Herne Hill Harriers enjoyed what has now become an almost customary large annual haul of Surrey county track and field championship medals over the weekend of 13/14 May at Kingsmeadow Stadium, with fifteen golds and forty-nine in total, including two track events in which Harriers’ athletes sporting the red and black hoops claimed all three medals.
The men’s 400m final is timetabled at the end of the two day meeting and the Herne Hill one lap exponents extended their recent domination of this event at county level as Nicholas Atwell, Tobi Adeyemi and Peter Phillips claimed a 1-2-3, with Atwell winning his fifth Surrey 400m title in as many years stopping the clock at 48.51 seconds on this occasion. Indeed in the three years prior to Atwell taking command, this year’s bronze medallist Phillips had been the winner, meaning that between them they account for eight years of Surrey men’s 400m gold medals.
In the under 15 girls 1500m three Herne Hill athletes coached by James McDonald all enjoyed their place on the medal rostrum, with winner Maisie Collis storming back to form and victory in a superb new personal best time of 4.39.52 which is a qualifying time for the English Schools championship and places her in the top five of the early season UK age group rankings. Joining Collis in claiming medals were early race leader Eva Holland who finished second and Poppy Craig-McFeely who battled down the home straight to take home the bronze in a high quality race.
Ore Adamson won the under 17 women’s long jump by a big margin of over 0.5m as her best leap of 5.85m is further than any other athlete in her age group in the UK has achieved so far this year apart from a couple of her own efforts earlier in 2017. Although not race winning athletes at Kingsmeadow, two more extremely high level Herne Hill performances came in the under 17 women’s 1500m, where three runners who all won English Schools champs track medals last summer and cross country medals at national level during the winter all raced head to head. In an epic battle which saw the lead change hands several times in the final 300m the eventual victor was Claudia Lance Jones of Guildford, very closely followed by Herne Hill’s Alex Brown and Charlotte Alexander in a race of exceptional standard.
In the senior men’s events in addition to Atwell, Michael Wheeler (shot) and Seb Wilson Dyer Gough (long jump) also took home much coveted gold medals over the weekend, Dejean Marshall Brown took home two golds (shot and discus) among the under 20 men and in the under 15 boys group Laban McKenzie won the hammer and Jacob Harrison the 3000m, with his brother Benjamin also on the podium to collect a bronze in the same race. Also in the under 15 boys races Jaden Kennedy placed a good second in a quality 1500m race with a season’s best time.
Harriers’ under 13 boys were also in on the act as Clayton Mytil won gold in the 75m hurdles plus a bronze in the long jump and fourth place in the 200m, while Christo Chilton picked up a silver medal in the 1500m. Mollie O’Sullivan won the under 20 women’s 800m and ran a PB 400m to add a silver medal to her collection. Florie Craddock won the high jump in the same age group and also a bronze in the pole vault and Denisha Marshal Brown claimed silver in both shot and discus. In the under 17 women’s events in addition to Adamson, Brown and Alexander’s exploits, Liv Stillman won the 3000m and Lakeisha Owusu-Junior was a good winner in the 100m final and added a bronze in the 200m, while Je’Nae James won gold in the under 15 girls shot as the Herne Hill medal count continued to mount up.
Away from Kingsmeadow in other county championships Alfred Mawdsley won the under 17 men’s discus at the Buckinghamshire champs, where his younger brother Dan won the under 13 boys hammer, silver in the discus and placed fourth in the shot. At the Bedfordshire champs veteran Simon Coombes took home a bronze in the senior men’s 800m and fifteen minutes later won gold in the 5000m.
Over a busy weekend there was also the first of the British Milers’ Club Grand Prix meetings of the season on Saturday evening at Solihull, an event which yielded a couple more excellent personal best performances from Herne Hill athletes. Although not turning twenty until July, Lascelles Hussey is now in the under 23 age group and has got off to a cracking start to his season. At Solihull he followed up his recent PB 1500m times with a real breakthrough run as he smashed through the 3.50 barrier to clock a very fast 3.47.85 as he placed seventh in a strong B race. Under 20 Ella Newton also broke new ground at this meeting as her very fine 4.39.82 for eighth in the women’s C race took her under 4.40 for the first time and her progress continues apace. These meetings are an excellent source of fast paced middle distance races and we can hope for more PBs in the forthcoming BMC fixtures as the summer season unfolds in earnest.