There were some strong performances by Bicester AC athletes in the inaugural round of the Oxfordshire Young Athletes Track and Field fixture held last Sunday at Horspath.  Over 60 new personal bests were set with several athletes excelling despite many moving into new age groups.

The race of the day was the under 17 men’s 4 by 100 metre relay with Bicester’s team comprising a cross country runner and another athlete who had just about completed changing into his Bicester vest before the starter’s gun sounded.  Thankfully the Bicester baton changeovers were smoother than the clothing transitions as Owen Stocker and Robson Matthews got the team off to a solid start. However, after two legs Bicester were back in 4th and trailing leaders Radley by some distance.  Bicester then proceeded to produce the comeback of the day as Django La Porte ran a searing bend taking the team from 4th to 1st all within the space of 100 metres.  Kyle Rayson then held his form despite facing a strong challenge from Radley, to just get the verdict on the line with the time ducking under 50secs (49.9secs).

It was quite day for Rayson, who has moved up to the under 17 age group, as he recorded a trio of wins.  Rayson was an impressive winner of the long jump beating five others with a leap of 5.30m.  He also won the shot, putting a new heavier weight to an impressive 9.10m and also added another win in the 100m hurdles (16.3secs).  La Porte ran another brilliant bend in the under 17 men’s 200 metres, and held an advantage over teammate Ben Groves who was running as a non scorer, but Groves tapped into his reserves of stamina earned, from a full season of cross country, to win with 24.60secs.  La Porte won the B string league event in 25.0secs which was a big new personal best.  La Porte also set a new best in the A 100m with 3rd and a 12secs clocking.

Owen Stocker has excelled on the cross country this season and was having only his second track outing since 2017.  Fresh from his superb road running debut on Thursday. Stocker set a trio of personal bests with a promising 4mins 31.3secs in the 1500 metres where he finished 2nd in the A event as well as a swift 60.1secs in the 400m and 2mins 18secs clocking in the 800metres.  Although it was set in a non scoring event, Robson Matthews set a new best in the long jump with 4.83m and produced a 20 plus throw metre for 3rd place in the under 17 men’s javelin (20.43m)

Naoimi Ejiogu was also in triple winning mood as she took in her first competition in the under 17 age group.  Ejiogu ran a new personal best of 12.2secs in winning the under 17 woman’s 100m and followed that up with victories in the 200m (28.1secs) and long jump (4.66m).  Bethany Wetton also competed in three events in her new age group which included 1.25m in the high jump and a 4th place in the 300m (58.9secs).

Zach O Regan made a very promising track and field debut in the boy’s quad competition putting in a strong showing in all four of the quad events to finish overall 5th out of 57 competitors with a score of 200 points in the under 11 boy’s event.  He ran a mature race to win his heat of the 600m (2mins 7.5secs) as well producing an impressive howler throw of 26.99m.  Oliver Jarvey was just 5 points being O Regan with 195 points which secured him 7th.  This included an impressive new best in the 75m of 11.5secs which was the fastest time amongst the 57 competitors.  There was a good debut performance by Tommy Lancaster who was 22nd and other Bicester placings were Shay Gallagher (32nd), Charlie Simpson (41st) and Brendan Kelly (54th).

There was an impressive sprint double in the under 15 girl’s 100m with Georgia Bower winning the A event (13.7secs) and Olivia Naidu-Johnson, up in age group first in the B event equalling her personal best of 14.4secs.  Bower also made her long awaited debut in the high jump where she cleared 1.25m for 3rd place.  There was a personal best for Grace Jarvey in the long jump where she was 2nd in the B event with 3.70m as well as a win in the B 200m (30.5secs).  Abigail Jones was 3rd in the A 1500m (6mins 18.9secs) and ran a personal best in finishing 6th in the 300m (54.8secs).  Jessica Shepherd took in her first ever track and field event and she ran well for 4th in the 800m with a new best of 3mins 6.2secs.  Yasmine Shephard competed in her first ever outdoor shot putt finishing 4th in the A event (6.04m) as well as finishing 5th in the javelin (12.03m).  And the combination of Bower, Shepherd, Sheppard and Naidu-Johnson finished a good 2nd in the 4 by 100m relay clocking 58.3secs.

The under 15 boys found wins hard to come by but still produced some cracking efforts and plenty of personal bests.  There was a keenly thought contest between two of Bicester’s best middle distance runners and eight other athletes as A and B strings were run together.  Bicester’s Erlgean Appiahkorang-Mensah and William Morris were part of three runner break away group as they both tried to hang on to the leading Radley athlete.  In the event Appiahkorang-Mensah took 2nd in a new best of 2mins 19.5secs with William Morris back in 3rd but first home in the B event (2mins 21.1secs).  One of the biggest improvers on the day was George Hart who scythed a massive 22secs off his previous 1500 metre best with 3rd in the A 1,500 metres (4mins 56.2 secs).   Hart also knocked over 4 secs off his 300m best with 46.2secs for 2nd place in the B event and also contested the B 100m sprint clocking 14.5secs for 4th in the B event.  Marcus Baker made a very good track and field debut contesting all of the A string track events from distances 100m to 300m.  He ran a very promising 42.4secs for 2nd in the A 300m and a competitive 26.8secs for 4th in the 200m.  Other Bicester athletes in the under 15 boy’s events included Max Finnegan who set a new best in the B 200m placing 5th (30.6secs).  Thomas Perry also made his track and field debut, and his efforts included a 2nd in the B shot (5.26m).

Several of Bicester AC’s under 13 contingent were new to the age group.  Given that they would only have had previous experience in the long jump makes their efforts even more meritorious.  One of the outstanding performances was from William Cleaver, competing in his first ever javelin competition.  He produced a superb effort to finish 2nd out of the 8 competing athletes in the A event where he produced a super national grade 4 effort of 24.07m with Finlay Haynes taking 3rd in the B string (16.71m).  Cleaver’s other performances included a decent looking 4th in the A 100m (15.1secs) as well as a win in the B shot (5.29m).  Haynes set two new bests with 2nd place in the shot (6.96m), which was over a metre further than his previous best, and a 2nd place in the discus with 14.84m.  Cyrus Ariana’s efforts includes two good runs on the track with 6th in the A 800m (2mins 51.5secs) and a decent 3rd in the B 200m (32.7secs).  Cameron Waters made a promising first attempt at the 1,500 metres (5mins 58.2secs) for 3rd as well as making his debut in the discus for first place in the B event (9.75m).  Jayden Beadle was 6th in the B long jump with a 2.86m effort, which was a new best, and Beadle also threw 10.13m in his first attempt in the discus, which was a non scoring event.  And Malik Haggag made his track and field debut finishing 7th in the B 100m (16.2secs.)                          

Although the under 13 girls found wins hard to come by there were some very promising performances.  Lily Childs was having her first run in the under 13 age group and she finished 4th in a very competitive long jump with a new best of 3.49m.  She also produced a good effort in the 200m for 3rd and a 32.9secs clocking and was 3rd in the B 1,500 metres (6mins 12.7secs).  Teammate Maya Korn was slightly quicker placing 5th in the A event with 6mins 10.3secs) and Korn also made her debut in the shot where she was 5th in the B event (3.52m).  Madison-Mei Caldicott, up in age group, finished 2nd in her first ever attempt at the discus (8.96m) and produced good efforts in the B long jump (a new best of 2.86m) and 100m (16.6secs) finishing 4th in both events.  Liv Babister was running in her first track and field event and her efforts included good 4ths in the A long jump (3.49m) and shot putt (3.92m).

There were four Bicester AC athletes in the under 11 girl’s quad competition in a massive field of 68 athletes with Olivia Neptune best placed Bicester athlete in 17th (148 points).  She ran the 4th fastest 75m of the day clocking 12.2secs.  Other Bicester AC finishers were Emilia Beadle who was 29th with Hannah Parson 42nd and Marissa Allum 54th.

With no under 20 events, Ben Groves competed as a non scorer and enjoyed a profitable day.  He set two new bests breaking 57secs for the first time in the 400m (56.1 secs) and leaping to 12.76m in the triple jump, which was 68cms in advance of his previous best.