Leonard wins selection for the GB U18 Euro squad in Hungary

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In last week’s athletics coverage, we reported on Morpeth Harrier Rory Leonard unfortunately missing out on a medal possibility after being tripped in the 3000m at the combined Under 20/Under 23 England Athletics Track and Field Championships at Bedford.

By the end of the week, however, things got better for the KEVI Sixth Form pupil, much better in fact, when he received the news that he had won selection to the GB Team for the forthcoming European Under 18 Athletics Championships, scheduled to be held in Gyor, Hungary between July 5 and 8.

It all comes on the back of a superb cross-country season, which saw the Rothbury-based athlete win not only the North East and the Northern Under 17 Men’s Championship, but also the Inter Counties Championship, and he finished fifth in the English Schools Championships.

Leonard is one of a total of 33 athletes selected over the many events, and he runs in the 3000m alongside great rival Thomas Keen, of Cambridge, and Coleridge on July 5.

His personal best time of 8m18.80s sees him currently ranked as No 5 in the UK, and quite high in the European figures also, credentials which have indeed won him international plaudits worldwide, where he is ranked No 3 overall in his age group.

Leonard is firmly backed in his exploits by supporting parents Tony and Sharon, both being top-class runners in their competitive days, and his coach at Morpeth, Mike Bateman.

All at Morpeth Harriers wish him congratulations upon his selection and best of luck in the competition itself.

In their third round NEYDL Division 1 match, held at the Morpeth Athletics Track at KEVI School, hosts Morpeth Harriers Young Athletes squad, provisionally, with results subject to further scrutiny, finished second to Harrogate, who very much look like gaining their first championship, with one fixture remaining at Hexham in July.

The combined Morpeth male and female squads, under the managership of Mark Brown and Dave Thomas respectively, managed a total of 37 wins, which included s16 A String and 20 B string, plus one 4 x100m relay victory.

Morpeth’s Laura Weightman, who is still hopeful of securing a place at the forthcoming European Athletics Championships, being held in Berlin in early August, posted a season’s best 800m time of 2m02.11s, in the third fastest race at the third regional BMC Meeting, held at Chester-le-Street on the evening of Monday, June 18.

She was one of eight from her club in action on the night.

Sam Hancox and Daniel Melling, of Morpeth, set new personal bests of 2m01.96s and 2m07.45s respectively, when finishing third and first in the fourth and eighth fastest races.

Jordan Scott, of Morpeth, produced a season’s best of 2m04.93s in the fifth fastest 800m event.

In the second fastest race, Alistair Douglass finished second in 1m57.58s.

Tom Innes and Ben Waterfield, of Morpeth, both competed in the sixth fastest race, finishing fourth and fifth, with respective times of 2m08.4s, and 2m08.6s.

Finally, Rhiannon Hedley, of Morpeth, posted a time of 2m37.22s, when finishing seventh in the tenth fastest race.

Seventeen athletes from Morpeth Harriers were in action at the third meeting of the Start Fitness-sponsored North East Grand Prix Series at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium.

Henry Johnson, of Houghton, earned himself the winner’s trophy in 4m17.10s> However, not far behind him in third place, and posting a lifetime best of 4m18.85s, was Morpeth’s Sam Hancox, despite being tripped.