Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mary Peters

Another visit to MPT in Belfast last Thursday night for a round of the Lagan Valley promoted Edwards Super 5. There were a total of seven athletes from the club who traveled down to the meeting. First up were our youngest athletes, Jessica Meehan and Jane Rea, both running the 100 mts. They finished 9th and 16th with times off 17.64" and 20.02". Well done to them both! Next up was Rachael Quinn also running the 100. Rachael has had more than her fair share of injuries this year but this didnt stop her storming to fifth place in a great 14.73" which is a season's best for her. Charlotte Rea and Lucy Quinn then made their debut over 1500 mts. It was a baptism of fire for Lucy as she pulled up injured on the third lap! Lucy has also had her injury problems this season. Charlotte however ran a blinder to finish a close second and in a great time of 5'19.97". She was later demoted to third as another athlete from this age group ran in an older category and posted a faster time. Very strange ruling by the officials!! However we seem to get a lot of that! Aislinn Crossey also debuted over 1500 and ran a comfortable 5'00.86" to win her race. Both her and Charlotte did well enough to suggest faster times should be possible. Last up was track newcomer and triathlete Andrea Stefkova also running the 1500. Andrea has improved a lot over these past few months but had never run a 1500 in under six minutes so she was delighted when the clock stopped at 5'59"! A great run altogether. Well done to all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ulster Champs

Another beautiful weekend at the Antrim Forum and another strong performance from our athletes. Only four girls to represent us but what a great job they did. First up on Saturday were Lauren Hutchinson and Charlotte Rea in the u-14 800mts. After taking the time to phone the ANI office on the day before to ensure fair play in deciding the heat seedings for the large entry I was appalled to see our two girls being seeded into the two slower heats. Lauren and Charlotte both won their heats running time trials but the fastest heat provided three quicker times and therefore that's were the medals went. Our girls were denied the opportunity to compete for a medal!!! The official responsible later told me that he had selected the nine fastest athletes for the last heat. When I pointed out the fact that the last three athletes in this heat finished in times outside three minutes and that it would have taken about 30 seconds on his own website to see the rankings he had no answer and he didn't even offer an apology. At least the meeting director had the decency to do do that! Our athletes slotted into fourth and sixth places and without doubt had they had the chance to compete on a level footing they both had a live medal chance. Absolutely inexcusable from the officials involved!! It is a matter which I shall pursue! On the Sunday in the older age groups Aoibhin McKay jumped a season's best 1.45 to claim an excellent third place. Brilliant effort from the Banbridge girl who jumped with conviction and belief. Last one on was reigning u-15 and Ulster schools champ Aislinn Crossey now bidding for the u-16 title. Only three other competitors lined up but despite carrying a slight injury and suffering from a cold there was only ever going to be one winner and Aislinn went about her work in a professional manner and is now a triple Ulster champion. Congratulations and well done to our four athletes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

YAL in Magherafelt

You know a journey to Magherafelt is worth it if only to remind yourself of the incredible facilities there are at the Meadowbank sports centre on the outskirts of the town! That our athletes can compete and compete so well with other clubs who have access to such facilities speaks volumes about the talent we have. Only five hardy souls made the trip on a cold and windy night. First up were Charlotte and Lauren in the 800 and they jogged their way round in a time which would have been a pb for both six months ago but now seems slow. They then had their now familiar burn up to the line. Familiar finish as well. Lauren can sprint better than most at this age and Charlotte will have to come up with a plan to counteract that. A gun perhaps!! This will be a feature of their athletics over the coming years as indeed it has been for the past few years. I am delighted that both girls have spurred one another to such a good level and if this continues both will flourish and develop into serious athletes. I'm also pleased that their friendship has grown in tandem with their rivalry and is surely what athletics should be about. Next up was Aislinn Crossey who bypassed her favoured 800 mts and sprinted to a 28.0" in the 200. Second place seemed a fair reward. Rachael Quinn also took a go at the 200 and did well on such a cold night to improve her pb to 30.7". Last up was Lucy Quinn who won the 150 mts in a swift 21.1". We also had a go in the 4x100 relay but had to move up an age group due to only having three minor girls. Rachael filled in as we moved to the junior event. Despite a horror change between Charlotte & Lauren we held on to third place. Whats that..............oh yeah,,,there were only three teams, but hey I'm sure had there been more we would still have been third!! Thanks to the Hutchinson family for transport and support.

Schools Epilogue!

The schools T&F championships ended on another blazing hot day in Tullamore Co Offaly. Unfortunately there are no Irish champs at minor level thereby depriving Lauren Hutchinson of a day in the sun but Aislinn Crossey went in search of a time to elevate her to the ANI development squad and get a UK athletics grade 1 ranking. As expected the race went of at a breakneck pace and right from the go Aislinn looked laboured. The lead group went through the bell in 66" with Aislinn trailing in 7th place. As the gap's appeared going down the back straight she picked up a few places though never looked like closing the gap to the leaders. With her season's target in the balance Aislinn dug deep and gave her all to the tape. It was too close to call but when the times were posted we were all delighted to see 2'20.48"! A second inside her previous best and inside the time for selection. The experience will be well learned. Aislinn is good enough to be running in national decider's and when that light comes on in her head more improvements will come. A huge well done!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fun in the sun.....

A glorious sunny morning was the reward for everyone who turned up to the fun run at the Newry City marathon today. We had loads of young athletes running and some parents in the half marathon. It was good to see all enjoying the atmosphere and the craic. Star turn was 10 year old Bill Finegan who I reckon was up in the top ten. We'll have to get him a pair of spikes and see just how fast he is!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ulster medal for Lucy.

After the disappointment of the indoors in Magherafelt, when a trip off the start line scuppered the defence of her title, Lucy Quinn brought her collection of Ulster medals to three with a brilliant silver medal in the 600 mts at the juvenile games in Shercock Co. Cavan. In complete contrast to last weeks blazing sunshine today was a damp and cold day. The tiny village of Shercock now boasts a state of the art eight lane 300 mt track and we all felt suitably ashamed at our own lack of an athletic facility. Newry my backside!!! Anyways in the girls u-13 event Lucy went to the line determined not to repeat the trip from the indoors and blazed of the line and led through the first 200 in a steady 35". A few months ago Lucy would have gone through in 32" and ruined her chances but now this lesson appears learned and she continued to lead with an apparent confidence. When passed with 150 to go Lucy tucked in and waited for the sprint. A bit of tactical naivety then cost the chance of a win as she got boxed on the inside lane as the eventual winner came from third place. By the time Lucy got into the sprint she ran out of track!! It's a mistake I suspect won't be repeated! Her time was a storming 1'52" which is over four seconds quicker than her previous best. Great stuff and well done Lucy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Schools T&F Pt 4

A story of many parts came to a head in a scorching hot Antrim Forum in front of a huge crowd last Saturday. The Ulster schools T&F championships is the biggest day for junior athletes. I have long held the belief that despite the discomfort there is in competing in severe heat, good performances are available for fit athletes in such conditions and we turned up on Saturday with five fit athletes! First up in the early morning was high jumper Aoibhin McKay representing New-Bridge Integrated. Aoibhin cleared 1.40 at the first attempt but narrowly missed 1.45. A real pity as a clearance at this height would have been good enough for a bronze medal. As it was Aoibhin finished in 6th place. A reward for her was a call up to a N.I. team! Next up was Aislinn Crossey, representing Sacred Heart, in the junior 800 mts. The race was fast and close with a lot of bumping and elbows and a group of six went through the bell in 70". Down the back straight and as Aislinn made her move up the inside, which is a move flirting with disaster, she got bumped off the track as the picture shows!! Her incredible balance honed through years of Irish dancing allowed her to regain the track albeit now in third place and with a lot of work to do! With 200 mts to go she took the race by the scruff of the neck and barged her way to the front! Now the race was on in earnest but Aislinn had flown the coop. Try as the pack might they could not reel in the flying Crossey and when she reached the line the clock stopped at 2'21.48"!! The new champ was ecstatic and rightly so. A new PB and just 48 hundreds of a second from a UK Athletes Grade 1 ranking! Without the excursion onto the grass she would have made it. She now moves on to the Irish schools in search of the time. After 30 mins or so to catch our breath our minor girls took to the track for their 800 mts final. I believe it to be a remarkable achievement that we managed to qualify three girls for what is the top event in Ulster. Lauren Hutchinson, Charlotte Rea and Lucy Quinn went to the line representing Sacred Heart and St Pauls. This was another top quality race which our girls had to compete successfully three times just to qualify for! The pace here was also furious but our girls stayed in the leading group throughout. Charlotte tried to make a move down the back straight but found herself boxed to the outside and was in the wrong place as the pace took off. Lucy was fighting for her place all the way round the home turn and quietly holding onto the leaders Lauren was hugging the bend. As the sprint opened Lauren was perfectly placed but was chopped by another athlete and had to shorten for a few strides and at this level it was a hard ask to recover lost ground. But Lauren is quick and has a heart like a lion! She forced her way back into the race and sprinted for her life and was rewarded with a brilliant third place, just on the heels of the front two. Without the chop off the bend who knows!! Charlotte came home a strong sixth with Lucy in eighth. Their times were also brilliant with Lauren in a 2'32", Charlotte in 2'34.8" and Lucy in 2"39". Huge PB for all. It reflects well on our club to have five athletes not just competing but competing so well on a provincial stage. A huge well done to all and to their families for taking the time to travel and support. It means a lot to our athletes.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Schools T&F Pt 3

Late post on this one 'cos I was waiting on results to be posted on t'internet. They never were so there are no times and placing save to say that at the D district's (Armagh/Monaghan) last week Lucy Quinn won the 800 race quite easily and joins her club mates in tomorrows showdown! Rachael Quinn came fourth in the 200 and just misses a place in the finals. So it's a baptism of fire for four of our athletes tomorrow!! Are you nervous?? I am..............

Friday, May 14, 2010

Schools T&F Pt 2

We moved onto to a windswept & cold Bangor on the 12th for the A district finals. First up was Hollie Halpin representing Our Ladys in the 100mts. The transport from the school was late and poor Hollie had to jump from the car and leg it to the start. There was barely time for her to pull on her spikes and without any form of warm up Hollie blasted out a pb in a time of 14.6"! She just missed qualification by two tenths of a second! With time for a warm up Hollie would have made it no doubt. Next up was Aislinn Crossey in the junior 800. Ais made short work of the race and for the second year is the Co Down champ. She will go to the finals next week with hopes of a medal. Lauren Hutchinson and Charlotte Rea also breezed through their 800 and will go to Antrim next week as well. It was a first championship success for Lauren and she is now the Co Down schools 800mt champion! Last runner today was Sarah Creegan in the 200 for Our Ladys. Again a pb was a great result for Sarah as she stormed home in a time of 31.3". A great reward for some hard training! Most of the girls then turned out for their schools in the 4x100 relay and though both teams qualified for the final they both ended up in fourth place. A real pity as the top three teams qualified for the finals next week.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Schools T&F Pt 1

Hopefully this will be a story of many parts!! Part one was played out today at a sunny MPT in Belfast. We had three athletes representing Sacred Heart in heats of the A district 800 mts and Aoibhin McKay from New-Bridge Integrated in the high jump.The three amigos all came home with comfortable heat wins. Charlotte Rea was first and took 2'38" to complete an emphatic win. Lauren Hutchinson then had a gun to tape win in 2'37" followed by Aislinn Crossey who soloed to a 2'28". Job well done by all three. They move onto Bangor next week for the district finals. Aoibhin jumped well for second place and qualifies for the Ulster champs on the 21st. Hopefully the amigos will run well in Bangor and will also make the champs. We'll see. Also next week we have a few other athletes in the A districts and a few in the D. Full report as soon as the dust settles.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

PB's across the board!!

Wow wee & golly!! After the meeting ran late we were on the edge of darkness and under floodlights by the time our 800 runners got their chance to pull on their spikes and go to the start line. A big field of 27 meant two heats for the 97/98 girls and Lauren Hutchinson and Charlotte Rea were paired together in the first heat. Both girls were also running their second race of the day!! In school that morning they both had a run off to seek selection for the Sacred Heart team for next weeks schools T&F district heats. This isn't an easy task as the school standard is very high. Nevertheless they both qualified although the effort was sure to tell tonight. In a high quality race both settled quickly on the shoulders of the leaders and ran to the bell in under 77 seconds. As the pace intensified with 300 to go our girls pushed on and soon both were in a group of three as the sprint opened. Neither could get up and past Olivia Diamond of Balmoral but with Lauren second & Charlotte third the clock stopped at 2'35.77" and 2'35.81" respectively. We were all stunned! At the start of the current training phase 2'35" was mooted as a possible target for this season and here we were in April!! Massive PB for both. The options now are either to retire or reassess their targets!! 2'33" perhaps........ In the second heat Lucy Quinn was trying for her second PB in a week and was in a heat with Rebecca Gamble and May Morgan, both running their first 800's. Lucy did what Lucy does and what aggravates me, and tore away in the lead!! If your reading this Lucy then QUIT DOING THAT. This time it worked out and a PB of 2'43.91" was an excellent reward. It was enough to win the heat and finish 5th overall. Lucy will run quicker as the season develops. As indeed will Rebecca and May who recorded 2'59.45" & 3'13.83". Good first runs from both girls. Both will also now know there is no hiding place on the track and success is hard. I get the impression that neither are scared!! Last performer was Aislinn Crossey and by the time she got on the track darkness had arrived. It was really cool to be watching under the floodlights. Aislinn did her normal thing and followed the pace for 550 mts and then took off. An impressive win in a blistering 2'23.99" and her first time into the 23's. Aislinn's problem in running faster will be finding competition to drag the last 1% out of her. Maybe if this happens and the summer goes on the teens might be be possible. Another great night out. Again thanks to all the families who turned up to support, it really does make a difference.

Bigger sprinters.

We had three sprinters in the older age groups.First up was newcomer May Morgan running up an age group in the 97/98 girls 200. As this was May's first track event a PB of 34.67 was a good effort and placed her 16th overall. In the 95/96 girls 200 Hollie Halpin & Rachael Quinn were both running up a year with poor Hollie being born in December 1996 at a distinct disadvantage. Both girls are getting more experienced and sooner or later that will turn into results. Rachael recorded a 30.80 and Hollie a 31.76 into a headwind. Again well done.

Wee sprinters.

At the Edwards league at MPT last Thursday night we took two young athletes for their first ever track race. Jessica Meehan and Jane Rea had a go at the 150 mt sprint. Jane was first up and was a bag of nerves. This wasn't helped by a bogey starting pistol! Jane was also told by the starters assistant that she must use a crouch start which she had never done before. Despite all this she had a good time and recorded a 29.3" run and the coach is very proud of her :-))) Jessica was in the next heat and she stormed to an excellent 25.87" to finish 16th from 32 entries. Jessica has a bright future in athletics and it was encouraging to see her mum and sister supporting these first few steps. Well done girls

What is it with Jennifer and MPT!!!

Yeah what is it!! Every time we go there Jennifer has a problem!! Sick or injured or both. A real pity this time she hurt her knee in the warm up cos she's be running great and another PB was a dead cert. Next time Jennifer.

Spike sale.

As part of my extensive research program to improve the club I have learned that Donaghy's shop in Banbridge are having a sale of spikes. All sorts are on offer, sprints, middle distance & xc. Make sure you buy the proper one's!!! Ask me if you're not sure.