Rugby & Northampton athletics team top of table ahead of the final event

Rugby & Northampton Athletics Club’s U13 and U15 team competed in the UK Youth Development League at Milton Keynes, knowing that another victory would all but assure a place in a regional finals – and they rose to the challenge, winning by over 160 points, writes John Gercs.

Zak Thorpe - a triple winner in the hurdles, shot and long jump and Robbie Dale - the U15s 300m victor
Zak Thorpe - a triple winner in the hurdles, shot and long jump and Robbie Dale - the U15s 300m victor

The day started with some outstanding displays of technical hurdling through Zak Thorpe, Sonny Briggs, Ava Hession, Jacob Vural, Rhys Owen, Isabella Banks and Grace McCollin, sweeping all before them.

The sprinters also dominated proceedings with victories for Savannah Morgan, Olivia Monk, Ella Darby, Ernest Kisel, Robbie Dale, Nigel Nicieja and Harrison Nash. The endurance runners also did extremely well with a whole raft of personal bests.

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It was in the field, however, where R&N really shone! In the jumps, there were victories for Zak Thorpe and Ella Darby whilst the throwers added one victory after another.

The throwing team was Monty Lee, Moyo Stumpenhusen, Nate Tilt, Josh Mozely, Louis Clark, Zak Thorpe, Devon Edwards, Charlie Cook, Martha Pollard, Alice Berril, Bella Deamer and Lois Pollard. Out of a possible 24 individual victories in the A and B events, the R&N athletes won no less than 20 - a truly unbelievable performance.

The day ended with the relays and the sprinters again produced. The U13 boys scorched to an incredible 53. 8 seconds in the 4x100m, winning by 30 metres, a feat reproduced by both the U15 4x300m teams. The 4x100m U15 girls ran 49.56 seconds - the second quickest time in the country this year - a few hundredths behind their own leading time. It was the boys 4x100m team that stole the show, however. The boys had a fumbled change over and dropped the baton. After a couple of seconds delay, they picked up the baton, started to catch up and unbelievably still finished with a breath-taking victory.

This victory leaves R&N at the top of the leader board with the third and final event in Solihull on Sunday, July 3.

Saturday saw the Diamond League Athletics Grand Prix at Birmingham and R&N youngsters lined up alongside the stars. The event invites the strongest relay teams nationally to take part in CLUB CONNECT relays before the start of tthe main event.

R&N had teams in both the U17 men’s and women’s events. Shanice Ighalo, Lucy Lane, Rebecca Littler and Efua Boateng finished in an outstanding time of 50.46s to claim fourth behind a powerful Croydon quartet.

Matthew Ward, Alex Ilioaie, Ben Carley and Morrie Parker were third -again behind Croydon - with an outstanding 45. 21s.

With the Commonwealth Games down the road in Birmingham just weeks away, the athletics celebrations in Rugby will carry on well into the summer. After a two year gap due to Covid the Rugby Primary School Athletics Championships are back at the track on July 1 with children in Years 4 5 and 6 battling it out for medals in the track and field. With 20 primary schools signed up so far it promises to be an exciting event!

The Summer Holidays sees the return of our popular Star Track Holiday Athletics Camps held over three weeks for children in Years 2-8. For details and to sign up see https://www.wrighttrack.co.uk/startrack