Medals galore for Morpeth athletes at NE Championships

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The annual North Eastern Counties Track and Field Championships were held at Middlesbrough Sports Village at the weekend.

Athletes from Morpeth Harriers achieved a total of 24 medals, which included nine gold, 11 silver, and four bronze.

Field eventers Andrew Knight and Bobbie Griffiths were also among several championship best performances over the two days of competition, and James Young, was also a double gold medal winner on the track.

It was an excellent first day of competition for the club, where sixteen of those 24 medals were won, nine on the track, and seven from the field.

The field eventers contributed greatly, with four of the medals being gold, headed by Knight and Griffiths, who produced championship bests of 16.91m and 37.69m respectively in the U17 Men’s Shot Putt and U20 Women’s Javelin.

Another Morpeth thrower to take a gold medal on Saturday, was Jessica Gardner, who produced a new personal best of 28.64m, to take the U15 Girls Discus title.

Rounding off the clubs first day gold medal haul from the field was Ethan Stephenson, who won the U17 Men’s Triple Jump, with a best effort of 12.17m.

Silver and bronze medals respectively were won by Alice Geoghegan and Rosie Winter in the U15 Girls Javelin, with bests of 25.23m and 24.29m, the former representing a brand-new lifetime best.

The first day track events saw Morpeth athletes gain three gold’s, five silver, and one bronze medal.

In the Senior Men’s 1500m, James Young took the first of what were to be two gold medals over the weekend. He won by two seconds from Birtley’s Adrian Bailes, when he posted a time of 4m02.81s.

Another Morpeth 1500m gold medallist was Kieran Hedley, who took the U20 Men’s title in4m03.51s. Just over four seconds adrift of him in 4m07.93s was club colleague Taylor Glover, who added a silver to the clubs’ tally.

The clubs third track gold went to U17 Woman Holly Peck, who won the 800m in 2m23.27s, closely followed in by club colleague Lily Heaton, who produced a superb last gasp effort, to take the silver medal in a time of 2m24.13s.

U20 Men’s 400m specialist Matthew Waterfield, who was the 2017 U17 Men’s Champion, took the silver medal this time round, as he posted a time of 50.86s.

Morpeth’s Amy Lott produced a personal best performance of 11.62s, as she took silver in the U15 Girls 75m Hurdles.

The Scottish Indoor 60m Hurdle Champion may well have taken the gold, had she not hit the final hurdle, as she hurtled towards the finish.

In the U20 Women’s 100m Hurdles, Harriet Priest took the silver medal in 17.09s.

Morpeth’s single bronze track medal on the day, was won by Dean Lonsdale, who posted a time of 54.18s in the Senior Men’s 400m.

The eight medals that were won by Morpeth athletes in Sunday’s second day of competition, were produced mainly courtesy of their track performers.

Just 24 hours after managing 1500m gold, Morpeth’s James Young collected his second title of the weekend, as he triumphed in the Senior Men’s 800m in 1m54.08s, winning again from Birtley’s Adrian Bailes, although only by a fraction of a second on this occasion.

One of Morpeth’s finest performances of the weekend however, came in the U15 Boy’s 800m final, where Ben Waterfield, younger brother of Matthew, won the gold medal in a brand new personal best of 2m10.06s, having also established new figures of 2m12.77s, as he finished second in his earlier run heat.

Staying with Morpeth’s U15 Boys, Dylan Davies put his previous days 1500m frustrations behind him, to return to take a well-earned silver medal in the longer 3000m event, which he ran for the first time, posting a time of 10m17.92s.

Silver medals were also won by Robyn Bennett in the U20 Women’s 1500m, posting a new personal best of 4m46.09s, and Harriet Priest, who achieved her second medal of the weekend in the 400m Hurdles (73.03s).

In the Senior Men’s 5000m, Morpeth’s Thomas Straughan held off the close attentions of new club colleague Mark Long, to take his first ever North East track medal, a bronze, in 15m33.00s.

Long, who recently won the North East 10,000m championship, and had hoped to medal, was running the 5000m track event for the first first time, where he posted a time of 15m36.61s.

Holly Peck added bronze to her first day 800m gold, when finishing third in the U17 Women’s 1500m, just a mere second outside her lifetime best with 4m50.87s.

Oliver Geoghegan gained a medal in the U15 Boys Javelin, when he threw 22.15m for silver.

Competing in the U15 Girls Hammer, Morpeth hurdling specialist Amy Lott will have gained some great experience as she threw 20.70m for fourth place, just losing out for bronze by around two and a half metres.

Lott also produced a new personal best performance of 7.68m in the Shot Putt competition.

* Northern Cross-Country champions Rory Leonard and Carl Avery of Morpeth Harriers, travelled to Sports City in Manchester on Saturday night, to compete in the BMC Grand Prix meeting, where they both achieved new respective personal best performances.

In Leonard’s case, he finished an excellent second in the 1500m E race, posting a time of 3m53.63s, which saw him shave eight seconds off his previous figures, making him just over a second adrift of winner Dan Wilde of Taunton, who is a fellow U20 athlete.

Meanwhile Avery finished fourth in the 5000m A race in 14m08.83s, taking nearly 37 seconds off his previous figures.

* Morpeth Harriers road squads were at their most dominant, as their Men and Women both triumphed in their respective events at the annual Wallsend Harriers Gordon Smith Road Relays, held at Cobalt Business Park on the evening of Wednesday 9th May.

Rain had reached the region by the time the 3 x 2 Mile events got underway, which was a refreshing relief for all who took part.

Respective fastest times were also set by Morpeth athletes, with George Lowry clocking the joint fastest time of 9m32s on an explosive first Men’s first leg, where he led the Morpeth Men’s B team home in first place, six seconds ahead of his club colleague Sam Hancox, who was running the first leg for the Morpeth Men’s A team.

Positions were reversed on the second leg however, as Ian Hudspith got into the driving seat, and took the Morpeth A team into a nineteen second lead by clocking 9m49s, with John Butters just managing to hold off a chasing Tyne Bridge as he clocked 10m14s.

The Morpeth B team were deposed however on the third leg, as Tyne Bridge’s James Furse clocked the equal fastest time to Lowry, to put them within striking distance of the Morpeth A team, who had newcomer Mark Long, the recent North East 10,000metre track champion on the final leg.

Long, making his road debut for Morpeth, managed to hold his ground however, and came home with eight seconds to spare, as he clocked 9m45s.

Meanwhile the Morpeth Men’s B team held onto third place from the fourth placed Morpeth Men’s C team, courtesy of Chris Smith’s 9m46s.

The fourth placed Morpeth Men’s C team were represented by Thomas Straughan (9m51s), Fergus Bates (10m52s), and Jordan Scott (10m10s).

Morpeth Harriers also had Men’s teams, which finished in seventh and sixteenth places.

The Morpeth D team included Tom Innes (10m34s), Lee Bennett (10m53s), making his club debut following his transfer from Elswick, and Karl Taylor (10m25s).

Ryan Stephenson (11m15s), Phil Walker (11m49s), and Dean Lonsdale (10m48s), all competed for the Morpeth Men’s E team.

Not to be outdone, the Morpeth Women’s team also proved to be too good for the opposition, winning by nearly 90 seconds from Gosforth Harriers, with North Shields Poly a further 11 seconds adrift in third place.

Gemma Floyd (11m45s), gave the Morpeth Women’s A team an 18 seconds lead on the first leg.

Carla Maley, running for North Shields Poly, ate into that lead on the second leg, to pass Morpeth’s Helen King (12m32s), just before change-over, before Morpeth’s Jane Hodgson re-established the lead to win comfortably, by clocking the fastest time of the night of 11m15s, managing to hold off second fastest Kate Mellor of Gosforth Harriers.