events, where despite such matters, competitors got on with things in hand, and produced some quite exceptional performances,
some being of championship best standard.
Amongst those athletes were no less than thirty-six from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers,
who between them managed a total of fifteen event wins on the day.
In the case of the Junior and Intermediate events, the first two places guaranteed each athlete a place
at the Inter Counties Championships at Gateshead this coming Saturday, the final steppingstone
before the English Championships, being held at Birmingham in Mid-July.
One of the Morpeth star performers, representing East Northumberland, was Senior Javelin thrower Bobbie Griffiths, who masterminded her sixth successive Javelin title in the event, having won every year, beginning in 2015, when she was a Junior, having also won as a Minor in 2013.
On Saturday, Griffiths won by throwing an on the day best of 38.20m, which although was around four metres adrift of her lifetime best, was only a mere 26cm short of her own championship record for the event last year.
Two Morpeth athletes did break championship records on Saturday however,
one being a very much in form Jessica Gardiner, also of East Northumberland,
who won the Intermediate Girls Hammer with her best throw of 40.34m,
beating Griffith’s 2017 record of 39.84m, thus taking 50cm off the old figure.
Second to Gardiner in the Hammer competition, was fellow Morpeth Harrier
Amy Lott, also representing East Northumberland.
Lott threw a best of 29.59m and went on to achieve championship
success in the 80m Hurdles, winning in 12.1s.
Gardiner also enjoyed a clear victory in the Discus,
with an on the day best of 30.16s.
Morpeth’s other championship record breaker was Alice Geoghegan, representing Newcastle,
who broke club colleague Mia Belton’s 2018 figure of 43.90s, when winning the Junior Girls 300m in 42.1s.
Geoghegan already holds an English Schools qualifying time,
after winning last months North Eastern title at Middlesbrough,
where she posted an impressive 41.86s for the distance.
There was also a second win on the day achieved by Geoghegan,
as she triumphed in the Junior Girls Javelin, where she produced an on the day best of 25.26m.
The aforementioned Mia Belton, representing Tynedale, was also in championship
winning form, producing identical clocking’s of 13.1s, when winning her earlier heat,
before going on to take the final, thus safeguarding her route
to those forthcoming Inter Counties Championships.
Senior Boy Ruaridh Lang, representing East Northumberland,
was a very comfortable winner of the Discus,
where he produced an on the day best of 43.30m,
which was agonisingly just 48cm short of his own lifetime best,
and 51cm short of Jack Smith’s 2014 record.
Second place went to his Morpeth club colleague Luke Haxell,
who produced an on the day best of 29.04m,
throwing that weight of implement for the very first time in competition.
In the Intermediate Boys 800m Final, East Northumberland, and Morpeth’s Ben Waterfield,
managed to get under two minutes for the first time, winning in an impressive 1m59.6s.
Rory Leonard (East), was a very comfortable winner of the Senior Boys 1500m,
posting a time of 4m01.3s, however was clearly not relishing the conditions.
Charlotte Earl (East), produced a new personal best performance of 10.22m,
when winning the Intermediate Girls Triple Jump with 10.22m.
Max Marr of Morpeth Harriers, and representing East Northumberland,
won the Intermediate Boys Long Jump, producing a lifetime personal best of 5.81m.
In the Intermediate Boys 1500m, Morpeth’s Rowan Bennett, representing Tynedale, won in a time of 4m12.9s.
Club colleague Dylan Gooding, representing East Northumberland, finished third in 4m23.2s.
In the Junior Girls High Jump, Morpeth’s Lucy McConnell,
representing East Northumberland, won with her clearance of 1.40m.
Nat Arkle of East Northumberland won the Junior Boys Shot, by producing
an on the day best of 10.47m, which was a good 80cm clear of his closest rival.
Arkle had also got through to the Final of the 200m by winning his heat in 25.4s,
but could only finish fourth when it mattered, posting a time of 26.0s.
Also making the final of the 200m was fellow Morpeth Harrier Harry Brown (East),
who produced a personal best of 27.0s, when finishing third in his heat,
but was two places behind Arkle in the Final, clocking 27.5s.
Other Morpeth Harriers who look set to appear at Saturday’s Inter Counties
by virtue of second places in Finals are,
Dylan Davies (East) (Intermediate Boys 3000m) 9m53.5s,
Daniel Dowd (East) (Intermediate Boys Javelin) 40.60m,
David Sanderson (East) (Intermediate Boys Discus) 32.65m,
Rhiannon Hedley (North) (Intermediate Girls 800m) 2m27.5s,
Holly Peck (East) (Intermediate Girls 1500m) 4m52.6s,
Abbie Ross (East) (Intermediate Girls Long Jump) 4.37m (PB),
and Rosie Winter (East) (Intermediate Girls Javelin) 24.68m.
Further Morpeth Harriers performances, some of which may put them on standby for call up were as follows.
Matthew Walton (East) (Junior Boys 800m Final) (10th) 2m23.3s (PB),
Ryan Davies (East) (Junior Boys 1500m Final) (6th) 4m42.4s,
Bertie Marr (North) ( Junior Boys 1500m Final) (8th) 4m48.5s,
Edward Gardiner (North) (Junior Boys Javelin Final) (4th) 26.22m,
Harry Brown (East) (Junior Boys Javelin Final) (6th) 25.34m,
Oliver Geoghegan (Newcastle) (Junior Boys Javelin Final) (8th) 24.29m (PB),
Edward Gardiner (North) (Junior Boys Discus Final) (9th) 20.30m,
Olivia Carruthers (Newcastle) (Junior Girls 300m Final) (4th) 45.8s (PB),
and (Junior Girls 75m Hurdles Final) (3rd) 13.8s,
Max Marr (East) (Intermediate Boys 100m Final ) (6th) 12.5s,
Josh Adams (East) (Intermediate Boys 100m Final) (7th) 12.5s (PB),
and (Intermediate Boys 200m Final) (5th) 25.6s,
Theo Brown (East) (Intermediate Boys Discus) (3rd) 29.33m,
Amber Witt (East) (Intermediate Girls 100m Final) (3rd) 13.2s,
and Rosie Winter (East) (Intermediate Girls 200m Final) (3rd) 28.0s.