Chichester athletes cement place in Sussex top two
A fine team performance by a squad of 28 athletes enabled Chichester to make it a hat-trick of top-two placings in the Sussex under-15 grand final at the K2 track at Crawley.
The club repeated their performance of 2014 and 2015 by finishing runners-up to home club Crawley, and their margin over the remaining eight clubs was the widest ever, with a 52-point gap to Brighton & Hove AC in third.
In a league formed in 1998, Chichester sit firmly as the second strongest Sussex club over the 18 years with only nationally-ranked Crawley ahead of them.
1 Crawley 436 match pts
2 Chichester 397
3 Brighton & Hove 345
4 Eastbourne 333
5 Worthing 224
6 East Grinstead 162
7 Haywards Heath 135
8 Horsham 129
9 Brighton Phoenix 119
10 Lewes 42
Chichester’s under-15 boys’ team has this season probably been the most well-balanced of any in the club’s recent history and was a major factor in the combined junior team becoming champions in the National League.
The squad for the final was near full strength and good points were picked in sprints, middle distance and in the field events in jumps and throws.
In the shot putt the club gained one of their maximum 20-point scores when Caelen Stanton and Gus Haplink won their A and B strings respectively, with Stanton the pick of the field with a winning 12.17m best throw to win by more than a metre.
The pair had earlier combined to good effect in the hammer with Stanton also runner-up in the javelin with a throw of 34m with Ethan Brown winning the B string.
Brown was also in action in the pole vault and was again tied for top spot with his Crawley rival on 2.80m but had to settle for second on countback.
Brown more than made up for this by combining with Max Lambkin for the other maximum of the day in the 80m hurdles, with Lambkin setting the club’s fastest time of the year with a 13.1sec clocking to win the A string by half a second.
Lambkin was also in the sprint squad with Cellan Robinson and Tom Claydon and was rewarded with a 25.3sec clocking in the 200m while Claydon was one of four athletes who shared the fastest time of the day in the 100m at 12.5sec.
With Robinson lending good support, the trio accounted for 30 points towards the club’s total.
Finn Buckingham-Rhyder and Jack Dean formed a useful pairing in the 300m with Buckingham-Rhyder showing his versatility with a runner-up spot in the discus.
In the middle-distance races Alex Mani took the 800m from the front but had to settle for third behind two talented runners from Crawley and Brighton, with Harry Smith running a solid B string. Harry Sage and Ned Potter picked up useful points in the 1500m.
Claydon picked two fine runners-up spots in high and long jumps with Robinson and Jacob Piper supporting well in the B strings.
The under-15 girls have not quite been able to match the performances of their male counterparts this season but there were many encouraging signs at Crawley, especially as more than half the squad will be in the same age group next season.
It was in the field events where Chichester scored most heavily, with Freya Chandler and Caitlin Brown picking up 17 points in the javelin.
Alexia Everley and Lucie Munday achieved the same total in the discus having scored 16 points in the hammer at the start of the match, the same total as Holly Trinder and Everley in the shot.
In the jumps, two athletes who have just come up from the under-13s, Emily Shippham and Jess Rayner, combined well in the high jump, with Shippham and sprinter Maya Shankar proving a good pairing in the long jump.
There was some of the fiercest competition of the season in the track events with all ten clubs out in force.
Shankar spearheaded the sprints with Rayner, Rosie Compton and Annabel Eden in support. Compton teamed up with Jess Werfalli in the 300m while Amber Dodd and Coco Smythe battled hard in the 800m.
Chandler and Rayner had to contend with a record-breaking run by the Crawley county champion in the 75m hurdles while Chandler showed great team spirit to join up with Caitlin Brown in the 1500m ensuring Chichester had a full team in every event and adding another valuable 14 points.
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