Friday 21st February saw EUAC make their yearly trip of the indoor competition season to Sheffield for the BUCS Gatorade Nationals.
Suffering from some late withdrawals due to injury, the team was nonetheless strong, highly motivated and, as usual, very vocal in support of its competitors, ensuring a great atmosphere. In search of good performances and Personal Bests and up against a high standard of competition, they did not disappoint.
Friday afternoon saw Kelly McMahon, Becca Jones and Nick Logan posting strong performances in the 60m, while Shawn Wee raced to a new PB of 7.28s. Shawn also competed in the 60m Hurdles, an event which was eventually won by GB London 2012 Olympian Andrew Pozzi.
Eleanor Johnson and Jack Gavin, who smashed his PB by 20s, ran in the 1500m race. New EUAC member Charlotte Cornwell performed well in the 800m, followed by Chris Churcher and Sarah Kearsey racing well in the 400m. Later, Mike Robinson and Club Captain, Ollie Garrod achieved identical times at 9min18s in the men’s 3000m. Unfortunately, the standard of competition was incredibly high this year, and EUAC’s athletes were yet to make it past the heats despite some decent performances.
Nevertheless this was to change. In the women’s 3000m, following a strong Cross Country season, hopes were high for both X country Captain, Steph McCall and Vicky Budd, who both qualified for the final.
Saturday evening saw what commentators called the ‘carnage’ of the 4x200m. This indoors-only event saw a strong display from EUAC’s women. The team of Olivia Dyer, Laurence Thill, Kearsey and Jones came home just one second behind the uni record, whilst the men’s team posted some quick splits.
In the field, track and field captain, Laurence Thill, competed well in the women’s Long Jump, while Richard Holland and James Diamond went in the men’s event, notably with Diamond jumping 6.38m. Meanwhile, Adam Snape narrowly missed out on the High Jump final, clearing 1.80m in his qualifying round.
The highlight of the field events was surely Ashley Mahlmeister breaking the uni record in her Triple Jump qualifying round, hop, stepping and jumping to 11.04m. This was enough to ensure her progression to the final on Sunday where she recorded another consistent jump at 10.98m. This was all the more remarkable, given that she had only resumed training for the event several weeks beforehand.
On the Sunday, Dyer and Jones raced in the women’s 200m, clocking 27.21 and 26.73s, respectively. Zac Cannon gained a SB in the men’s with 23.62s.
Then came the eagerly anticipated women’s 3000m, where only Exeter, Loughborough and Birmingham had two athletes in the final. In an extremely tactical race, Budd and McCall ran well, finishing 7th and 10th, respectively. Budd ran a PB of 10.28.41, while McCall improved in impressive style from her heat.
The team overall gave a strong performance, as usual, punching above their weight against the more athletics-based universities. All this, plus some hard training over the coming months ensures that there is plenty more to come from EUAC looking towards the summer season.
By Sarah Kearsey (eds Clare Parkin)