DESPITE numbers being down on previous years, competition was of the highest standard with athletes from outside the region making up over half the entries for the North Eastern Counties Championships and Open Pentathlon meeting held once again at a sunny Monkton Stadium.
However, while the junior age groups were well attended there was only one entry for the senior section which hugely disappointed the hard work put in by the organisers.
At the end of the day there was only one new Championship and Meeting record set and that came in the under-17 women's competition as Scottish raider Nicole Proudfoot totalled 3,321 points which eclipsed the 3,284 points accumulated by Gateshead's Amelia Bateman in 2016.
Nicole, of Annan and District AC, who set an under-15 pentathlon record the last time she was in Jarrow, was just returning from injury and used the Tyneside fixture in an attempt to earn Scotland Schools' selection and her endeavours may not be in vain for she produced new lifetime bests in both the long jump and shot put sections and season's bests in the 80 metres hurdles and 800m.
Hartlepool Youth's Ashley Watson finished runner-up behind Nicole on 2,680pts which earned her the NE title which wasn't surprising as she set new pbs in the high jump, 80m hurdles, shot put and 800m. Southport Waterloo's Stephanie Robertson claimed third place in the Open contest with 2656pts while North Shields Poly duo Quisha Graham and Evie Perrett completed the NE medalists with 2,109pts and 1,932pts respectively, Quisha producing new pbs in the hurdles and shot put while Evie celebrated with four pbs, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800m.
There was only one entry in the under-17 men's competition with Alnwick's Oliver Telfer claiming victory. Oliver did have the satisfaction of setting four new pbs - long jump, javelin, 200m and discus!
There were 18 entries in the in the under-15 girls contest and victory went to Wiltshire athlete Amy Warre of Swindon Harriers who totalled 2,735pts with New Marske's Molly thrower pushing her all the way to finish runner-up and claim the NE crown after amassing 2,603pts. Molly set set pbs in the 75m hurdles, shot putt and 800m and season's bests in both the long jump and high jump. Bury AC's Jena Dickinson finished in third place on 2,507pts.
The NE Counties silver medal went to North Shields Poly's Anna Fitzpatrick, who totalled 2,455pts after finishing in fourth place overall and setting pbs in the long jump, hurdles, shot put and 800m. Jarrow and Hebburn's Lexi Brown finished one place behind Anna (2,240pts) to claim the bronze award.
In the under-15 boys contest Blyth's Stewart Besford was the overall winner totalling 2,270pts finishing ahead of Joseph Edwards (City of York) who had 1,724pts and Scott Temple (Hartlepool Youth) who picked up the NE silver medal after setting new pbs in the 80m hurdles, high jump and 800m, to total 1,644pts. Alnwick's Finlay Telfer completed the NE podium places with 1,212pts, setting new pbs in the hurdles, long jump and high jump along the way.
The biggest line-up of the day came in the under-13 girls event with 23 competitors taking their place and it was a huge success for the City of York club with Kathryn Claque (2,542pts) and Emma Pounder (2,534pts) battling it out throughout the day to eventually fill the top two placings. Blyth's Hannah Wilson, with new high jump and long jump pbs, did her best to split the visiting duo but had to be content with third place overall at the end of the day. However, Hannah did top the podium for the NE Counties presentation where she was joined by New Marske's Georgia Richmond who totalled 2,196pts after setting new pbs in all five phases - the shot put, 70m hurdles, high jump, long jump and 800m! The NE Counties bronze medal went to North Shields Poly's Emily Bond whose total of 2,129pts would certainly have been bettered if she hadn't failed to record a mark in the shot put, the opening event of the day. Despite that setback the Poly youngster battled on setting new pbs in the hurdles and 800m to finish in sixth place overall, just behind Georgia.
Blyth Running Club celebrated their second champion of the day when Luke Pichler won the under-15 boys event with 1,542pts relegating Southport Waterloo's Adam Byrne into second place (1,424pts) and Hallamshire's Harry Stevens, just one point behind Adam, who finished in third place. Darlington's Ashton Harrison was second in the NE championship (1,129pts).
There were no entries in either the under-20 men, under-20 women or senior women's event but Heaton's Jordan Cairns was the sole senior man on view with his 1,500m time of 4:52.86 earning 602pts, which equated to around a third of his total of 1,837pts for the five events.
Once again a huge thanks to all the technical officials and stadium ground staff who kept the meeting moving smoothly which was well commented on by many of the visiting athletes and supporters.
Bill McGuirk is the North East's top athletics correspondent. NECAA Chairman and official, Bill can be found at all local athletics events supporting the sport he loves.