Young athletes earn Chichester third spot in national fixture

Maya Shankar on her way to a 100m win / Picture by Lee Hollyer
Maya Shankar on her way to a 100m win / Picture by Lee Hollyer
  • City club beaten only by two strong teams
  • Nationally-ranked athletes boost points total

Another good all-round display from a squad of nearly 40 athletes saw Chichester gain another impressive third place in their latest National Junior Athletics League fixture at Aldershot.

Competing against seven other strong southern clubs, only hosts Aldershot & Farnham and previous winners Walton finished ahead of Chichester after a match featuring 50 events and four age groups.

Under-15 girls

As in the previous match at Sutton at the beginning of May, the under-15s led the way and all eight under-15 girls contributed to a fine all-round Chichester effort.

Nationally-ranked Alyssa White again showed superb form in winning the A-string 200m and 300m in 26sec and 41.8sec respectively, among the fastest times in the UK this season.

Rachel Laurie played her part with runners-up spots in the 100m A string and the 200m B string. Roberta Collyer backed up well in the 100m and showed her versatility in hammer and javelin, while Eleanor Lowes led as A-string in shot, hammer and discus.

Amber Dodd and Heidi King made a good pairing over 800m while Coco Smythe battled hard in a fast 1,500m and combined well with Rosie Compton in the high jump.

Saving energy for the final event the quartet of White, Laurie, Dodd and Smythe just failed to catch the early leaders in the 4x300m relay.

Under-15 boys

No fewer than 14 under-15 boys were in action at Aldershot with no less than seven middle-distance runners having a chance to show their mettle.

Despite stirring victories on the track, it was in the shot putt where they gained their only double maximum with new pairing Michael Ackerman and Jackson Chamberlain too good for their rivals, setting marks of close to 10m.

Chamberlain had earlier supported Cellan Robinson for a near-perfect score in the hammer and the pair showed their all-round ability in the 100m sprint.

After setting a personal best of 26.3sec in the 200m, Lewis Hall also ran a fast 300m, supported well by Jack Dean.

There was a double win in the middle-distance races with Ben Collins again too good for the opposition with a 2.08.7 clocking while Will Broom adopted different tactics in the 1,500m and pushed the pace early. He gradually pulled away from his rivals to come home in a new PB time of 4.34.6, with Leo Stallard second in the B race.

Harry Sage was next fastest for Chichester over 800m in a new best time of 2.33.9 while Jeremy Sharp, Ned Potter and JJ Staples set good marks in the non-scoring race.

George Moore supported the throws to good effect while Sam Price teamed up with Stallard in the hurdles, Ackerman in the high jump and Collins in the long jump.

Under-13 boys and girls

It was to their credit that the 15 members of the under-13 team were not put off by having to compete against older and more experienced athletes.

Star of the team was sprinter Maya Shankar, who was involved in the closest track race of the whole day, the girls’ 75m, with the first three athletes all credited with the same time of 10.7sec. After consulting officials, the track referee gave Shankar the verdict.

Emily Russell was again in good form to come second in the B string in 11sec while the pair were almost as successful over 150m later in the day with second and third places respectively.

Charlotte Bullard found herself up against the number-two UK-ranked athlete in the 800m but acquitted herself well in third place at 2.39.0 with Maggie King an able B string.

Nicole Boltwood and Nina Moranne showed good fighting spirit over 1,200m with both athletes a year younger than most of the rest of the field. Fleur Hollyer and Gracie Roberts did well over the hurdles with Hollyer supporting Shankar well in the long jump.

All but one of the under-13 boys were newcomers and, while not notching up any top-three places, contributed more than 50 points to the team total and helping to secure a comfortable third place for the team.

Jonathan Simmonds were given the task of leading off in the 100m while the middle-distance quartet of Douglas Smith, Tom Cohen, Max Jeffkins and Daniel Hogan-Hussein all ran with real determination while Charlie Sharp added to the squad in a non-scoring 800 metres. Showing great team spirit, Cohen and Hogan-Hussein tackled the hurdles to set the ball rolling at the start of the match while Smith joined Cohen in the long jump and Simmonds had a first shot at the javelin, all of which added to the match score.

Match score

1 Aldershot & Farnham 681pts

2 Walton AC 652

3 Chichester 526

4 Horsham Blue Star 467

5 Woking AC 425

6 Reigate Priory 301

7 Havant AC 280

8 Sutton & District 226

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