Chichester’s young athletes push champions all the way

Cellan Robinson was one of Chi Runners' stars in the Under-15 meeting / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Cellan Robinson was one of Chi Runners' stars in the Under-15 meeting / Picture by Lee Hollyer
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Chichester’s talented youngsters travelled to Horsham for the second of the Sussex under-15 evening matches with six of the top ten clubs in Sussex in action.

While the girls’ squad was below full strength, the boys again caught the eye by nearly matching Sussex champions Crawley to finish a close second on the night, well clear of the other clubs.

The boys’ sprint relay team of Robinson, Brown, Price and Claydon stormed home more than a second clear of the rest of the field in 51.4sec.

The best combination for the boys was Ethan Brown and Sam Price, who dominated the hurdles and nearly matched the result in the javelin later on.

Brown was just squeezed out of an A-string win by a strong Horsham competitor but still set a personal best of 30m-plus in the process.

Another 2.80m clearance in the pole vault resulted in a runners-up spot for Brown on countback with both he and the Crawley winner flying high in the national rankings.

Cellan Robinson and Tom Calydon led the sprints supported well by Johnny Simmons and Archie Lyne with a strong following wind resulting in some fast times.

Simmons supported Harry Smith in both 300m and 800m with Smith again knocking a couple of seconds from his 800m time to record 2min 25sec.

There was a new pairing in the 1,500m with Liam Dunne and Alex Mani switching from their usual 800m. Mani was unlucky to aggravate an injury and had to pull up halfway leaving Dunne to track three county athletes and come home in 4.39, the fastest by a Chichester under-15 this season and a 30-second improvement from last season.

Highlights of the field events were from Calydon, who recorded another win in the high jump and a 5.27m long jump for third place in a hard-fought competition, while thrower Ben Brandon was making his first appearance of the season for the club and picked up useful points in shot, discus and hammer.

The boys’ sprint relay team of Robinson, Brown, Price and Claydon stormed home more than a second clear of the rest of the field in 51.4sec.

The girls’ squad found themselves up against some of the strongest opposition of the year with Jess Rayner and Emily Russell joined in the sprints by Molly Hogan-Hussein and newcomer to the team Jess Werfalli.

Phoebe Pontet, Annie Gibson and Caitlin Brown gave a good account of themselves in the hurdles, 800m and 1,500m.

Rayner equalled her best in the high jump while Brown joined up with newcomer Holly Trinder for the girls’ best event of the evening with two runners-up spots in the discus.

The next time the under-15s will be in action is July 16 when they travel to Woking in a combined junior team with the under-13s to try to finish in one of two promotion places in the National Junior league.

Chris Zablocki and James Baker

Nearing the end of his nine-month stay in England, American doctor Chris Zablocki has been making his mark on the track and set yet another Chichester club record and beat his own previous best with an emphatic 5,000m win at Bournemouth.

Running with club-mate James Baker as a guest in the British League fixture at Kings Park, Zablocki employed the same tactics as when breaking the course record in the Chichester Corporate Challenge in March by setting off at a furious pace from the gun gaining a lead of more than 50m after covering just the first two laps.

Not letting his pace drop, the American kept up a relentless tempo of 70-second laps until he had lapped virtually the rest of a high-quality field by the finish to come home in 14min 28.6sec, not a bad result for an athlete who was completing four marathons in less than two months during the autumn.

In the same race, Baker finished well up the field and the 39-year-old once again broke the 16-minute barrier with 15.54.7, a few seconds outside his season’s best.

PHIL BAKER

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