Young athletes from Nene Valley Harriers and their coaches can hold their heads high after their promising showing at the Eastern Young Athletes’ League (EYAL) Final in Bedford.
Facing strong opposition from five clubs across south east England, Harriers finished fifth on a day of fine performances from team manager Gary Huskisson’s squad.
The under-15 girls missed out on their age group title by just half a point to Havering, despite sprinters Jasmine Allen and Jada Daley securing wins in the A and B string 100 metres.
Jasmine also won the 300 metres and led home the sprint relay team which also included thrower Hannah Molyneaux who won the discus, hammer and javelin.
Hannah said: “I was just aiming for a set of consistent throws in the high 13 metres to 14 metres.
“My coach Geoff Capes has completely turned my technique around, giving me more power and a lot more aggression.
It was quite an achievement for us as a club to get to the EYAL finals.Nene Valley Harriers under-15 girls sprinter Jasmine Allen
“Geoff has tried to toughen me up and get me in a strong frame of mind, but I also try to mix with other athletes as well.”
Other Harriers to win were Megan Ellison after dominating the 800 metres and the B 300 metere, Casey Hilliam (B 800 metres), Shandon Hodgeson (B 80 metres hurdles), Rosie Fresen (pole vault), Lydia Church and Priscilla Dadziea (shot put), Bethany Denial (long jump) and Priscilla also won the B discus.
After the 800 metres, Megan said: “The first lap was quite slow so I tried to wind it up a bit and then went for home at 600 metres.
“I wanted to keep my unbeaten record intact and I want to go as high in the rankins as I can.”
There was also a second for the under-17 girls, with the under-13 girls coming third, under-15 boys fourth, under-17 boys fifth and under-13 boys 6th.
One of the big scorers for the under-15 boys was Spalding Grammar School sprinter and England Athletics U15/U17 champion William Hughes who took the 100 metres/200 metres double.
William said: “It was a good result because the start wasn’t as quick as it could have been, but I’ve been trying to get stronger and playing rugby in the winter helps me.
“I didn’t really think I’d get gold at the U15/U17 Championships and it’s been the highlight of the year.”
Other notable performances came from Amber Parks in the under-15 A 800 metres, coming a close second, Jose Downer and Dion Harrison both taking seconds in the under-13 girls A and B long jump respectively, Megan Williams (under-13 girls B shot put), Calypso Priestley (2nd in under-13 girls 1500 metres) and Ryley Barfoot (under 13 boys B discus).
Jasmine said: “I was over the moon with my wins because I hadn’t done a 100 metres in a while and I’d been working on a lot of core work, especially in the long jump.
“I was quite surprised by how much it makes a difference and my form has come at the right time.
“It was quite an achievement for us as a club to get to the EYAL finals.”
Rosie added: “Bedford had the best atmosphere in the EYAL league because it wasn’t about how people finish but how you race with other people.
“We’ve made the transition from Southern Athletics League to EYAL and we’ve done really well because a lot of people have other commitments, but we’ve still held our own in the competition.”