Chichester’s young athletes climb national rankings

From left, Eloise Longhurst, Alice Cox-Rusbridge, Phoebe Pontet and Emily Russell
From left, Eloise Longhurst, Alice Cox-Rusbridge, Phoebe Pontet and Emily Russell

Chichester’s under-17s and under-20s have been in league action as well as contesting open meetings – resulting in numerous personal-best performances as well as a number of high positions in the national rankings.

For the under-20s, top performance so far this season has come from Leo Stallard, who is also making his name in the triathlon ranks.

In a recent British Milers Club meeting in Eltham, Kent, the 16-year-old smashed his previous best in the 5,000m by over half a minute to record 15min 43sec to climb to 18th in the UK rankings.

At the same meeting, Ben Collins also made a breakthrough in the 800m to cross the line in 1.58. Ben Morton has also got in on the act with a new best of 9.06 in the 3000m at Brighton a week later, a 15-second improvement on his 2017 best.

Also in action in a league match at the Withdean Stadium was Brandon Bell, who was back to form in the 100m and 200m, as was Ethan Hartley, who again showed his versatility over distances ranging from 400m to 1,500m.

For the women’s team, Alice Cox-Rusbridge had her first track meeting of the season after a fine winter of cross country and road running.

In the under-17s the top performances at Brighton in the men’s match were from Max Lambkin, who set three personal bests in the day.

She started the day with a speedy race over 1500m in just over five minutes and proceeded to dominate the steeplechase later in the programme to romp home in 5.36.4 to stand 21st in the UK rankings in her first-ever attempt at the event.

In the under-17s the top performances at Brighton in the men’s match were from Max Lambkin, who set three personal bests in the day.

A speedy 62-second clocking for the 400m hurdles was followed by 11.8sec for the 100m and 23.6 in the 200m for his first official times under 12 and 24 seconds respectively.

Cellan Robinson supported well in the sprints and posted a good mark in the discus while Liam Dunne showed a good turn of speed with a 53.6sec in the 400m, although a recurrence of slight twinge prevented him from running in his best event, the 800m.

Niall Mears and Alfie Spurle formed a new partnership in the 800m with both athletes just outside 2.20 and Spurle also competing well over 400m and triple jump.

Gymnast Ethan Brown was in action for the first time this season and was rewarded with a new best of 37.81m in the javelin as well and clearing 2.80m in the pole vault and coming close with good attempts at a new best height of three metres.

In the women’s events, Worthing-based Eloise Longhurst was making her first appearance in a Chichester vest and showed great form over 200m and 300m as well notching up a good mark of 10.34 in the triple jump.

Emily Russell backed up well as B string in the two track races, scoring good points for the club while Phoebe Pontet continued her good season’s form in the 80m hurdles. Finally thrower Lucie Munday gained two runners-up spots in discus and hammer against some fierce opposition.

PHIL BAKER