To turn an old saying on its head it was a case of ‘never mind the width feel the quality’ for Bicester AC at last weekend’s Oxfordshire Track and Field Championships held at Horspath.  Somehow the 11 Bicester athletes managed to amass an impressive number of personal and season bests to collect three championships medals and a further eight second and third placings in the Spring sunshine.

Erlgean Appiahkorang-Mensah produced a dazzling display of running, hurdling, jumping and throwing earning 4 new bests and a county championship medal.  Appiahkorang-Mensah had only the one race on the Saturday which was to prove the hors d’oeuvres to his feast of competition on the Sunday.  He made his hurdling debut  in the under 15 80m hurdles championships.  Appiahkorang-Mensah produced an outstanding debut in this most demanding of technical events to finish a superb runner up clocking 12.87secs which was an EA PB level 5 performance.  He than managed to contest three events on the Sunday and was in quite superb form in each one.  He just lost out in the under 15 boy’s shot but still managed a massive new best adding 48cms to his outdoor best in putting 8.80m.  It was then on to the long jump where he produced a leap of 5.21m, his first 5 metre plus jump, which was just 17cms off the winning leap for runner up spot and was a PB level 6 performance and only 4cms away for a level 7 mark.  Far from draining his reserves for what is probably his favoured event, these events appeared to set him up for the under 15 boy’s 800m.  Appiahkorang-Mensah produced a superb run to duck under 2mins 10secs for the first with a win and another EA PB level 6 performance of 2mins 9.02secs.  His time was just .02secs off a level 7 time and was less than 4 secs off Mark Curzon’s long standing under 15 club record.

Georgia Bower, who is in her first year in the under 17 age group,  produced a scintillating jump to win the under 17 lady’s long jump championships which was not only a personal best but an EA PB level 5 mark.  Bower’s jump was 74cms ahead of the runner up jump and was one of the longest ever jumps from a Bicester female.  Bower also made the final of the under 17 women’s 100 where she finished 5th (13.60secs).  It was not only Bicester’s athletes who enjoyed a very successful competition in the long jump as Bicester AC’s long jump coach, Emily Benfield,   tasted gold in the senior ladies long jump competition with a winning leap of 4.45m.                                       

Bicester athletes were very prominent in the under 15 boy’s 1500 metres.  Neither Leo Blyton nor Darragh Cassidy had contested a competitive track race prior to the start of the season.  Competing at the junior end of the age group both ran superb races.  Blyton ran another new best and EA PB level 6 time of 4mins 38.74secs for 2nd place with Abingdon’s Nixon Gagg, who is a second year under 15, less than 3 seconds ahead.  Bicester’s Daragh Cassidy knocked lumps off his previous best to finish 4th in a PB level 5 time of 4mins 42.81secs.    

Django La Porte ran very close to his best in the 100 in finishing 3rd in the under 20 men’s 100 metres.  His time of 11.52secs, which was a PB level 4 clocking, was 0.02secs off his recently set new club record.  Kyle Rayson was in personal best form as he set a new best in the in the under 17 men’s long jump where he finished 3rd with a PB level 5 mark of 5.54m.  Rayson was also 2nd in the 100m hurdles also with a PB level 5 time of 15.50secs and also equalled his best in the high jump with a PB level 4 leap of 1.60m for 4th.  Rayson also made the final of the under 17 men’s 100m and produced one of his best ever times in the heat clocking 12.14secs.

Ella Myers Finnegan produced her best ever time in the under 15 girl’s metres for 2nd place with a 5mins 40.44secs clocking.  She was only 5 seconds behind the winning athlete.  Grace Jarvey made two finals and her PB level 6 time of 29.04secs, which she ran in the heats, was one of her fastest ever times.  She finished 7th in the under 15 girl’s 200 metre final and filled the same position in the 300m final.  As with the 200m Jarvey produced her best time in the heat clocking a PB level 4 time of 47.42secs, which was a promising first attempt at what was a new distance to her.  Jarvey also finished 9th in the long jump (3.74m). Bicester’s other two competitors both produced new bests.  Maya Korn bounced back from what was a tough outing in Saturday’s under 13 girl 1500 metres (5mins 40.16secs) to set a new best in the 800 metres of 3mins 6.48secs where she finished 7th.  And Felix Cassidy ran his first ever 1500 metres clocking 6mins 12.14secs in the under 13 boy’s race.