AAA U20 Indoor Championships
Report by: Martin Cunnane
Wakefield Harriers' U20 athletes had the chance to test themselves against the nation's junior elite in the AAA Junior Indoor Athletics Championships at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham.
Pride of place went to UK ranked sprinter Emily Freeman who qualified comfortably for the U20 women's final where she finished third behind Irish star Clam Sheehy, representing Dublin AC, in 24.53 secs. Sheehy who had earlier won the 60m title, broke Sarah Wilhelmy's championship record, clocking 23.96 secs.
Wakefield Harriers' Judith Payne who was representing Cambridge University on the day; was unlucky not to get her hands on a coveted AAA medal having finished joint third with a 1.70 clearance in the U 20 final, behind Bedford's Clare Cousins who won with a 1.78m jump. Payne was relegated to fifth on countback.
Specialist long jumper Fiona Westwood finished 10th in the U20 women's long jump with her day's best effort behind D Andrews of Birchfield who triumphed with her best mark of 5.66m. Despite not firing on all cylinders, Westwood is sure to strip fitter when the outdoor season commences in mid-April.
Emma Phillips also performed admirably getting through to the semis of the U20 60m where the 7.78 secs clocking, behind winner E Whiter of Hearne Hill Harriers (7.64), was just two 1/100ths of a second from securing a place in the final. Phillips is another athlete who is bound to improve when the sprint distances are extended on the advent of the outdoor season.
Ruth Dales clocked a below par 9.36 secs in finishing fourth in the heats of the U20 60m hurdles to eventual winner D O'Rourke who clocked 8.64 secs.
North of England silver medallist Victoria Shepherd was just 14 cm behind the bronze medal slot in the U20 shot putt final which was won by Irish champion E Massey (12.71.m).
In the U17 women's section of the championships Jenny Handley finished fifth in the triple jump final with a 10.47m leap behind gold medallist C Loscher (1 1.49m). Handley also finished 13th in the high jump while Katie Richardson finished 12th in the U 17 long jump with her best effort of 5.08m behind A Lynch (5.58).
In the U15 girls' section, 13-year-old Katie Smith went out in the first round after clocking 27.76 secs to finish third, just failing to qualify for the semis. It was a similar story in the 60m hurdles heats, where Emily mason failed to progress after finishing third in 9.87 secs. Ruth Laybourn came closest to a medal in the age group finishing fifth in the lone jump final with her best leap of 4.79m.
In the U17 men's events James Wild was unlucky not to pick up bronze after finishing with a 1.88m clearance, the same height as the bronze medallist, but was relegated to fifth on countback. Finally, John Fletcher finished sixth in the U15 boys 60m heats recording 8.07 secs.