On Friday 19th February EUAC headed up to Sheffield for the BUCS Indoors Champs, a 3-day competition which sees British Universities battle it out for crowning glory. More than half of our youthful squad were competing in their first ever BUCS Indoors this year. Despite this EUAC had their most successful championship for well over 5 years (at least!), with one of the weekends highlights being Matt Blandford’s silver medal in the shot, a huge club record. This was coupled with many of our athletes achieving great PBs, top 10 places and progressing through to semi-finals. The weekend further demonstrated how talented our EUAC Track & Field team is and how gifted we are with so many hot future prospects.
The first event of the weekend was the 60m where Jake Mair (7.25s) and Jordan Cochrane (7.55s) both ran huge PBs. Following this Becca Silk ran her second fastest 60m ever and Kelly McMahon ran her quickest 60m in two years. Luke McWilton then represented us in the 800m, though unfortunately suffered calf pain early on in the race. Luke being a plucky character didn’t let this injury stop him and still finished in a respectable time! Making her championship debut Suzie Reid qualified for the 800m semi final with a 2nd place finish in her heat. Despite running a time of 2:17.55 in the semis, she missed out on a place in the finals by 0.4s, a position snatched by the overall winner Julie Dobbin.
The day's event saw Jake Mair and Jordan Cochrane run in the 200m, doing themselves proud when up against two tricky steeply banked bends. Likewise, Becca Silk did brilliantly, knocking over half a second off her 200m PB which is quite an achievement in sprints. Leading by example, Olivia Dyer ran an absolutely storming heat and semi final in the 200m. Meeting her match in a tricky heat against a Team GB International, Meghan Beasley, she stuck with the Olympian and helped smashed her previous PB of 25.88s. The semi-final saw Olivia run nearly a second faster than she did in the semi-finals the previous year, coming a respectable 3rd and showing that hard work and training on track and the gym really does pay off.
Racing his first 400m in two years Jack Lynch put in an impressive performance over the two lap course, fighting back from his previous injuries and demonstrating a fluid and efficient running technique! This performance was backed by fellow debutant Max Beeching, who has improved greatly since his season opener in Cardiff last month. Sarah Kearsey showed her BUCS experience and class by running her quickest time in three years with a 60.89s 400m clocking. This allowed her to progress through to the semis where she put in another top performance while donning to EUAC colours. EUAC golden girl, Nicole Kendall, showed her international pedigree in the 400m heat, blowing away the field and winning by over 3 seconds, outstanding! While this qualified her for the semi-finals she found herself incredibly unlucky, missing the qualification by a whisker, despite setting a new speedy indoor PB. Though the qualification criteria seemed unfair, with her tenacity and hardworking attitude, we’re fully confident she’ll bounce back with even more speed come next season!
Having spent the last four weeks on the physio’s table, Joe Saissi was relishing the prospect of running with no pressure or expectations for a win. Despite this, Joe qualified for the 1500m semi-finals clocking one of his personal best performances with a time of 4:03.33. Unfortunately, disaster struck during his warm-up for the semi, pain in his calf meaning he couldn't put in the performance he would have like. Nevertheless, his determination to race and speedy spring finish mean he is certainly one to watch out for at BUCS Outdoors.
In the 4x200m relays the boy’s quartet ran EUAC’s fastest time in over 5 years with a rapid 1:34.93. Even more impressive considering Jordan, Jake, Jack and Tom Beckett have never raced together before! The girl’s quartet of Nicole, Sarah, Becca and Olivia embarrassed their competition by winning their heat by over 5 seconds – which in sprinting terms is a marathon! This set a new club record which I am sure will stand for many years to come. They were within an inch of making the final, finishing 7thoverall with only 6 teams making the final. The four of them did the club hugely proud and the club are to greatly looking forward to watching the quartet reunited and running together soon at BUCS Outdoors.
Onto the jumps and Alex Painting jumped an impressive 1.90m with a huge clearance in his third attempt at this height. Showing great potential it will be a pleasure to watch Alex outperform himself at BUCS Outdoors this summer, watch out! Alex Hancock and Liza Keleynova both donned the white and green putting in a sterling set of jumps for the EUAC team. Liza took this winning attitude to the long jump too, where she was joined by Tom Beckett in his return from a problem season of injuries. Discus thrower, Matt Blandford, competed for EUAC in the shot. During qualification he topped his pool, easily securing the automatic qualification distance in a new PB. Showing he’s a big performer Matt went on to pull out a huge 15.05m in the final to break his own club record and seal a silver medal (and two crème eggs from a bet with Sonya). This is EUAC’s first BUCS medal since 2009 and is great recognition for all the countless hours Matt has slogged it out in the gym and at the Exeter Arena.
Overall, the weekend was hugely enjoyable and the most successful EUAC has had for many years. What impressed the most was the outstanding team spirit shown. Whenever EUAC were on the track it is sure to say that every other University in the country knew, as we loudly cheered our athletes as they ran, jumped and threw! On a final note, a huge thanks goes out to Olivia for all the hours of organisation she invested in making the trip such a huge success. We’re all greatly thankful for all her hard work and cannot wait to be reunited together for the BUCS Outdoor Champs later this year.