Highlight of Day One of the England Under-23 and Under-20 Championships held at Bedford International Stadium on Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd June 2014 was the silver medal won by Dan STUDLEY in the under-23 1,500 metres. The eighteen man straight final on the Saturday morning was slow and tactical to the bell. Dan pulled out a 56 second last lap to finish second in 3:51.67, 0.34 seconds off the winner Will Paulson of Stroud AC. After finishing eighth in 2012 and ninth in 2013 it was great to see Dan finish his time as an Under-23 on the track with his first ever age group national medal.
Also in action on the Saturday were Elliott PRENDERGAST who finished seventh in his heat of the under-20 100 metres in 11.28 and Freddie OWSLEY, who ran 49.91 for fourth place in heat 2 of the under-20 400 metres to qualify for the semi-finals as a fastest loser. Freddie finished seventh in the first semi-final in 49.98. Scott BAJERE was third in heat 2 of the under-23 100 metres in 10.69 and made the final as a fastest loser. Scott finished seventh in the final in 10.62.
The club’s only female competitor on Day One was Molly LONG who qualified comfortably for Sunday’s final clocking 2:11.34 for second in her Under-20 800 metre heat and an automatic qualifying place in the final.
On Day Two Chris STONE was first club athlete to perform winning his heat of the 200 metres in 21.26 to make the final. Later in the afternoon Chris finished third in the final in 21.50 and was disappointed as in his words he “fell asleep” 30 metres before hitting the straight and that was that. He ‘jogged’ a 21.26 into a 1.6 head wind in his heat and knows from that and previous performances there is more in the tank. His heat time at the Midland Championships would have won him the final yesterday let alone his Midland’s final time. It is good for Chris that all the right people watched him run such an easy, fast and controlled heat. His Coach Al Abrams remains confident that Chris will get selected for the World Junior Championships as he is one of only two athletes with the qualifying time. Moreover, he is the only UK athlete to have both the 100 and 200 metre qualifying times. Al and Chris have now decided to give the UK Championships a miss this coming weekend and concentrate on preparation for the World Junior Championships (so fingers crossed that the selectors’ decision is a positive one).
Anna BURTON doesn’t believe her coach (Keith Brackstone) that Bedford is always wet and windy – having run there twice and both times in blazing sunshine. The Under-23 5,000 metres had the addition of three athletes from a visiting team from Cornell and Penn Universities in the USA. Anna started well and was on course for a PB for the first 2k but the hot conditions saw her slow between 2 and 4k before picking the pace up again towards the end. Anna finished tenth in 17:28.47. There were a couple of drop-outs due to the hot conditions.
Molly LONG was the third club athlete to win a medal when she finished second in the final of the Under-20 Women’s 800 metres in 2:06.80 just 0.26 behind fellow Cornish athlete Charlotte Cayton-Smith. Molly is still just short of the World Championships qualifying time and it remains to be seen whether coach John Knowles will get Molly to have another crack at the qualifying time.
Luke BAILEY finished fifth in the under-23 pole vault with a best clearance of 4 metres 40 centimetres and Alex LEEMING-FROUDAKIS finished thirteenth in the under-20 Men’s discus with a best throw of 44 metres 6 centimetres.
It was good to see eight club members competing in the National age group championships and really pleasing to see three of them make the podium. The club might have had a few more competing in the under-20 age group had there not been a clash with the South-West Schools Championships this weekend.
Keith Brackstone Reports