On the second day of the YDL final our U17/U20 athletes lived up to the expectations set out by the younger athletes, also winning the national title! With athletes medalling in almost every event the team racked up an incredible 882.5 points, over 150points ahead of second place!
During the lap of honour several athletes took the plunge into the steeple chase water jump. Led by team captains Morgan Squibb and Dillon Claydon, the celebratory splashes ended with Brydon Duncan fully submerging, face first, to the supportive chants of encouragement from his excited team mates.
Overall an amazing day of athletics from a fantastic team of athletes. We also had some comments from the team managers.
I’m incredibly proud and honoured to have been a part of such a team of exemplary young people. They performed incredibly, gave everything… more than the proverbial 110%. They were respectful, amusing and couldn’t have been better ambassadors for the club and the sport.
Roll on Castellon, roll on 2023!
Arriving at Sport City, Manchester for the 2022 YDL Finals, we could be forgiven for being optimistic that we would continue our run of victories and pick up where we left off in the last Final in 2019. We’d had a great season – all our matches won comfortably and thus convincing winners of the Southern Premiership – and we had an almost full-strength team: the loss of our two international throwers, Cleo and Zara, to an England Athletics throws fest inappropriately scheduled on the same day, would have sunk most other teams and, though we missed them, we closed ranks and moved on.
However strong the team, there is no room for complacency in a National Final (even in the puzzling absence of our closest Southern rivals, WSEH) and the odd false start and floored baton can prove a great leveller. But from the first event of the day, the long jump, where, despite the tricky swirling wind, we picked up two wins and a third place courtesy of Daisy Snell, Sienna Kidd and Claudia Baker, it never looked as though anyone was going to raise a serious challenge. As the day progressed, it became apparent that the other teams had not succeeded in covering the full complement of events – we were only missing one pole vaulter (an event that had been our Achilles heel all summer) and still came away from that with a gold from Lily Anderson and a bronze from Lily Meers, both on their pole vault debut.
The first track event of the day, the long hurdles, again demonstrated our ability to rise to the occasion with steeplechasers stepping up (down?) to fill the B string places we’d struggled to cover all summer and team captain, Morgan Squibb, came away with the win and Amanda Cockburn, the runners-up spot. It was silver and gold again in the U20 1500 (for Amarisa Sibley and Hannah Clark) with the U17s, Libby White and Lara Tunali-Flynn, providing strong support with 2nd and 3rd in their race.
While this was happening, our depleted throws squad were shrugging off their handicap with 1sts for Gypsy Nash and Sapphire Houston Ball and a 2nd for Rianna Rennie in the hammer, an event Rianna hadn’t done for several years. Rianna would go on to win the A-string shot and B javelin and Gypsy to take 2nd in the discus. With new recruit, Peanut Meekings, winning the A javelin and B shot and taking silver in the B discus, we demonstrated just what a strong women’s throws squad we have.
Of all the other events on the track, the highlights were provided by Faith Akinbileje, our Junior international sprinter, who, despite still being U17, cleaned up in the U20 100 and 200 and led home the victorious U20 4×100 team. Fellow U17, Fleur Todd-Warmoth, completed a very tough 3000 and 800 double, threatening the League Record in the former. Morgan also had a busy day adding a win in the steeplechase (with Ailbhe Barnes completing the double) and a leg in the winning 4×400 to her earlier victory.
We also won both U17 relays and the following also recorded gold medal performances: Tianna Haynes (B 100 and 200); Cameron Kelly-Gordon (A 400 and 4×400); Gaby Martin (B 400 and 4×300); Daisy Snell (A300 and 4×300); Jodie Self (A 80H and 4×100); Sienna Kidd (B 80H and 4×100); Isla Spink (B 3000); Aber Cockburn (U17 B steeplechase); Molly Savage (A TJ); Rachael Ilori (B TJ); Indiana Marshall and Nina Whitter (4×100); Tallulah Ndikanwu and Julia Newman (4×300); Emily Kerr and Shakanya Osahon (4×100); and, Zakia Mossi and Amarisa Sibley (4×400).
Is it any wonder therefore, with the boys nearly doing as well (!), that we won the joint match by 160 points (with the girls winning the women’s by almost 140!).
A great end to the season (for some, others have to go again in Spain in 2 weeks) and back as National Champions after the COVID break.