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.
MORPETH Harriers came within 12 seconds of making it onto the Northern Athletics Start Fitness-supported Six-Stage Road Relay Championships podium which was held for the fourth time around the perimeter Sport City's Etihad Stadium, the home of Premiership champions Manchester City.
The Northumbrians, who last won the title in 2006 in Hartlepool, the last time the championships were held in the North East, had to be content with fourth place this time round behind Leeds City and Greater Manchester clubs Sale and Salford.
Sam Hancox opted to contest the first stage for Morpeth and handed over to Adam Pratt in 13th position. The North East Counties steeplechase champion slipped back to 18th on leg two after clocking 21:48 before passing onto to George Lowry who managed to move through into eighth place after recording 20min 30sec, the same time as Hancox. Junior World Championship 5,000m representative Rory Leonard took over and improved another four places (20:36) as the gaps ahead widened especially behind Leeds City whose Philip Sesemann, on the same stage as Leonard, stormed round the 6.8k course in the fastest tome of the day of 19:18. Alex Brown took over for Morpeth on the penultimate stage and though he consolidated fourth place with 20:20 it looked as though a top-three place was out of the question.
However, that didn't deter Carl Avery from having a go for he cut back the deficit with every stride which ultimately produced the fastest stage time of 19:27 - third fastest overall - and while it was much quicker than the Leeds, Sale and Salford last runners the finish line came just to soon.
With the event a qualifying competition for the National Road Relay Championships, a number of other North East clubs lined up in the North West. After Morpeth's gallant efforts, Tyne Bridge were the next local club to close in and they just missed out on a top-10 finish. Tom Charlton, with a superb 20:36 on stage two was the club's leading light as they eventually finished in 11th place. Gateshead, champions on numerous occasions in the 70s and 80s, were next to finish in 17th place with Conrad Franks, despite a short recovery after his excellent GNR, the Tynesiders' stand-out performer as he handed over in sixth position (20:09) at the first changeover.
Morpeth's second string also qualified for the 'National' after finishing in 23rd place with Philip Winkler posting the sextet's fastest time of 21:41. Tyne Bridge B team, with Connor Braithwaite their quickest (22:12), finished in 41st place; Heaton, with James McKenzie (21:43) just edging out team-mate James Meader (21:46) for their fastest time, finished 50th while Durham City - Rob Everson (22:42) their best - finished 57th; Gateshead B - Jonathan Malley (23:19) their best - were 71st; Blackhill Bounders, with Jordan Bell recording 21:01, finished 83rd while Heaton's B team just finished outside the top 100 (102nd) with Thomas Bell their best with 26:12. There were 107 teams who closed in.
The women's four-stage championship was over a slightly shorter course of 6k and it was a Yorkshire one-two with victory going to Rotherham by a margin of 10 seconds over arch rivals Leeds City as title holders Lincoln Wellington completed the podium places just three seconds adrift of the runners-up.
While it wasn't a qualifying contest for the National, the Tyne Bridge quartet of Mairi Clancy (24:58), Rebecca Parkin (25:51), Kathryn Stevenson (24:22) and Lysanne Jurriansen (27:08) finished a creditable 27th out of the 69 teams who finished.
Heaton, who had Danielle Smythe in sixth place at the completion of stage one after recording the ninth fastest overall time of the day of 21:45, finished in 35th place with Deborah Hicks (27:42), Nina Cameron (25:48) and Lisa Boyd (29:48) backing up Smythe.
YOUNG ATHLETES CHAMPIONSHIPS
WHILE there were no senior awards on the day, the region's youngsters who made the trip to Manchester made it all worthwhile with a number travelling home with medals round their necks.
Pride of place goes to Houghton Harriers who came out on top in the under-17 men's 3x3.7k contest. Henry Johnson gave Houghton a superb base by passing over to Sam Gibson in second place after recording 11min 39sec, a time which at the end of the day was the third fastest overall. Sam (12:14) dropped back one place on leg two before passing over to Will Bellamy. Will took over two seconds adrift of Rotherham and 13 seconds behind leaders Salford. However, it quickly all changed as Will, who has been dogged with injury during the summer, immediately set about cutting back the deficit, He quickly managed to overhaul the Rotherham athlete but it wasn't until the final kilometre that he finally got his nose in front to bring Houghton home in first place 10 seconds clear of Salford and it wasn't surprising that his 11:23 was the fastest time of the day. Making it a good age-group for the region Darlington lifted the bronze medals thanks to the efforts of Daniel Boyer (11:52), John Russell (12:04) and Adam Russell who brought Darlo into a medal position for the first time with 11:48.
Houghton's B team of Chris Coulson, Luke Pye and Izaak Taylor, finished 27th while the Blackhill Bounders trio of Duncan Hughes, Etham Richards and Jordan Meikle, finished 32nd.
North Shields Poly came close to making it a winning double for the region but at the end of the day had to be content with a set of runners-up medals in the under-15 boys 3x3.4k contest.
The Poly were back in 13th spot at the first changeover after Zak Old's 11:58 stint. However, things changed dramatically after Oliver Douglass stormed through the field to sixth place on the penultimate leg. At that point the Poly were 59 seconds behind leaders Salford and 36 seconds adrift of second-placed Vale Royal but the red-white-and-blues had kept their big gun until last and or how he gave it a go, first reeling in a number of the clubs ahead until there was only one, Vale Royal. Unfortunately, while recently crowned Junior GNR champion Josh Blevins posted a superb 11:10 - third fastest overall - which was 10 seconds quicker than his main rival, it wasn't enough leaving the Poly to finish in second place 26 seconds down on the winners. Morpeth, with Joe Dixon (11:22, eighth fastest overall), Bertie Marr (12:00) and Ryan Davies (12:14) finished in fifth place.
The Poly also led the region's charge in the under-13 boys contest over the same 3.4k course with their A team of Harry Furness (13:08), Zac Brannon (12:45) and Ben Scantlebury (13:18) finishing in seventh place, three places ahead of the Darlington trio of Harry Lyons (12:40, Edward Keeley (13:25) and Louis Brett (13:28). North Shields Poly's B team, made up of the Maley brothers Benjamin, Jonathon and Matthew - is this a first? - finished 28th, one place ahead of the Houghton trio of Joseph McGinley, Ryan King and Thomas Pigford.
The under-17 women's contest was over the same distance as the men's and it was the Houghton trio of Nicole Phillips (14:22), Lydia James (15:21) and Anno Pigford (14:33) who were the region's first team home finishing in sixth place. Elswick, who were lining up for the first time, finished a more than satisfactory 10th thanks to the efforts of Suzannah Fielding (15:04), Charley Lee (16:13) and Hannah Tumia (14:58). The North Shields trio of Alexandra Berry, Kirsty Nash and Lucia Bradley, finished 23rd.
In the under-15 girls 3x3.4k contest the Poly came through from sixth to third on the final stage to claim the bronze medals. Ellie Vandermerwe had the Poly in third place at the first changeover after clocking 12:37 which was the sixth fastest of the day. Katie Joslyn slipped back to sixth on stage two (13:52) but Holly Waugh's 12:47 was good enough to bring the Poly home in third place. The Blackhill Bounders trio of Alix Walton, Molly Anderson and Hannah Bowyer just got the better of the Birtley threesome - Abigail Thwaites, Mia Openshaw and Katie Francis, who was sixth fastest overall - to finish 23rd one place ahead of Birtley.
The under-13 girls 3x3.4k contest proved to be a huge success for Elswick with the trio of Lucy Milburn (14:51), Poppy Wilde (14:06) and Poppy Old (13:47) leading the North East challenge to finish in ninth place out of a total of of 41 teams. To make it a good day all-round the Newcastle club's B team of Isabella Russell, Sophie Henderson and Erin Blight, finished in 25th place, one place behind the Darlington threesome of Toni Buckley, Savannah Tarn and Libby Hammond. Blackhill Bounders' trio of Megan Shield, Rosie Anderson and Sophie Campbell, finished 38th.
ONCE more the region's youngsters were out in force in the Junior Great North Run. Literally hundreds and hundreds lined up in wave after wave contesting a 4k course on both banks of the Tyne.
The older, under-17, competitors had the added incentive of chasing the Stan Long Trophies which the Great Run Company put up each year in honour of Stan Long one of the best-known endurance coaches the North East has produced. And Stan would be all smiles and extremely proud when both the boys and girls cups were presented to Gateshead athletes by members of his family. The boys award went to the ever-improving David Race while English Championship 3,000m silver medallist, Ines Curran, romped home to claim the girls prize.
In the Junior GNR last year David finished 17th in 14min 56secs but this time round he improved to a staggering 12:47 to finish 14 seconds clear of Merseysider Jake Dickinson. Durham City's Adam Ord was making his Junior GNR debut and he made it all worthwhile by finishing in third place in 13:02.
Ines, meanwhile, was topping the podium for the third time having won in 2017 (14:41) and 2018 (14:15) and this year improved a further three seconds to 14:12. Joining Ines on the podium in the under-17 category were Chester-le-Street's Emily Chong who finished runner-up in 15:13 and Anna Pigford (Houghton) who completed the one-two-three in 15:32. That was an excellent result considering the event is now attracting competitors from the length and breadth of the country.
In the under-15 category English Schools' 1500 metres champion Josh Blevins (North Shields Poly) went one better than last year (13:19) to race home unchallenged to claim a superb victory in 12:54. Gosforth's Ethan Bond joined Josh on the podium to receive the silver medal after recording 13:23.
Birtley's Katie Francis also led the field home to claim top spot in her contest winning in 14:51 which was over a minute improvement on the previous year when she finished in ninth place. North Shields Poly's Holly Waugh received the third-place award finishing with a time of 15:17.
There were second place finishes for both Elswick's Sam Allison and Katy Otterson (North Shields Poly) in their particular events with Sam recording 14:18 and Katy 16:05 while Gosforth's Hannah Wightman finished in third place in her contest in 15:43.
While there were many award winners to celebrate on a day which started at 8am and concluded well after 5pm there were numerous other outstanding runs which augurs well for the future for endurance running in the North East.
AFTER following in Morpeth's footsteps for the past four years Sunderland Harriers eventually toppled the Northumbrians thanks to an all-round team effort to claim the Signals Six-Stage Road Relay Championship.
The event eventually went ahead after long-term negotiations with Sunderland City Council and, while less than half of the teams turned out which faced the starter last year, it didn't take anything away from the Sunderland Harriers' sextet. At the first changeover it was Houghton (Cameron Allan) leading thanks to the second fastest overall time of the day of 10min 47sec. Birtley (Adrian Bailes) were in second place just ahead of Sunderland (Michael Wilson) with Ali Bailey (Gateshead) in fourth place followed by Tyne Bridge (Tom Charlton). Defending champions Morpeth were back in sixth spot after Rowan Bennett's 11:11 stint.
Things changed dramatically on stage two with Morpeth moving quickly through the field to take up pole position thanks to former Sunderland man Joe Armstrong's effort of 10:43 which proved to be the fastest of the day. Sunderland also had a forward jump with Liam Taylor moving the Wearsiders into second place, 10 seconds adrift of the Northumbrians. Morpeth (Tom Innes) still had the upper hand at the half-way point though Sunderland (Michael Barker) had cut the deficit by three seconds. Morpeth's advantage widened further on leg four thanks to Ross Floyd who added another 11 seconds of daylight over the chasing Andrew Powell (Sunderland).
Sunderland moved into the lead for the first time on leg five thanks to an impressive 11:27 by Craig Gunn which left Morpeth (Jordan Scott) 11 seconds in arrears before handing over to Kieran Hedley to contest the glory leg. The assumption around the changeover area was that Hedley's younger legs would reel in Sunderland's Steve Rankin. And that certainly looked a possibility after the pair completed the first of their two circuits round Hetton Country Park. However, it was the Sunderland man who proved the stronger on the second circuit and managed to pull away from his rivals to bring his team home 21 seconds ahead.
While Morpeth may not have been at full strength those that turned out were in determined mood to hang onto the trophy but the all-round team effort by Sunderland proved to be worthy champions on the day.
The battle for the bronze medals could not have been tighter with Tyne Bridge (John Hurse) setting off on the final stage in third place followed by Houghton (Will Bellamy) and Gateshead (Stephen Asquith). However, it was Bellamy who proved the quickest of the trio to bring Houghton home in third place.
LEADING RESULTS: 1 Sunderland 1:08.10; 2 Morpeth 1:08.31; 3 Houghton 1:10.20; 4 Gateshead 1:10.43; 5 Tyne Bridge 1:11.19; 6 Darlington 1:12.11. FASTEST LEGS: 1 J Armstrong (Morp) 10:43; 2 C Allan (Hough) 10:47; 3 A Bailes (Birt) 10:55; 4 M Wilson (Sund) 10:56; 5 T Charlton (TyneBr) 10:57; 6 A Bailey (Gates) 10:59.
MASTERS - MEN 40-50 - SIX STAGE RELAY
This event was held in conjunction with the seniors and once again it was Sunderland Harriers who topped the podium which wasn't surprising as the three fastest athletes on show were all members of the winning team. Chris Jackson immediately had the Wearsiders in pole position on the opening stage with a time of 11min 57sec. From then on they were never headed with Kevin Jeffress adding to their advantage with the fastest time of the day of 11:50 on stage two .Steve McMahon (12:01), Martin Blenkinsop (13:10), Graeme Pullan (13:27) and Steven Gordon (13:07) completed the gold medal winning sextet.
Morpeth once again had to settle for second place with Lee Bennett their quickest (12:25). Jarrow and Hebburn were next to cross the line with Nick Atkinson their best on the day clocking 13:06.
LEADING RESULTS: 1 Sunderland 1:15.32; 2 Morpeth 1:18.27; 3 Jarrow and Hebburn 1:22.09; 4 Sunderland B 1:24.28; 5 Crook 1:28.06; 6 Blyth 1:28.25. FASTEST LEGS: 1 K Jeffress (Sund) 11:50; 2 C Jackson (Sund) 11:57; 3 S McMahon (Sund) 12:01; 4 C Chapman (Crook) 12:02; 5 L Bennett (Morp) 12:25; 6 T Lewis (Morp) 12:36.
SENIOR WOMEN FOUR-STAGE CHAMPIONSHIP
Morpeth may have had to settle for second best in the men's championship but they made up for it by winning an exciting women's four-stage contest though they left it until the final leg before moving into first place.
Gateshead led at the first changeover thanks to Chloe Wellings' 12min 55secs stint. Morpeth (Catriona MacDonald) were second and Houghton (Eva Hardie) were next. Wallsend (Sam Brooks) were back in 10th position but by the end of the second stage they were leading thanks to Danielle Hodgkinson's fastest time of the day of 11:49. Wallsend had a lead of 20 seconds over Gateshead (Beth Curran) with Elswick back in third place a further five seconds adrift. Things changed dramatically on the penultimate stage with Gateshead moving into the lead (Jane Giles) as Wallsend's Julie Williams hung on to second place ahead of Elswick (Susannah Fielding), Houghton (Nicolle Phillips) and Morpeth (Sarah Lawson). At that point Morpeth were over two minutes adrift of the leaders. However, a timely run by Rachel Falloon on the glory leg not only made up the deficit but she brought the team home in gold medal position with the day's second fastest time of the day of 12:45. So, it was a superb triumph with Morpeth winning by the narrow margin of just five seconds as Anna Pigford brought the young Houghton quartet home in second place. Elswick (Amy Hepinstall) finished in third place, Gateshead (Lisa Atkinson) were fourth, Tyne Bridge (Rachel Gill) fourth and Wallsend (Kerry Spencer) sixth.
LEADING RESULTS: 1 Morpeth 56:51; 2 Houghton 56;56; 3 Elswick 58:05; 4 Gateshead 58:45; 5 Tyne Bridge 59:20; 6 Wallsend 59:39. FASTEST LEGS: 1 D Hodgkinson (Walls) 11:49; 2 R Falloon (Morp) 12:45; 3 C Wellings (Gates) 12:55; 4 C MacDonald (Morp) 13:01; 5 E Hardie (Hough) 13:18; 6 A Fuller (Elsw) 14:02
VETERAN WOMEN - 35+ - FOUR-STAGE RELAY
Jarrow and Hebburn (Alexis Dodd) led on the opening stage thanks to the fastest time of the day (13:45). North Shields Poly (Carla Maley) were in second place and Elswick (Catherine Lowes) in third spot. The Poly moved into the lead on stage two thanks to Becky Coleman with evergreen Heather Robinson keeping Jarrow and Hebburn in contention in second place as Hannah Marshall consolidated third place for Elswick. Alison Dixon and Michelle Thomson extended the Poly's lead to the finish where they had three minutes in hand over Jarrow and Hebburn whose quartet was completed by Masha Jobling and Vicki Thompson who took time off from ther golf exploits to complete the quartet.
Elswick, with Amy Brown and Felicity Smith completing their team, finished in third place.
LEADING RESULTS: 1 North Shields Poly 59:39; 2 Jarrow and Hebburn 1:02.46; 3 Elswick 1:03.47; 4 Crook 1:04.29; 5 Sunderland 1:04.56; 6 South Shields 1:05.06. FASTEST LEGS: 1 A Dodd (J&H) 13:45; 2 C Maley (NSP) 14:10; 3 C Lowes (Elsw) 14:17; 4= F Dembele (SthSh) and B Coleman (NSP) 14:35; 6 C Teasdale (Crook) 14:43.
MASTERS - 50+ - FOUR-STAGE RELAY
Greg Penn had North Shields Poly in the lead at the first changeover finishing ahead of Tim Field (Sunderland). However, the Wearsiders were quickly in pole position on stage two thanks to the fastest time of the day (12:06) by Michael Thompson. Sunderland, with Paul Merrison and Darren Fletcher completing their line-up, were never headed after that as North Shields Poly built on Greg Penn's good start to finish in silver medal position thanks to Gary Robson, man-of many talents Vaughan Hemy and James Thompson all putting in good shifts.One of the loudest cheers of the day came when Crook were announced to have finished in third place just eight seconds ahead of Sunderland Strollers and a further 17 seconds ahead of fifth placed Jarrow and Hebburn. Crook's quartet of Jason Bridgwater, Paul Brennan, Geoff Hewitson and Wayne Pearson celebrated with a double helping of cakes which were on offer thanks to Houghton Harriers, the host club.
LEADING RESULTS: 1 Sunderland 52:20; 2 North Shields Poly 54:16; 3 Crook 56:09; 4 Sunderland Strollers 56:17; 5 Jarrow and Hebburn 56:34; 6 Sunderland B 56:46. FASTEST LEGS: M Thompson (Sund) 12:06; 2 G Penn (NSP) 12:45; 3 G Robson (NSP) 12:56; 4 T Field (Sund) 12:57; 5 S Everett (DurC) 13:09; 6 J Duthie (Walls) 13:13.
*Grateful thanks go to Houghton Harriers for once again hosting an excellent NE Counties Signals Road Relay Championships which next year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the event.
THE North Eastern Counties Track and Field Championships returned to Middlesbrough Sports Village for a second time with entries up 10 per cent on the previous year.
This increased participation helped produce eight new championship best performances, one championship equalling performance as well as a guest athlete taking advantage of being allowed to compete by blowing away the senior women's javelin figures.
However, the two-day athletics fixture wasn't all about the record breakers as many who took part were rewarded with new pbs in their chosen events.
While the region's well established clubs were naturally to the fore once again there were numerous podium places for the less glamorous outfits not normally known for track and field prowess.
Gateshead Harriers led the charge showing a return to the glory days and, with around 100 athletes making the trip down the A19, were rewarded with 83 of them mounting the podium, 49 of which received gold medals, 25 picked up a silver medal and 19 received a bronze award.
At the other end of the spectrum Derwentside AC, who had a small sprinkling of athletes, were celebrating big time especially when Isla Fenwick topped the podium on no fewer than three occasions after victories in the under-13 200m, 800m and long jump setting new pbs along the way.
Not to be outdone Liam Townson added to Derwentside's medal tally by picking up a silver in the under-15 high jump.
Billingham Marsh House meanwhile, saw Max Butler finish in second place in the under-15 boys 800m while Rowan Teasdale did likewise in the under-15 1,500m.
Now, back to the record breakers. There was only one senior record to fall and that was in the women's shot put contest which saw Gateshead's Sophie Littlemore not only winning her fifth title in a row- she also has four indoor gold medals to her name - but more importantly erasing the 1977 record of 13:83m set by Cathy Hartnell (Sale Harriers) with a best effort of 13:89m.
Since linking up with the Tyneside outfit back in 2015 Sophie has been a loyal servant for the club and a prolific supporter of the county championships.
Last year Bobbie Griffiths set a new championship record of 37:69m in the under-20 women's javelin competition. However, she delivered a superb 38:88m effort this time round showing that the upward spiral continues. Bobbie, who has a lifetime best of 42:27, is currently ranked seventh in the UK listings.
There were three new championship records set in the under-17 men's section, two on the track and one in the field and also three in the women's age group, two in the field and one on the track.
English Schools' champion Dan Joyce set new 800m figures of 1:55.42 last year but went event better this time round with a new record of 1:53.71, a time which equates to third place in the current UK rankings.
In the 3,000m Wallsend's Sam Charlton broke the record last year with a time of 8:45.93 before going on to claim the National, Inter Counties and English Schools' Cross-Country titles. However, his figures were quickly erased as Middlesbrough Mandale's Archie Lowe produced a blistering performance of 8:39.80 which moves him into sixth position in the Po10 rankings.
While both Dan's and Archie's performances were more than creditable it was the under-17 discus, the final event on the opening day, that had the sprinkling of spectators left in the stadium spellbound.
North Shields Poly's James Wordsworth set about chasing Morpeth's Ruaridh Lang's two-year record of 45:65m and he did it magnificently by producing a new life-time best of 49:75m, a distance which slots him into second place in this year's UK rankings.
The under-17 women's 300m record had stood since 1991 but, in the final event of the championship it was bettered by Durham City's Tia Anderson (pictured above, photo credit ROSS PICHLER).
Teesside's Alison Curbishley, who went on to achieve numerous international honours, ran 40.15s over a quarter-of-a-century ago but Tia managed to dip under that recording a superb new pb of 40.10s which sees her move up into seventh place in the UK listings Another international's record also fell by the wayside in the under-17 pole vault. In 2007 Gateshead's Sally Scott, who went on to claim Commonwealth bronze in Hampden Park, Glasgow in 2014, cleared 3:30m but that height was bettered by Birtley's Molly Elliott who soared over 3:50m, a height slightly down on her pb but nevertheless consolidates third place in this years rankings.
The final record to fall came in the under-17 women's hammer competition which saw Morpeth's Jessica Gardiner throw a huge new pb of 46:17m which erased Middlesbrough Mandale's Saada Juma 2018 figures of 44:46m from the record books.
Gateshead's Lucy Giles came agonisingly close to adding her name to the record breakers. However the under-17 athlete, despite having a superior pb, could only equal the current record of 12:07m.
In the senior women's javelin competition Trafford's Kaylie Van Loo was allowed to compete as a guest and produced a best throw of 44:66m which would have been a new record if she had North East qualifications. However, West Suffolk's Sarah Dunkley's 2008 figures of 42:27m still stands.
Despite the increased turnout there were still a number of events which attracted just one or two competitors which, while the championships were a success, they could be much better if more and more would turn their attention to track and field competition during the summer months.
A special pat on the back goes to all competitors and spectators together with the volunteer technical officials who gave their time over two long days. Also thanks to Start Fitness for their generous support and to Meeting Manager Keith Willshire who worked tirelessly before and during, making sure the championships ran smoothly.
IT WASN'T just the cross-country specialists who did the North East proud at the weekend with two individual gold medals, one silver and one bronze to show for their efforts but the indoor enthusiasts did even better picking up two gold medals, one silver and two bronze at the England Athletics Under-15/17/20 Indoor Championships at the EIS Arena, Sheffield.
And, but for an unfortunate disqualification, the medal haul in South Yorkshire could well have been even better.
Houghton's Henry Johnson by-passed the cross-country at Harwood House in favour of tackling the under-17 1500 metres on the boards and it proved a winning move as he stormed home to claim the gold medal in a UK top-ranking time of 3min 58.57sec. Middlesbrough Mandale's Daniel Payne also lined up and finished just outside the medals in fourth place in a time of 4:17.77.
Gateshead;s Jazmine Moss also tops the UK rankings after a winning pb performance in the under-20 women's 200 metres. After winning her heat in 24.95s and semi-final (24.52) Jazmine rose to the occasion in the final with a superb victory in 24.06s.
Fellow Gateshead athlete Jack Halpin went into the under-17 shot put competition topping the UK rankings but he was surprisingly upstaged on this occasion and pushed into second place by Chris Dyrmishi with the Rugby and Northampton athlete winning the contest by a matter of just four centimetres! Jack, who has a pb of 15:66 metres this season, produced a best-on-the-day 14:55m with Chris topping the podium with 14:59m. North Shields Poly's James Wordsworth was also slightly down on his best in finishing in fourth place with 13:86m.
The region was well represented in the final of the under-17 women's 60 metres with Gateshead duo Joy Eze and Megan Costello and Middlesbrough's Afoma Ofor going through from a series of heats and semi-finals. However, it was only Megan who managed to bring home a medal after producing a lifetime best of 7:78s to claim an excellent third place. While it was celebrations all round for Megan it was a bitter disappointment for her team-mate who came out of the blocks a fraction early and was immediately disqualified. Afoma, meanwhile, finished in seventh place in 7.95s after recording a pb of 7.87s in the semi-final. Such is the strength of the age group North Shields Poly had two girls making it through to the semi-finals. Jessica Lively recorded 8:10s in the heats and 8:12s in the semis while team-mate Lucy Errington clocked a pb of 8:10s in the heats before missing out on a place in final with a 8:17s recording in the semi-final. On the second day of the championships, Megan lined up in the 200m and just missed out on a place in the final after recording a season's best of 25.97s in the semi-final.
The final medalist to make it onto the podium was the newly-crowned North East under-17 pole vault champion Molly Elliott. Seven days before heading for Sheffield Molly thrilled the spectators at the county championships at Gateshead where she set a new record of 3:60m. However, she went even higher by adding another five centimetres to that height to take a magnificent bronze medal.
There were numerous other excellent performances from those who made the trip which reflects the hard work the athletes put in together with their coaches.
In the under-17 women's 60 metres hurdles four NE athletes were amongst the strong entry which required five heats. All of the quartet made it through to the semi-finals with Gateshead's Phillippa Ellis the fastest (8.91s) which just missed a place in the final line-up. Darlington's Charlotte Rutter recorded 9.09s after running marginally quicker in the heats (9.07s). Tynedale's Kate Smith ran 9.24s in the semi-final after recording 9.04s in the heats and it was similar story for Morpeth's Amy Lott who ran 9.22s in the heats and 9.25s in the semi final.
Gateshead;s Darcy Garbutt contested both the under-15 girls 60m and 200m and though she didn't make the final of either she recorded indoor pbs of 7.94s and 26.66s respectively. Jarrow and Hebburn's Nicola Caygill made it through to the semi-final of the under-20 60m where she ran 7.91s after running slightly quicker in the heats (7.89s) while sister Rachel missed out on a place in semi-final despite recording a pb of 8.14s in the heats.
In the middle distance events, Durham City's Cameron Thomas finished ninth in the final of the under-20 men's 1500m posting a new pb of 4:09.82 while Middlesbrough duo Sam Tyers (1:56.26) and Josh Allen (2:09.16) failed in their bid for a place on the podium.
Other field event placings of note included a fourth-place finish for Morpeth's Andrew Knight in the under-20 shot put (15:89m); Gateshead's new England junior international Amelia Bateman cleared 1:70m for fifth place in the under-20 women's high jump while team-mate Lucy Giles finished sixth in the under-17 women's shot put (12:05m)
COMPETITORS were soaring to new heights at the North Eastern Counties Indoor Championships at Gateshead College Academy for Sport.
That certainly was the case for pole vaulters Molly Elliott and Isabelle Potier Godinho and high jumper Amelia Bateman, who were a trio of athletes who set new Championship Best Performances on an excellent days competition which kept the enthusiastic audience entertained throughout the opening day of the championships which saw field eventers take over the riverside venue..
On the day there were six new records set with shot putters Sophie Littlemore and Grace McDonald and long jumper Joshua Chrisp adding their performances to the record book.
The pole vault competition commenced at 10am and didn't finish until 1pm as the bar kept rising as the athletes responded to the huge support from the college's balcony. And it was Molly who claimed the title of being best vaulter of the day despite competing in the under-17 age group while Isabelle lined up in the older under-20 category.
The Birtley athlete went into the competition after a confident-boost performance in Sweden late last month where she improved her pb to 3:52 metres so the target to better the old championship 2007 figures of 3:50m set by Gateshead's Sally Scott, who later went on to win Commonwealth Games bronze at Hampden Park in 2014, was certainly within her reach.
And that target was certainly achieved for not only did she go on to break the record but, in adding another 10 cenitmetres to Scott's record, she consolidated second place in the UK rankings in a big way. Despite the long competition Molly was quickly back in action this time on the long jump runway where she came out on top once again with a winning jump of 5:36m. Isabelle Potier Godinho (Gateshead), a training partner of Molly under the guidance of Chris Boundy, also had to vault higher than ever before in an attempt to erase the 2015 under-20 women's figures of 3:00m set by Kim Weatherburn (South Shields). And it was another delighted vaulter who topped the podium after a clearance of 3:10m which, not only was a new pb but also added 10 centimetres to the existing record.
Proudly wearing her newly-acquired England vest after representing her country in a junior international in Hustopece, Czech Republic, where she set a new indoor pb of 1:72m, Amelia Bateman set her sights on Emma Morris (South Shields) championship record of 1:70m. And the Gateshead athlete duly obliged as, in the true Sergey Bubka tradition, added one centimetre to Morris's figures.
Earlier this month Joshua Crisp lifted the North of England under-13 long jump gold medal after setting a new pb of 4:75m. and he continued that run of excellent form by soaring out to a record-breaking distance of 5:06m, a distance which sees him heading the UK rankings and the only boy to in the country to better the five metre mark. The Blyth athlete's new NE record erases the 2010 4:77m figures of Markhim Lonsdale who is now one of the countries leading 800 metres athletes.
It was now the turn of shot putters Sophie Littlemore (Gateshead) and Grace McDonald of Middlesbrough AC (Mandale) to take centre stage in the shot put circle.
Sophie, competing in the senior category, was out to regain her title having missed out on the championships last year as it clashed with the British Championships.
And it was a smiling athlete who topped the podium after claiming the gold medal by adding over a metre to her old figures with a put of 13:65m which was just four centimetres shy of her life-time best. Sophie's victory is her fifth NE Indoor title which adds to her collection of four outdoor gold medals.
Meanwhile, in the under-15 girls shot put competition, Middlesbrough's Grace McDonald produced a best effort of 11:03m to better the 2003 figures of 10:85m set by Birtley's Katy Wilson.
Grace has a pb of 11:48m and is currently ranked sixth in the UK.
While it is always nice to report on the record breakers there were many other notable performances over the two days despite the shortage of senior competitors. There was a good competition though in the senior men's shot put where former Gateshead man Craig Sturrock came out on top pushing Morpeth's recently-crowned Scottish Indoor champion Craig Charlton into second place.
Craig admitted he's lost count of the number of times he has lifted both the indoor and outdoor titles but was a happy man to win with a distance of 15:28m in his first competition of the year.
Other senior men winners were: Pawel Grzaslewicz (Darlington) who won the high jump with a 1:80m clearance; Jarrow and Hebburn's James Andrew claimed the long Jump title (6:22m) while another former Gateshead athlete, Scott Hall, had the spectators behind him as he claimed the triple jump gold medal with a distance of 15:45m.
In the senior women's section, Birtley's Rebecca Pottinger won the high jump (1:55m); Clare McGrath (Low Fell) put a mark in the sand at 3:08m to win the long jump and Kara Gibbs (Jarrow and Hebburn) cleared 2:55m to win the pole vault.
Under-20 men champions were Middlesbrough Mandale's Steven Wheater who just failed to claim the championship record of 1:98m but won the gold medal with a clearance of 1:95m; Gateshead's Joe Halpin won gold in the long jump (6:73m) and silver in the high jump (1:75m); Tynedale's Ellis Leonard won the triple jump (11:96m) and former Chester-le-Street athlete David Todd won the shot put contest with a best of 13:92m In the under-20 women's section there was an exciting long jump competition with victory going to Gateshead's Emma Scarborough with a best of 5:06m which was just three centimetres further than Tynedale's Louise Smith who claimed the silver medal. Blaydon's Rebecca Thorpe won the triple jump (11:06m) while Kate Carmichael claimed the gold medal in the shot with a put of 9:82m.
There was a double victory for Ethan Stephenson in the under-17 men's section, the Morpeth athlete topping the podium in both the high jump (1:75m) and the triple jump (12:37m) while Curtis Bingham (Jarrow and Hebburn) won the pole vault with a 2:70m clearance and Jack Halpin (Gateshead) won the shot with 14:68m. In the same age group, Jarrow and Hebburn's Tom Paterson won the long jump (5:64m) and finished runner-up in both the high jump (1:60m) and triple jump (11:30m).
The under-17 women's age group saw victories for Blyth's Ellie Morris in the high jump (1:61m); Gateshead's Lucy Giles in the shot put (11:60m) and North Shields Poly's Lucy Errington in the triple jump with a best of 10:49m.
In the under-15 boys section Scott Temple (Hartlepool YAC) won both the long jump and triple jump in 4:60m and 9:20m respectively while Jarrow and Hebburn's Andrew Caygill won the pole vault (1:50) and Gateshead's Vinny Baker claimed the shot put gold medal with a put of 11:62m.
North Shields Poly's Anna Fitzpatrick and Gateshead's Darcy Garbutt were in fine form in the under-15 girls section winning the high jump and long jump contests in 1:53m and 4:80m respectively. In the under-13 boys age group Tynedale's Oliver Hunter claimed victory in the high jump and shot put contests with figures of 1:42m and 7:35m respectively while Wallsend's Luke Pilcher received three silver medals after finishing runner-up in the high jump (1:27m), long jump (4:47m) and the shot put (6:84m).
IT WAS always going to be a tough act to follow for the sprinters and hurdlers after six new championship best performances were set on the opening day of the championships.
And so it proved despite many athletes going extremely close to re-writing the record books.
There was one record however to celebrate and that came in the under-17 women's 60m hurdles which didn't come as too much of a surprise as all five finalists ran quicker than ever before.
Victory went to Gateshead's Philippa Ellis in her favoured event after finishing in silver medal position in the shot put and long jump competitions the previous day.
Philippa's winning time of 8.78s moves her up into seventh place in the UK rankings while Darlington's Charlotte Rutter, who finished runner-up in 9.05s and was also busy 24 hours earlier by finishing second in the high jump and third in the long jump, is now ranked 16th.
The bronze medal went to Morpeth's Amy Lott who recorded 9.08s and is now also ranked inside the top 20. The under-17 women's category was the strongest representation of the championships with four heats being required for the 60m with athletes progressing to the semi-final and final. Despite having to face the starter on three occasions it didn't stop all of the medalists posting new pbs.
Victory went to Gateshead's Megan Costello in 7.80s - the record stands at 7.75s - with Middlesbrough Mandale's Afomo Ofor finishing second in 7.88s and Blyth's Heather Macdonald completing the one-two-three in 8.07s.
Gateshead were exceptionally strong in the under-17 men's 60m where five of the six finalists lined up from the Tyneside club. It was no surprise when Gateshead made a clean-sweep of the medals with, once again, the athletes all setting new life-time bests.
Victory went to Lewis Cant (7.19s), Josh McKeown finished runner-up in 7.24s with Daniel Lennie crossing the line in third place in 7.32s. Matthew Lawson, also of Gateshead, finished a close-up fourth in 7.33s.
In the 60m hurdles Blaydon's Aaron Lillistone topped the podium with a winning time of 8.96s.
Quickest athlete on view overall was Jarrow and Hebburn's Josh Errington who won the under-20 men's 60m in 7.03s which equalled his pb and was just three-hundredths-of-a-second away from the championship record.
Gateshead duo Kyle Walton and Gregory Abib Bukasa filled the minor placings in 7.13s and 7.27s respectively.
In the under-20 60m hurdles, victory went to Gateshead's Oliver Lewis in a new pb of 8.92s though he was upstaged by Daniel Njai who was competing in the Masters Championship and ran 8.78s.
The under-20 women's section saw wins for Stella Rene Perrett (North Shields Poly) in the 60m with a time of 8.03s and for Middlesbrough Mandale's Amy Carter in the 60m hurdles in a time of 9.33s.
Despite having five of the six finalists in the under-15 boys 60m Gateshead couldn't quite match the performance of their under-17 team-mates and had to settle for just the gold and silver medals. Blyth's Stewart Bestford, having his first-ever championship race indoors, managed to spoil the party by finishing in third place in 7.82s behind Joel Brown-King (7.70s) and Ulrich Lawson (7.77s).
Blaydon's Joseph Clark was also having his first indoor race and he came out victorious in the 60m hurdles with a winning time of 10.37s.
There were new pbs for the medalists in the under-15 girls 60m with Gateshead's Darcey Garbutt lifting the title in 7.95s to move into the top 10 in the UK rankings.
Middlesbrough's Martha Wyatt received the silver medal (8.12s) with Cody Hall (Shildon) capping a fine performance in third place in 8.20s.
In the 60m hurdles Darcey just failed to make it a winning double as she finished runner-up (9.77s) behind New Marske's Ebony Chrystal-Murtha who recorded 9.62s. Darcey's Gateshead team-mate Eve Harrison finished in third place in 10.17s.
It was pbs all round in the under-13 boys 60m though gold medallist Finlay Maynard (Middlesbrough) was having his first-ever outing indoors. The Teessider came out on top with a winning time of 8.56s with Wallsend's Reuben Moss finishing in second place in 8.64s and Blyth's Alex Walker completing the one-two-three in 8.99s. The 60m hurdles was won by Bailey Peacock in 12.58s.
Just three-hundredths-of-a-second separated the medallists in the under-13 girls 60m. All three girls were rewarded with new pbs with victory going to Gateshead's Cecile Nelson in 8.64s. Maya Turner of Blyth finished second in 8.66s with North Shields Poly's Madie Barbour third in 8.67s.
Blyth's Hannah Wilson recorded a pb of 10.16s to win the 60m hurdles as Hannah Lott (Morpeth) finished second (10.23s) with Blaydon's Grace Kyle completing the medallists in 10.65s.
There were only three senior men and three senior women contesting their respective 60m race. Julian Osei-Bonsu won the men's championship in 7.31s with Gateshead team-mate Justin Cooper second in 7.58s and North Shields Poly's James Mole third in 7.90s.
The women's event was won by Laura Mole (North Shields Poly) in 8.33s with Katie Tavers (Gateshead) finishing second in 8.39s and Emily Stewart (Gateshead) receiving the bronze award in recording 9.27s.
Thanks go to all the athletes who took part without them we wouldn't have a championships while spectators played a huge part in making the two-day meeting a success by cheering on every competitor.
Also a huge thanks to the organisers and officials on the day who made sure everything ran smoothly and to time. We now look forward to the NE Indoor Pentathlon at the same venue on Sunday, March 17.
DESPITE travel difficulties the region still managed to line up a huge turnout at the Northern Athletics Under-15 and Under-13 Indoor Championships at the EIS Arena, Sheffield.
The North East's only gold medallist was Blyth's Joshua Chrisp who came out on top in the under-13 boys long jump with a new pb clearance of 4:75 metres.
the event was a huge triumph for the region with Rhys Brunton (North Shields Poly) - Rhys had competed in the Northern Inter-Counties cross-country championships at South Shields on a snow-bound course the previous day - joining him on the podium in second place (4:29m) and Wallsend's Luke Pichler finishing in sixth place with a best effort of 3:99m.
After completing his long jump competition, Joshua made a quick getaway to contest the final of the 60m where, once again, also headed Rhys with the Blyth athlete finishing runner-up (8.23s) behind Rotherham's Adam Javed who set a new championship record of 8.01s. Rhys, meanwhile just missed out on a medal finishing in fourth place in 8.62s after recording 8.46s in the earlier rounds.
The region had three other competitors in the event with Hartlepool Youth's Ryan Hodge (8.97s) and Blyth's Joseph Anderson (9.23s) and Chester-le-Street's Fenic Couzens (9.49s) all going out in the heats. Luke Pichler, meanwhile, did make it onto the podium after finishing in bronze medal position in the shot put contest with a new pb of 6:58m while Rhys was also in pb form when recording 27.56 in the heats of the 200m.
He couldn't quite match that performance in the final however, but still managed to make it onto the podium in third place after clocking 28.51s. Houghton's Joseph McGinley also made it through to the final and crossed the line in fifth place in 30.22s after recording a pb of 29.54 in the heats. Joseph also finished in fifth place in the final of the 800m setting his second pb of the day with 2: 35.37.
Luke Pichler also set a new pb in the heats with 29.76s.
In the under-15 boys section Gateshead's Joel Brown King finished runner-up in the 60m with a new pb of 7.76s while team-mate Jay Rawson finished third in the high jump, also with a new pb of 1:60m, Jay also finished in fifth place in the 60m hurdles final in a time of 10.16s. Gateshead team-mate Joshua Hickson with a pb of 8.08s and Fergus Green (Hartlepool Youth) who recorded 8.04s in the heats, both missed out on a place in the final. In the 800m North Shields Poly's Josh Blevins showed no signs of weariness after his winning run in the cross-country the previous day by finishing in second place with a new pb of 2:07.70, an improvement of nearly two seconds on his previous best. In the 200m Fergus Green just missed out on a place once again after setting a new pb of 25.59s in the heats.
The region only managed two medals amongst the girls events on a packed programme. It came courtesy of Middlesbrough Mandale's Grace McDonald who finished in third place in the under-15 girls shot put contest with a put of 10.38m and Blyth's Madeleine Liddell in the under-13 girls 200m.
Despite the scarcity of awards there were still many promising performances among the girls. Darlington's Darcey Garbutt made it to the final of the 60m hurdles where she finished eighth position in 10.00s after recording 9.85s in the heats. Blyth's Millie Train going out in the heats despite setting a new pb of 10.59s.
Darcey also made it through to the final of the 60m where she produced a pb of 8.09s for sixth place.
The event had numerous other entrants from the region with North Shields Poly's Joanna Irving setting a new pb of 8.33s in the semi-finals while team-mate Lily Lee recorded 8.75s in the heats. Allerton Juniors' Hayley Calvert also competed recording 9.73s in the heats. In the 200m Gateshead's Charlotte Graham set a new pb of 29.57s after making it through to the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Madeleine Liddell was in the form of her life over one circuit of the arena. In the under-13 girls 200m heats she produced a pb of 29.78s, then ran quicker in the semi-finals with 28.75s and then produced a superb pb of 28.51s in the final to make it onto the podium.
North Shields Poly's Maddie Barbour also made it through to the final eventually finishing sixth in 29.91 after recording a pb of 28.98s in the semi-final. Blyth's Sadie Parker also made it through to the semi-finals recording a new pb of 29.95.
In the 60m, Blyth's Maya Turner and Hannah Wilson both made it through to the final with Maya finishing in fourth place (8.69s) and Hannah in sixth with a new pb of 8.82s. Chester-le-Street's Lily White and North shields Poly's Maddie Barbour both made it to the semi-finals recording 8.97s and 9.06s respectively.
Despite a new pb of 4:46m, Hannah Wilson just missed out on a medal by one centimetre in the long jump eventually finishing in fourth place.
Finally, Chester-le-Street's Ella Jones produced a season's best of 2:41.35 in the 800m. For all those who competed in Sheffield, medallists or not, it was a great experience for the future for it was extremely pleasing to see so many athletes from different North East clubs making the trip.
While not a NE athlete a comment would not go amiss to mention the performance of Sale's Success Eduan in the under-15 girls 200m.
Not only did the youngster smash the championship record with a time of 24,38s but it also broke the UK all-time 200m record by four tenths of a second.
A truly remarkable performance!
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GATESHEAD'S Jazmine Moss led the region's medal charge at the Scottish Under-13/15 and Under-20 Indoor Championships at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow.
The Tynesider opened her 2019 account with a superb 200 metres victory in the under-20 section posting a winning time of 24.74secs on the opening day of the two-day championships.
Twenty-four hours later Jazmine was in action once again this time over the minimum distance of 60m. After progressing through the heats and semi-final with an identical time of 7.80s, Jazmine produced a pb of 7.79s to go agonisingly close to a second championship gold medal only to be pushed into silver medal position by another England raider, Sophie Walton of Horwich AC, who posted a winning time of 7.61s.
Middlesbrough Mandale's Amy Carter was also denied the gold medal in the under-20 60m hurdles. The Teessider was joint fastest qualifier for the final after recording 8.95s before lining up for the final where she was pipped for a top podium place by Aberdeen's Jane Davidson with both athletes clocking the identical time of 8.79s with the electronic timing system giving the verdict to the Scottish athlete.
The final NE athlete to make it onto the podium was Durham City's Travis Anderson who contested the under-15 boys 300m. Travis qualified comfortably for the final after recording 41.33s in the heats before stopping the watch at 40.94s for a superb third place in the final. Morpeth's Hannah Lott came close to joining the region's medallists after finishing in fourth place in the under-13 girls 60m hurdles.
The Northumbrian won her heat in 10.31s and set a new pb of 10.09s for fourth place in the final Another Morpeth athlete, Alice Geoghegan, contested the under-15 girls 60m hurdles and again managed to make it through the early rounds to reach the final where she finished in fifth place in 9.67s. In the under-15 girls 200m championship, Gateshead's Evie Harrison made it through to the final after recording 27.14s in the heats. However, the teenager had to settle for a sixth place finish in the final after clocking 27.44s. In the same event Shildon's Cody Hall missed out by one place to line up in the final after running 27.39 in the heats.
Morpeth's Mia Rose Belton also just missed out on a spot in the final of the under-15 girls 60m after recording 8.39s and 8.43s in the heats and semi-finals respectively.
DESPITE a huge lack of facilities in the North East many of the region's athletes managed to out-perform their rivals when competing in the Start Fitness-supported Northern Athletics Indoor Championships in Sheffield.
Around 80 competitors representing around a dozen North Eastern Counties clubs made the trip to Yorkshire to contest the two-day joint senior, junior and under-17 championships with many returning home after scaling the podium.
Leading the way in the senior women's section was Wallsend's Danielle Hodgkinson who switched to the boards after early winter success over the country by posting the fastest times in the Druridge Bay, Aykley Heads and Gosforth North Eastern Harrier League fixtures. The Army personel based in Leeming, missed the county cross-cross-country championships as she was visiting friends in Australia where her training targeted racing indoors after an absence of three years. Hodgkinson showed she was in good form when, in the first day's competition, won the 1,500 metres in 4min 25.35sec which was an indoor pb but well outside her best of 4:19.34 outdoors. The Paddy-Dinsmore advised athlete then returned to the EIS arena 24 hours later and certainly showed no signs of weariness as she stormed to an impressive 3,000m victory in 9:32.41 which was only one of a sprinkling of championship records to fall as she knocked over a second off the 2015 figures of Sale's Jenna Hill.
Still with the senior women, Gateshead's Sydney Robertson claimed the pole vault gold medal after a clearance of 2:90 metres while the Tynesider's team-mate Sophie Littlemore was extremely unlucky not to join her on the top of the podium.
Twelve months ago Littlemore finished in second place (13:48m) in the shot competition and it was the same position she finished with this time round despite adding a further 10 centimetres to her 2018 figures. However, only one centimetre was the difference on this occasion as victory went to Sale's Jessica Taylor-Jemmett with a putt of 13:59m.
Next up onto the podium was another Gateshead athlete, Emily Gargan who produced life-time best figures of 5:87m in the long jump which again earned a silver medal. There were three gold medals to celebrate in the senior men's category which came via Jason Nicholson (Gateshead), Crook's Markim Lonsdale and Blyth's Peter Skirrow. Nicholson, last year's junior indoor champion, showed he is equal to competition over the higher barriers by claiming the 60m hurdles title while Skirrow managed to leap out to a new pb of 7:19m in the long jump which was two centimetres further than Gateshead's Daniel Walsh who claimed the silver medal. Lonsdale, like Nicholson, a GB junior international, was having his first indoor competition for two years - he won the under-20 gold medal on the same track in 2017 - but was up to the task by claiming the 800m title in 1:54.78.
Gateshead's Harrison Whitfield was the region's lone gold medalist in the under-20 men's division after setting a new pb of 13:92m to win the triple jump. Durham City's Luke Pickering finished in second place in the 3,000m while there were bronze medals for Gateshead duo Declan Murray and Kyle Walton. Murray equalled his pb of 3:80m in the pole vault while Walton ran faster than ever before to finish third in the 60m in 7:09s, just edging out Jarrow and Hebburn's Josh Errington who finished fourth in an identical time!
New Marske's Elicia Smith lined up for her first-ever 3,000m and she made it a winning debut. Competing in the under-20 women's section, Smith had over a two-second cushion at the finish to take the title in 10:35.18. There were silver medals for Amy Carter (Middlesbrough Mandale) and Gateshead's Amelia Bateman.
Carter finished runner-up in the 60m hurdles in 8.96s while Bateman, who also finished second last year in the high jump with a clearance of 1:71m, picked up the silver medal after a best height of 1:68m.
Photo credits to: Steve Bateson
Three of the region's athletes broke in the New Year in fine style with the trio making it onto the podium at the England Indoor Combined Events Championships in Sheffield.
Pride of place though goes to Gateshead's Lucy Turner who finished in third place in the Senior Women's Pentathlon, a result which has secured her a GB vest for the forthcoming Indoor Combined Events International in Cardiff at the end of the month.
However, the Stan Stanislaus-coached athlete was promoted into silver medal position in the England Championships as victory went to Ireland's Kate O'Connor who accumulated 4,174 points. Yeovil's Ellen Barbour was subsequently awarded the gold medal after totalling 4,020 points with Turner agonisingly just nine points further adrift in third place.
On her way to making it onto the podium, Turner produced a new shot put pb of 11:87m while in the 60m hurdles equalled her life-time best of 8.65s.
Turner, a student at Northumbria University, was joined in the competition by two fellow students with Laura Voss finishing fifth with 3,908 points while Amy Richards finished 15th on 3,128 points.
There were mixed fortunes for Turner's Gateshead team-mate Oliver Herring, also coached by Stanislaus, who competed in the under-20 pentathlon.
Herring finished in 16th place overall despite disappointingly no-heighting in the pole vault. However, after amassing 4,126 points from the other disciplines, which was helped by a new 1,000m pb of 2:55.61, it was good enough to claim the North of England gold medal which was held in conjunction with the national championships.
Finally, Blaydon's Liam Reveley had a superb weekend after finishing 11th in the senior men's heptathlon after totalling 5,090 points.
The Liane Brown-advised athlete set a new life-time best of 12:50m in the shot put; did likewise in the 1,000m after recording 2:49.48 and equalled his pb in the pole vault with a clearance of 4:10m.
Reveley's efforts were rewarded with a third-place finish in the North of England section.
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.