Off to a flier in Grand Prix

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The opening fixture of the Start Fitness North Eastern Grand Prix series, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium, attracted a record entry and some Morpeth Harrier athletes featured prominently among the night’s best performers, writes George Patterson.

None more so than double North Eastern Champion Ryan Green, who certainly began his track season with a flourish, by being the fastest U17 Man in the graded 1500m, posting a superb new personal best time of 4m02.2s, which also put him at the top of the outdoor UK Rankings for the 2014 campaign in his particular age group.

Finishing not far behind Ryan in the U17 Men’s section was his club colleague Nathan Cox, who also began his season well by posting new figures of 4m08.2s.

Fifth fastest in the U17 1500m was Adam Weightman, who can feel well pleased with his 4m22,2s.

Other Morpeth Harrier performances in the U17 Men’s 1500m included Jarod Lewis’ seventh in 4m32.0s, just outside his personal best (pb).

New figures were set by Sam Williams, who finished 10th fastest in 4m53.2s.

Elsewhere in the U17 Men’s age group performances, Euan Jones won the long jump with a best of 4.70m and Alex Nesbitt was seventh fastest in the 150m with 18.3s.

In the Junior Men’s events, Jack Hepple was very much the star Morpeth Harriers performer.

Hepple certainly gave a good account of himself, when he took the feature 150m event in 16.4s, equalling his best figures for the distance.

Other Morpeth Harriers Junior Men’s performances of note came in the graded 1500m, where Phillip Winkler was fifth fastest in 4m15.1s, Elliot Kelly was sixth fastest in 4m15.7s and Joe Elder was ninth fastest in 4m31.4s.

For Kelly and Elder it was pb performances and Elder’s effort saw him take the third race of three outright, which will certainly serve as an early-season confidence booster.

There were some excellent pb performances from Morpeth Harriers U15 Boys’ section.

Kieran Hedley set new figures of 4m32.6s in the 1500m, when finishing third. His Morpeth Harriers clubmate Joe Dowd finished fifth, clocking 4m58.8s.

The club had no fewer than four pb achievements in the U15 Boys 100m.

Sean O’Hara took the victory honours, equalling his best figures of 12.0s.

Not far behind him in second place was his Morpeth Harriers clubmate Jake Jardin, with an excellent 12.1s.

Declan Stoker took fifth place in 12.4s and Mitchell Green’s excellent 12.7s for sixth fastest saw him take a whole two seconds off his previous best.

Other excellent U15 Boys’ 100m performers were Jack Balmbro (seventh) 13.1s, Alex Dawson (equal eighth) 13.2s and Joe Dowd (equal eighth) 13.2s.

Morpeth Harriers two Senior Men in action on the night were David Storey and Lewis Timmins.

Storey was fourth fastest in the 150m with 17.5s and Timmins was fourth fastest in the 1500m with 4m01.7s.

Completing the male action of the night was Joshua Williams, who finished seventh in the U13 Boys’ 1500m in 6m23.7s, his first ever track event in a Morpeth Harriers vest.

One of the best Morpeth Harriers Female performers on the night was Megan Deakin, who won the U17 Women’s 300m in a close sprint to the line in 44.3s.

Deakin also had success in the 150m when she finished fifth in 20.8s.

In the 300m, club mate Lauren Eadington finished fifth in 46.8s.

Amber Cormack finished third in the U17 Women’s 1500m in 5m12.9s and, in her first U17 Women’s 1500m, clubmate Abby Sheldon performed well to finish fifth in a new pb of 5m17.1s.

Morpeth Harriers lone Senior Woman on the night was Eva De Boer, who crowned her club debut by finishing second in the 150m in 20.9s and third in the 300m in 45.9s.

Hannah Sheerin finished as second Junior Woman to Birtley’s Lydia Turner in the 1500m in 5m17.8s.

In her first ever track meet in a Morpeth vest, U13 Girls’ starlet Holly Peck finished fourth in the long jump (2.59m), sixth in the 1500m (5m38.1s) and eighth in the 100m (15.9s).

Morpeth Harriers’ lone performer in the U15 Girls’ events, Hannah Brown, finished fourth in the 75m hurdles in 13.5s.

Although just a mere second adrift of his lifetime pb, which was set when he won the North of England Championship in 2011, Morpeth Harrier Peter Newton was still very much a clear winner of the North East Counties 10,000metres Track Championship, held before events got under way at the opening of the Grand Prix meeting.

Newton, who also won the title in 2012, grinded out the 25-lap contest on his own and finished in a time of 30m10.3s, which was a good three minutes clear of his closest rival Chris Smith of Wallsend (33m20.4s).

Third place went to Jarrow’s Brendan McMillan, who clocked 33m27.6s.

While winning the North East Championship for the second time, Newton would certainly have been happier if he had made some time improvement. Had he had closer opposition, he may well have achieved better.

Nevertheless, this performance still ranks him as fifth Senior Man in the UK rankings for the distance this year and eighth overall, including the three U23 athletes in front of him.

A number of league records were broken in the opening fixture of the North East Development League Division One campaign, held in rain-soaked Hexham, on Sunday.

Unfortunately, last year’s winners could only finish fourth behind emphatic victors Blaydon Harriers. Despite stringent efforts by the team managers, certain no-shows sadly let them down.

Nevertheless, the club can feel pleased with some of their performers, notably Sean O’Hara and Ryan Green, who pulled off double victories.

In O’Hara’s case, he also broke two league records when winning the 100m in 11.9s and the 200m in 24.3s, both personal bests.

O’Hara’s A string performances were well backed up by the B string efforts of Wilf Campbell (second in 14.6s in the 100m) and Declan Stoker’s victory in the 200m in 26.1s.

Green’s two victories came in the U17 Men’s 400m (52.4s), a new league record, and the 800m (2m00.4s). He was backed up well in the B races, with Jacob Hopkins claiming wins in 57.4s and 2m07.6s.

Ruaridh Lang was certainly a star for Morpeth Harriers in the U15 Boys’ Field events, winning the Javelin (20.40m), discus (22.07m), and shot (8.30m).

His efforts were supported in the B strings by Wilf Campbell (15.25m), Michael Cryer (14.23m), and Joe Dowd (5.76m) respectively.

Another double win in the U15 Boys’ events came in the 800m, where Will Kelly won the A race in a new league record of 40.5s and Joe Dowd’s the B string in 44.1s.

The first three across the line in the U17 Men’s 1500m were all inside the league record. Two of those three were Morpeth Harriers.

Adam Weightman was second, making him second A string in 4m23.5s, and third was Jarod Lewis, who took the B race in 4m28.0s.

Toby Parks won the U17 Men’s discus, with a best of 27.56m. Parks was also an excellent second in the shot with 9.00m, and Jarod Lewis putted 8.43m to take the B event.

Morpeth Harriers’ small band of U13 Boys did their best to weigh in with some points.

The best effort in this age group came in the long jump, with Ross Charlton third in the A string (3.85m), and Thomas Cunningham third B string with 3.19m.

Megan Deakin set a new record of 43.5s when winning the U17 Women’s 300m. Amber Cormack was second B string with 47.2s, also finishing second in the A string 800m in 2m28.9s.

Deakin finished second in the A string 200m in 27.6s.

Abby Sheldon and Louise Brett enjoyed victories in the 1500m (5.23.7s and 51.7s respectively).

In the U15 Girls’ events, the sole A string winner was Harriet Priest, who cleared 1.30m in the high jump.

Morpeth secured two B string victories, courtesy of Hannah Brown, who clocked 14.0s in the 100m, and 14.0s in the 75m hurdles.

Nadine Arkle was very industrious in the U13 events, having two seconds, in the 100m (14.9s) and 200m (30.7s).