National Junior Womens League
Report by: Bryan Murray
Wakefield Harriers ladies U20s team are celebrating after reaching next month's UK National Final at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium following a superb display of determined performances from their talented athletes.
Leading the way was junior international Fiona Westwood, who had a fantastic day as she achieved a pb in the long jump A of 5.95m and in the 200m. Fiona also won the 100m A race in style in a time of 12.4 secs, and was deservedly awarded the athlete of the match award.
The 100m B race saw a tremendous pb for Vicky Lambert, who won superbly in a time of 12.6 secs to raise a few eyebrows. Vicky also won the long jump B with a best leap of 4.96m. The talented youngster then completed a memorable performance with another pb of 60.2 secs in the 400m as she achieved fifth place in the A race, won by GB international Helen Thieme in 57 seconds.
Other winning performances came from Helen Taylor, who continued her tremendous season by winning the hammer A with a best throw of 47.04m, leaving her 'way ahead of the other athletes.
In the B hammer, the rapidly-improving Sarah Drake gained maximum points with a throw of 33.22m - all this in very wet conditions.
Emma Morris started off the stream of successes with a win in the A shot with 11.38m, well clear of Birchfield athlete Richards (10.95m). In the B shot, Amy Ridsdale claimed third place with 7.79m. Emma also gained a valuable second place in the A pole vault with a pb of 2.20m, well supported by Alex Carr in the B, who was second.
The high jump B event saw Wakefield's Ruth Laybourn achieve a win with a leap of 1.50m in wet conditions. Emily Mason cleared the same height to finish sixth in the A competition.
Mason also performed in the 100m hurdles B event for the first time and set the supporters buzzing with a superb win in a time of 16.3 secs. Emma Morris also made her debut in the A event and ran in style to notch third place in 17.7 secs.
The 400m hurdles saw rising star Laybourn gain valuable points with fourth place in 74.3 secs, with another pleasing aspect being the comeback performance of Amy Ridsdale, who - running at short notice and with little training after an illness finished fourth in the B race.
In the triple jump, Laybourn, deputising for the injured Katie Richardson, gave another sound performance to finish seventh with a leap of 9.32m in a classy A event. The gutsy Alex Carr also finished in the same position in the B with 8.26m
Becky Fender ran in her usual determined style to claim an excellent second place in the 800m B, but unfortunately, her team-mate in the A race, Helen Singleton, was ill at the start of the race and had to pull out after 600 metres. Thankfully, after a good rest, Helen was able to perform a solid first leg of the 4x400m relay in 62.0 secs.
Further sound point gaining efforts came from Michelle Lonsdale in the javelin A, with the athlete claiming third place with 35.17m in extremely poor conditions. Michelle was disappointed with her distance as she would have expected to have achieved a win, she will no doubt be up for it in the final.
As always, Sam Colley gave her all in both the 3000m A and 1500m B to give her team valuable points with times of 11:36.0, a season's best, and 5:37.7. In the 3000m B event, first year U17 athlete Faith Grant again showed her willingness and competitive spirit to finish third in a time of 12:26.4.
In the discus, Amy Ridsdale was placed fifth in the A event with 23.21m, with Emma Morris third in the B event with 23.18m.
Other notable points earners helping to achieve the victory and a place in the UK final were Becky Fender, fourth in the 400m B race, Alex Carr, second in the pole vault B, Amy Ridsdale, sixth in the javelin B, and Victoria Lockwood, sixth in the 200m B.
Wakefield's sprint relay stars were narrowly beaten into third place in a time of 50.5 secs in the 4x100m relay, with the 4x400m squad finishing sixth in 4:22.3.
One of the most pleasing moments of the day was the announcement for team manager Terry Ridsdale to go to the announcers box to report to the officials - and be told that the Wakefield ladies were a credit to the sport, the league and the club, due to their politeness and pleasant attitude to the officials and other competitors.
shot: Emma Morris 11.38m (1st); high jump: Emily Mason 1.50m (6th); 400m hurdles: Ruth Laybourn 74.3 (4th); hammer: Helen Taylor 47.04m (1st); triple jump: Ruth Laybourn 9.32 (7th ); 100m: Fiona Westwood 12.4 (1st); javelin: Michelle Lonsdale 35.17m (3rd); pole vault: Emma Morris 2.20m (2nd); 3000m: Samantha Colley 11:36.5 (3rd); 400m: Vicky Lambert 60.2 (5th); 100m hurdles: Emma Morris 17.7 (3rd); long jump: Fiona Westwood 5.95m (1st); 200m: Fiona Westwood 25.8 (6th); 1500m: Aine Hoban 5:13.1 (3rd); discus: Amy Ridsdale 23.21m (5th); 4x100m relay, Wakefield 3rd, 4x400m relay Wakefield 6th.
shot: Amy Ridsdale 7.79m (3rd); high jump: Ruth Laybourn 1.50m (1st); 400m hurdles: Amy Ridsdale 81.0 (4th), hammer: Sarah Drake 33.22m (1st); triple jump: Alex Carr 8.26m (7th); 800m: Becky Fender 2:31.1 (2nd); 100m: Vicky Lambert 12.6 (1st); javelin: Amy Ridsdale (4th); pole vault: Alex Carr (2nd), 3000m: Faith Grant 12:26.4 (2nd); 400m: Becky Fender 64.8 (4th); 100m hurdles: Emily Mason 16.3 (1st); long jump: Vicky Lambert 4.96 (1st); 200m: Vicki Lockwood 28.4 (6th); 1500m: Samantha Colley 5:37.7 (4th); discus: Emma Morris 23.18m (3rd).
Final match result: *1 Wakefield Harriers 295, *2 Edinburgh WM 253, *3 Birchfield Harriers 247, *4 Sale Harriers 245, 5 Liverpool Harriers 239, 6 Border Harriers 217, 7 Wigan Harriers 195, 8 Solihull 153.
*First four clubs qualify for the finals at Birmingham on September 10.