Bicester AC’s Django La Porte and Naoimi Ejiogu were crowned under 17 sprint champions of Oxfordshire as they recorded impressive victories in their respective 100 metre races at last Saturday’s Oxfordshire County Championships held at Horspath.  La Porte’s improvement in the prints has been somewhat meteoric and he had already made a lightning start to the season.  La Porte sprinted to his first ever county track title winning the under 17 men’s 100 metres in a new best time of 11.78secs.  Not only was this his first sub 12 secs 100 metre clocking but it was also a a national grade 4 effort and a level 5 performance under the English Athletic (EA) standards.  La Porte then turned out on day 2 of the Championships to win silver in the 200 metre with another personal best clocking of 24.48secs which propelled him to the top of the Bicester 2023 200 metre male standings.

Ejiogu is competing in her first year of the under 17 age group.  Having successfully navigated her heat of the 100 metres, she left her best form for the final recording a new best and her first sub 13secs clocking (12.95secs) in winning the under 17 woman’s 100 metres.  This was a national grade 4 effort as well as a level 5 attainment under the new EA standards.  Ejiogu also took silver in the under 17 woman’s long jump with her second longest ever leap of 4.73m in what was a competitive field of 12 athletes.  Bicester’s other gold medal came in the senior lady’s long jump with Emily Benfield taking the honours with a best leap of 4.17m.

It was a good championships for Bicester AC in the sprint events as Georgia Bower success fully navigated the heats to reach the under 15 girl’s 100 metres final.  Teammate Olivia Naidu-Johnson, despite running a new best of 14.36secs, finished 4th  in her heat but just failed to qualify for the final.  Bower ran superbly in the final to finish with a bronze medal and new best of 13.30secs which was a national grade 4 effort and a level 6 performance under the new EA standards. 

Although there were no medals for Bicester’s trio in the under 15 girl’s long jump all three set new bests.  Bower was best placed in 4th with a new best and EA level 5 effort of 4.31m.  Naidu-Johnson, who is in her first year of this age group, leapt to a big new best in 5th  place with 4.24m.  The Bicester finishers were completed by Grace Jarvey, also in her first year of a new age group and she leapt over 4 metres for the first time in 8th (4.01m).  Jarvey’s best effort in these championships was however saved for day 2 as she ran a big new best in the 200m just finishing out of the medals in 4th place with her first ever sub 30 minute clocking (29.25secs).  

Kyle Rayson, also in his first year of a new age group, produced a quartet of silver medal performances.  There was a big new best in the 100 m hurdles on day 1 as he knocked nearly a second off his previous best to take runner up position in the under 17 men’s event in 15.19secs which was also a national grade 4 and EA level 5 standard performance.  He competed in three further events on day 2 with his best effort coming in the long jump with silver and a new best of 5.35m with teammate Django La Porte in 6th (4.56m) .  His efforts in both the shot and high jump were hampered by injury but he still picked up 2nd places with 8.71m and 1.45m respectively.

Ben Groves took two silvers in the under 20 events with a 12.30m effort in the triple jump and a new best of 5.84m in the long jump.  Groves also took 4th place in the 200m (24.69secs).  There was a big new best for Erlgean Appiahkorang-Mensah in the shot putt.  Appiahkorang-Mensah is competing in a new age group where the weight of shot is heavier so he produced a commendable effort for silver medal with a putt of 7.38m.  Appiahkorang-Mensah also found himself in a very competitive 800m where having been well placed at the end of lap 1 he faded a little on lap 2 to finish 5th with 2mins 24.15secs.  It was then straight on to the long jump where he finished 4th with a best leap of 4.32m.

Owen Stocker saved his best for day 2 of the competition in the under 17 men’s 800 metres.  Having only his 2nd ever 800 metre run, Stocker was in close touch with the leaders at the bell in 4th place.  He then made up a further place on the second and final lap  to finish a superb 3rd with a massive new best of 2mins 8.83secs.  This made up for a slightly disappointing day 1 where he finished 6th in the 1500 metres (4mins 39.57secs).  William Morris competed in the under 15 equivalent of this event where he finished 8th in 4mins 58.9secs which was a new best.  But there was a bronze medal for Bicester in the under 13 girl’s 1500 metres as Maya Korn ran a new best time of 6mins 4.04secs.

Ella Myers-Finnegan was not far off her best as she finished 6th in the under 15 girl’s 1500 metres with 6mins 00.25secs.  And there was also a season’s best for Bethany Wetton in the under 17 woman’s 800 metre where she finished 8th in 3mins 8.10secs.