Seventeen Blackpool Wyre and Fylde athletes travelled to Sheffield to contest the Northern Athletics Indoor Championships – one of the highlights of the winter indoor athletics season.
The team came home with nine medals – two gold, five silver and two bronze.
Blackpool’s newest international athlete, James Davies, triumphed in his favourite event, the long jump, with a leap of 7.15m – 20cm further than the runner-up.
In fact, James was unlucky not to come away with another gold in the triple jump, where he set a new championship best of 14.37m, only to lose out on countback, to Matthew Holden, of Lincoln Wellington AC.
Lytham’s sprint starlet, Sophie Riley, was the club’s other gold medallist in the Under-17 women’s 200m in a time of 25.46secs. Sophie also took silver in the 60m, in 7.90s.
Kirkham accounted for three of the club’s five silver medals. Tash Gardner struck gold in the Under-15 girls’ 200m in 26.44s. Her former Carr Hill schoolmates, Katy Wyper and Lucy Mansfield had their own private battle in the Under-20 women’s 200m, with Sophie taking silver in 26.56s, and Lucy the bronze in 26.63s.
In the field events, Loryn McCudden won silver in the Under-20 women’s pole vault with a clearance of 2.70m.
Blackpool’s other bronze was also in the pole vault, where Matt Walker cleared 3.70m in the Under-17 men’s.
Five other BWFAC athletes made the finals of their respective events. Tanya Wright just missed the medals in the Under-20 women’s pole vault where she cleared 2.50m.
Freckleton’s nationally ranked teenager, Beth Towers, was placed seventh in the Under-20 women’s 60m hurdles with a time of 9.88s.
Over in Manchester, 11 Blackpool athletes competed in the Vault Manchester event, which attracted competitors in age groups spanning an amazing 46 years. Although the club produced no individual winners in the various categories, Matt Walker came a creditable third. in the Under-17 men’s event with a good clearance of 3.72m, with other bronze medal performances recorded by Alicia Roylance, who cleared 2.17m in the Under-17 women’s and David Jones in the Under-15 boy’s with 2.52m.
In the Mid-Lancs Cross-Country League fixture at Burnley’s Towneley Park, the senior teams all fielded a full squad. The senior women’s team led by Caroline Betmead (fifth) took second place behind the exceptionally strong Borders trio. In the men’s event, Luke Berry (13th) was again BWFAC’s leading athlete with John Wright, Perry Mann, John Houghton, Chris Lloyd and Chris Essex-Crosby making up the team that came seventh overall.
There were some great results for the juniors. Hannah Eadie and Ella Moulding were 11th and 12th in the Under-13 girls’ race, while George Robinson took 17th in the boys’ event.
In the Under-13s, Molly Scarr, Fiona Hockey, Deni Impett and Annie Bradshaw were third overall.
The Under-15 strong girls’ team romped to another win – Jodie Ferguson winning and Molly Betmead in fifth, Kelly Smith (eighth) and Lucy Minns (18th). Kate Lawler and Alex Quarmby made up a strong squad.
n The Knavesmire Brass Monkeys Half-Marathon in York attracted almost 2,000 participants. Bev Wright (1hr 28mins 40secs) headed over the border into Yorkshire to participate, taking third place in the V45 category.
Bianca Pederson strode to second place in the women’s Under-17 event.