West & National Open T&F Championships

Gold for Harris on Day 1 of West District T&F Championships, Kilmarnock

Ten of the junior Harriers travelled down the coast to Kilmarnock for Day one of the West District Track & Field Championships. All were competing in the 800 metres; and for 6 it was their first time in a major track competition. Despite the lack of experience among the group, it was a day of outstanding performances with amazingly every single athlete recording a personal best for the two lap race.

In the morning session the under 15 girls’ heats got underway with Francesca McKay showing her potential as she kept herself in contention over the first 400m by reaching the bell in 77 seconds. Despite fading in the 2nd lap it was a more than a satisfactory performance as she held on for 6th place. In the following heat Katie Johnson having just moved up an age group looked strong but just missed out by a couple of seconds of advancing to the final.

The under 15 boys’ heats followed, with Harris Morrison and Jude Dolan drawn together.  Harris hit the front early on and comfortably ran clear of the field for the win. Jude’s aim was to hit a new best time but with the strong winds blowing this made it look unlikely; but a determined second lap saw him finish 6th and slice a second off his previous quickest time.

In the afternoon session the under 13’s ran their heats as timed finals. Ava Beaton was seeded in the quickest heat but despite challenging throughout she just slipped off the leading three to miss out on a championship medal. A 12 second personal best on her first track race of the year gives plenty of promise for the rest of the summer.

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In the final heat it was the Harriers youngest girls’ Erin McEleny, Summer Taggart, and Leah Knox who were all competing in their first West event. And what a contest it turned out to be as the 3 battled it out in their own personal Glenpark race. Summer had taken an early lead but was clawed back as the trio reached the bell together. But probably the biggest surprise was that it was Leah who then pushed ahead and broke clear with Summer then Erin following close behind.

David Docherty and Euan Johnson were in the slowest seeded third heat but the pair went out full of determination chasing down the leader from Giffnock. Into the home straight David went onto his rivals shoulder and kicked on and looked to have taken the win on the line, but astonishingly both were given the exact same time. Euan faded slightly but showed grit to hold on for 3rd. David’s time was unfortunately just outside the medals but he should be delighted to finish with the 5th quickest time in the district.

The last race – the U15 boys 800m final – provided the highlight of the Day. In a week where there were amazing fightbacks in the Champions league involving Liverpool & Spurs, this race more than matched those exploits.

Harris Morrison after earlier winning his heat, went into the final with the 4th quickest time, with an outside chance of a medal. At half-way he was trailing in 6th, but after going through in 66seconds it looked like a PB was going to be a considerable consolation. But then at the 600m mark he started to close the gaps and a bronze began to look a possibility. Harris then stormed around the final bend to move into 3rd. At 700 metres the leaders turned into the strong wind down the home straight and as everyone around him seemed to buckle, Harris flew into the lead for a stunning victory for his 2nd successive 800m district gold.

A special thanks to coaches Duncan MacNeill, Kenny Morrison and Stevie McLoone for preparing the young athletes for their competition on the day.

Results:

U15 Girls: Katie Johnson 2.40.26; Francesca McKay 2.51.13;

U15 Boys: Harris Morrison: Heat 2.19.14; Final 2.13.16; Jude Dolan 2.29.58;

U13 Girls: Ava Beaton 2.35.67 , Leah Knox 3.00.32; Summer Taggart 3.03.76; Erin McEleny 3.05.55

U13 Boys: David Docherty 2.35.95; Euan Johnson 2.48.62.

Day 1 of Under 20/ Seniors National Open, Grangemouth

There was fine early season form by the quartet of Harriers competing in the National Open at Grangemouth. Drew McIntyre went in the 100 metres dash with Scott Hannaway, Mark Magee and Scott McCluckie taking on the 400metres.

Drew was impressive finishing 3rd in both his heat and final in the 100 metres and now at last looks to be getting back in shape after injury.

In the quarter mile final, Scott Hannaway was the fastest under 20 (2nd overall), overcoming Pitreavie’s Billy Doyle who had won the earlier heat. This result is encouraging for Scott, having just moved up from the under 17 age category.

The consistency in the times recorded in both heats and finals from all four demonstrates the good endurance of the group and a testament to the work they are putting in to training, as they look forward to the summer months and the National competition in August.

Results:

100m: Drew McIntyre 11.55 / 11.58

400m: Scott Hannaway 49.94 / 50.33; Scott McCluckie 53.15 / 53.00; Mark Magee 56.25 / 56.32

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