ATHLETICS: Club’s hot streak continues in Youth Development League

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Rugby & Northampton AC maintain perfect record in high temperatures

Rugby & Northampton Athletic Club maintained their 100 per cent record in the upper age Youth Development League with a brilliant performance in Milton Keynes.

Competing at Stantonbury Stadium in the blistering heat, the squad rose to the occasion, despite a lack of availability which saw the club make a slow start to proceedings. Sitting fifth early in the afternoon, the athletes produced some of their best performances of the season to turn the tide and send R&N soaring to victory.

The under-20 men were in fine form, with Jaime Nalus amongst the individual winners, sprinting home in 11.38 seconds to claim victory in the 100m, and he followed that up with second place in the 200m, in 23.26. He then combined with Jack Sumners, William Price and Oli Lambert to win the 4x100m relay in a time of 44.21.

Sumners had success in the field too, leaping to long jump victory with a distance of 6.99 metres. Sam Owusu made it a long jump double, winning the B event with an effort of 6.35m There was double delight for Alex Hamling too, who won the shot put (14.15m) and the discus with a personal best 43.85m.

The heat wasn’t a problem for the long-distance runners, with Adam Searle taking first in the 2000m steeplechase in 6:18.56, and he was followed home in second by Cam Roberts who delivered a PB of 7:15.40. Haydn Arnall rounded things off by triumphing in the 3000m, with a time of 9:27.54.

For the U20 women, Emily Madden-Forman was the day’s star performer, winning one event and finishing second in two more. High jump victory in 1.65m was followed up with fine runner-up efforts in the 100m hurdles (16.0) and triple jump (10.42m).

The under-17 women enjoyed success with Gemma Jones first in the 300m in 40.97, who also stepped up impressively to U20 level where she secured third place in the 200m (26.09). She also anchored the winning 4x300m relay team along with Abi Pearce, Tia Lynch and Fenella Downes — their time of 3:00.22 was enough for victory, clinching the race in the final 10-metres.

In the field, Danielle Hopkins and India Phipps were triumphant in the high jump, with the former taking the A event in 1.70m and Phipps winning the B with a jump of 1.50m. Amelia Birkett added to the success with a dominant pole vault win, registering an effort of 2.90m for victory, while Auguste Zakalyte grabbed first place in the discus with a throw of 29.59m.

The B events followed suit; Holly Walker took the 1500m steeplechase in 6:12.59, Maia Reynolds won the shot put with 10.16m, and Anna Wilson — competing in her first YDL event — took top spot in the javelin with her effort of 19.38m.

Bailey Swift got things up and running for the U17 men with a 200m win in 22.73, adding to his second-place finish in the 100m, where he clocked 11.46. Like those before him, Swift was also part of a triumphant relay team — joining forces with Will Dean, Sam Whittaker and Connor Dadge for victory in 44.67 seconds.

George Edwards was first in the 400m hurdles in 59.33, while Alfie Bowers won the B in 60.1, and Ben Hope added to track triumph with 1500m steeplechase success in 4:42.41. In the field, Chris Dyrmishi emerged victorious, setting a new PB of 14.73m to win the shot putt, while Fenton Bishop-Timings made it a double by winning the B with an effort of 12.54m. That wasn’t to be the only victory for the youngster, clinching the javelin with a throw of 50.09m.

# Elsewhere, a super six athletes from the club were competing in the British Championships — and European Championship Trials — at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. Craig Murch finished fifth in the hammer with 69.20, while James Wright, Josh Faulds and Kyle Ennis took to the track.

Wright’s 110m hurdles time of 14.93 earned him second in his heat, Ennis’ effort of 21.40 was enough for fifth, and that was the position secured by Faulds with a 400m hurdles run in 53.84m.

For the women, Hayley Murray was ninth in the hammer with a distance of 56.0m, and Eleanor Broome placed 11th in the long jump, recording an effort of 6.12m.