Athletes shine in Sheffield

ST ALBANS AC are celebrating two medal-winning performances with both Christian Gaddes and James McMurray securing podium finishes at the English Schools Championships at Sheffield s Don Valley Stadium. The Westminster Lodge-based club had 12 athletes who

ST ALBANS AC are celebrating two medal-winning performances with both Christian Gaddes and James McMurray securing podium finishes at the English Schools Championships at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium.

The Westminster Lodge-based club had 12 athletes who had gained qualification for the prestigious championships and national rankings suggested both Gaddes and McMurray were leading contenders.

The gold medal was tantalisingly close for Gaddes in the Junior boys 80m hurdles with hopes high after he clocked the quickest time of 11.25 secs in the qualification heats.

But, lining up in the final alongside St Albans team-mate Luke Yaxley, Gaddes failed to get the flying start he wanted and was unable to claw back Staffordshire's James Taylor, who he had beaten in his heat.

Gaddes' final time was 11.33secs with Marlborough pupil Yaxley finishing a highly creditable sixth in 12.03secs.

McMurray's bronze came in the Junior 1500m with a time of 4mins 8.96secs.

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But just edged out of the medals was Joel McNeill.

His fourth place in 51.2 secs in the Junior 400m was a massive personal best but the quality of the opposition was reflected in the new championship record of 48.86secs set by Manchester-based winner Clovis Asong.

Also close to the podium was Jake Awe, who attends Sandringham School. His triple jump of 12.4m secured fifth.

Club coach Tim Higman said: "I was delighted with all the performances.

"Christian may have been put off slightly by an earlier false in his final but that is what championships are all about, being the best on the day.

"We also had Chris Hilton (Junior 800m), Megan Steer (Junior 800m), Alicia Tymon-McEwan (Junior 75m hurdles and 4x100m relay), Abi Wilde (14th in Junior javelin with 30.74m) and Jason Tang (Junior 80m hurdles), who have all gained valuable experience of what it is like to compete in this sort of event. That should stand them in good stead for the future."

In the Inter girls triple jump, Abi Holman was 11th with a jump of 10.76m.

l Laura Farrar produced a comprehensive victory in the U17 women's 1500m on Sunday at Bedford as St Albans virtually assured themselves a slot in the end of season B Final with fourth place in their latest Eastern Young Athletes League match.

Farrar's win completed a successful week for the STAGS pupil which had opened with her winning the U17 1500m at the East Of England Championships at Cambridge.

The St Albans team lost out to Peterborough for third place by only two points (628pts-626pts) in the seven-team fixture which was won by hosts Bedford (768pts) from Luton (637pts).

Other noteworthy efforts came from Rowan Seglah, who again improved the club record with a 2.20m clearance in the U15 girls pole vault.

Luke Yaxley's winning time of 11.6secs in the U15 boys 80m hurdles was a new PB.

The U13 girls won their category with Lucy Dicks' 1.43m high jump and Alice Townend's 8.12m shot putt, two of the best performances.

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