Fine performances from Sussex’s leading Under 20 and Under 15 athletes took both teams to fourth place overall at the competitive annual South of England Inter-Counties Championships.
With 16 teams competing at Horspath, including the mighty Essex, Surrey, Hampshire, Kent and Berkshire the Under 15 girls and U20 men performed brilliantly to top their individual groups. In sunny but windy conditions, Sussex had an abundance of finalists across the two age groups and four event winners.
For the Under 20's Crawley’s Jamie Lambert opened the competition with a victory in the 400mH in 58.29s. He was quickly followed by the triple threat that is Worthing’s Ben Hawkes, who won the Hammer in 65.54m, put the Shot out to 13.69m for second place and came third in the discus with a personal best of 46.39m.After an injury-ridden season Brighton’s Tom Eames eased to victory in the U20M 1500m in 3:55.94.
There was a PB and second place in the javelin for Brighton's Edan Cole. Crawley’s Millie Noyce, competing up an age group, claimed second place in the shot with 11.01m. Her club mate Morgan Hayward was fourth in the Triple Jump with a leap of 12.80m, as was Horsham’s Bradley Burke with a PB of 6:32.14 in the 2000m Steeplechase. Brighton’s Tom Ridley – like Noyce stepping up an age group- was fourth in the High Jump, equalling his season’s best of 1.80m.
Special mention to Chichester’s Ben Collins, who missed his heat of the U20M 800m, but ran as a non-scorer in the final. From the gun he went to the front and was only overtaken in the last 75m of the race, just being edged into fourth in a time of 1:59.84.
In the Under 15 competition Bodyworks Beth Cook was always in control of the 1500m and with 300m to the finishing line cruised into a different gear and front ran to victory in 4:45.01. Worthing’s Sasha Bowles was second in the javelin with 36.81m as was Horsham’s Seb Wallace in the 80mH in 11.55s into a -1.4 wind. Wallace also leapt to third place in the Long Jump with 5.83m.
Crawley’s Erin Bracknell ran a cracking race to secure third in the 800m in 2:19.46 and Brighton’s Luke Twigger replicated his English Schools’ position with third in the javelin (48.71m).
There were fourth places for Brighton’s Ruby Anning over 200m, Lewes’ Tracey Linus over 300m, Crawley’s Michelle Okorie with a half metre personal best of 11.14m in the shot and for Worthing’s Freya Brennand in the Hammer with 40.39m.
Only athletes who finished top eight scored and in all track events up to 800m there were heats. Changing headwinds played havoc with the sprinters, with conditions switching from -0.8 to -2.0 between the U15 men’s heats, meaning that all the fastest loser qualifiers came from the first heat.
Sussex had just one full team out of the four - the Under 15 girls. In the Under 20 Womens category we were unable to field athletes in five of the 14 events. Thus, overall, two fourth place team finishes was a very good result for the county.
If anyone is interested in team managing this event next year, please email county administrator Kate Matthews.