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North of England AA Senior Championships 2000

Report by:Bryan Murray

18th June 2000 - North Kesteven Stadium, Grantham

Wakefield's senior athletes recently travelled down the A1 to Grantham for the North of England Senior Championships.

The conditions were very warm and ideal for the athletes although the sprinters had to contend with a very strong headwind whereas the long jumpers had a great wind behind their backs.

In the high jump final James Wild claimed his first senior championship medal up against some talented competitors. Wild secured silver with his jump of 1.95m to trail Brocklebank (Sale Harriers), who won the title with a jump of 2.08m

In the sprint events Nicole Crosby and Emily Freeman entered both the 100m and 200m events. During the heats of the 100m the headwind was over three metres per second, with both sprinters qualifying for the final, Crosby winning her heat in 12.46secs from Rebecca White (Sale Harriers).

Freeman was 2nd in her heat in 12.75 secs as she trailed Helen Rosco (Liverpool Harriers). The final should have been closer after all the athletes had a good start, but Crosby had other ideas. Running into a strong headwind of more than four metres per second, Crosby won the title in 12.46 secs, followed by Rosco and White. Freeman was 5th in 12.87.

Both Wakefield athletes were confident of a medal in the 200m. which was surprisingly a straight final. From the gun to the line, both Freeman and Crosby ran stride for stride, with Crosby holding out to record a double championship sprint success winning in 25.29 secs.

Freeman ran a tremendous race, returning to last years form with a super run of 25.47. Wind speed for the final was -4.9m per second.

Sarah Beevers, running in heat two of the 800m heats, was unlucky not to make the final, with her time of 2:20.22 seeing her finish in 4th - and she just missed out as one of the fastest losers

Shirley Griffiths competed in the women's 1500m final amid the ideal warm conditions. In second place for most of the race, Griffiths vied in the home straight with four other athletes. She was just shaded by Kerry Smithson of Sale Harriers to the title, with Smithson winning in 4:25.96. Griffiths time of 4:27.36 rewarded her with the silver medal.

The 5000m women's event saw three Harriers compete in a large field in scorching heat with water given to the athletes on each lap.

Over the twelve and a half laps, the athletes were tightly bunched and a close finish ensued. with six athletes battling it out over the final straight. Bev Jenkins (Salford Harriers) proved the strongest to win in 17:19.69, to hold off the challenge of Wakefield's Penny Thackray (17:20.12). Julia O'Mara was 6th in 17:44.96, with Sharon Marshall 8th in 19:06.64, with all the athletes to be congratulated on completing the race.

Julia Sykes had to settle for 5th place in the women's 400m hurdles final with all the competitors having a rough time over the last two hurdles into a strong headwind.

Wakefield had two athletes in the senior women's long jump final, Kerry Jury and Fiona Westwood. The competitors had the advantage of a strong tailwind, but this caused problems in the run-up to the board. It was a close competition right through to the last round.

Westwood, whose best effort was 5.84m with a +4.6m per second tailwind was just pipped for 3rd by Rebecca White (5.87m). Jury was 5th in 5.78m, with Ann Danson of Sale Harriers winning the event in 6.32m, with a gusting +5.7 tail wind.

In the javelin, Jury grabbed a bronze medal with a best throw of 33.82m in the final. She followed this up by finishing 4th in the shot putt final with 10.28m.

Suzanne Roberts was in top form in the hammer final, claiming the gold medal by almost 17 metres with her super best throw of 56.16m, sufficient also to take the Wakefield senior womens club record.

Susan Backhouse also had a cracking day easily winning the discus final with a throw of 45.02m, gaining another Wakefield club record for the discipline.