McDonald's Girls YA League
Report by: Martin Cunnane
Wakefield Harriers' pulled off a creditable third place finish in the recent McDonald's Girls' League meeting at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow.
It was the combined U17s, 15s and 13s team's penultimate premier division fixture. And despite failing to fill over half a dozen of the events, a good all-round performance saw them clinch third on 317 points behind Sale (378) and Hull Springhead (330). Host club Gateshead were fourth (258), Tynedale fifth (235), Spenborough sixth (217.5), Hallamshire seventh (180.5) and Oldham and Royston eighth (176).
With the resulting points from the match entered into the current league table, Wakefield are still favourites to reach the McDonald's Auxiliary Final at Birmingham in early September, but must fill all the events in their final league fixture if they are to achieve their main objective for the season.
One of the best performances on the day by a Wakefield athlete was provided by Kirsty Hodson in the U17 women's 300m hurdles.
Hodson, a good all round athlete, has come on leaps and bounds in the long hurdles this season and emphasised this with a brave front-running victory in the A-string race. She kept on well to hold of Sale's L Murphy for a comfortable two tenths of a second victory in 48.9 secs. Hodson further demonstrated her capabilities by finishing third in the A 80m hurdles in 14.2 secs and second in the A shot.
Also in the U17s, Aine Hoban kept up her run of splendid middle distance performances by running right away from the field in the A 3000m to win by over half a lap, clocking a respectable 10 mins 48.4 secs.
Hoban went on to finish a fine second in the B 300m in 47.6 secs as well as picking up the points for sixth in the unfamiliar B javelin. She looks certain to continue her improvement over middle distances.
Another athlete who has improved rapidly this season is Helen Singleton. She made short work of Sale's S Kirby in the A 300m, running on strongly to win by over five metres in 44.2 secs. Singleton was denied a notable A-string track double by the same athlete when the Sale youngster turned the tables on her in the A 800m, pulling clear of the Wakefield girl over the final 50 metres to win by four and a half seconds in 2 mins 20.9 secs.
Becky Fender had no trouble picking up maximum points in the B 800m, racing to a clear victory with the minimum of effort in 2 mins 26.5 secs. She went on to collect fourth place points in the A 200m, recording 28.7 secs behind Hull Springhead's R Rea, who won in 27.4 secs.
Jenny Handley finished a 5cm runner-up to Hull's Nicky Clarke, who won the A high jump with a 1.60m clearance, Handley went on to supply the points from third place in the B shot.
Katie Richardson leapt a season's best 5.15m to claim victory in the A long jump competition, beating Gateshead's Gemma Dalglish by 25cm. Richardson also ran fourth in both the A 100m and discus competitions and will continue to be a major contributor to Wakefield's league commitments.
Hayley Atkinson also performed solidly throughout the day, finishing second in the B 100m in 13.8 secs as well as scoring a much-needed B string victory in the discus competition. Atkinson finished her individual contribution with second place in the B long jump.
In the U15s section, Emily Mason had a comfortable win in the A high jump, beating Hull Springhead's S Oliver by 3cm with her best clearance of 1.43m. But she just failed to complete a notable track and field double when beaten by two tenths of a second in the A 75m hurdles by Sale's S Walls, who won in 12.2 secs.
Kimberley Nallon ensured an A and B string high jump double for Wakefield by prevailing in the B competition with a 1.40m clearance.
And Lucy Martin ran honestly to claim much needed points by finishing a respectable second in the B 800m in 2 mins 37 secs flat.
Laura Robinson was just touched off in the A 200m, beaten by a tenth of a second by Sale's R Sweeney, who got up on the line to win in 27 secs flat. Robinson, who is in her first year of the age group, also finished third in the B discus and continues to impress especially over the 200m mark.
Victoria Lockwood justified her team place with a series of workmanlike performances that brought valuable points from third place in the B 100m, earned with a speedy 13.3 secs run behind Sale's K Lindley who won in 13.1 secs, fourth in the B 75m hurdles and second in the B long jump.
Zoe Gowland ran well in the A 1500m competition, recording a personal best 4 mins 59.4 secs - over five seconds faster than the second placed athlete in the corresponding U17s race, but in the hotly contested event found her time only good enough for fourth place. With another year in the age group Gowland is sure to be the one to look out for in next year's major competitions.
In the B 1500m Carly Wright kept on with great determination and finished a respectable second in 5 mins 14.7 secs. Wright is capable of much better than this and her current form is best ignored.
Kate Smith sprinted well to finish a three tenths runner-up to Sale's Vicky Lamb in the B 200m, clocking 28.5 secs after earlier filling fourth place in the A 100m in 13.3 secs.
In the U13 girls' competitions, Louise Shaw again sprinted well to finish two tenths of a second down on Hallamshire's N Pearson, who beat the Wakefield girl into second place in the A 75m in 10.5 secs. Shaw also finished fifth in the A long jump with 3.92m.
Emily Locker also found just one too good in the B 75m, finishing a tenth of a second runner up after an exciting battle with Spenborough's S Samuda, who took the honours in 10.9 secs. Locker went on to finish third in the B 150m in 22.2 secs.
Ruth Jones hurdled fluently to finish second to Sale's C Morrison in the A 70m hurdles, recording 13.8 secs.
Other team members were: Vicky Lambert, Chloe Beckett, L Hall, Liz Martin, R Nolan, Amy Kirkmond, Jan Faulkner.