Sat 2 Sept 2017, Alexander Stadium, Birmingham
Saturday 2nd September saw a brilliant team performance from Preston Harriers in the Blue Ribbon event of the athletic season, the UK National final of the Lower Youth Development League at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham. The team consisted of 56 under 13/15 boys and girls who had previously qualified by finishing 2nd to Sale Harriers in the Northern Premier 1 Division, which is the top division of 51 teams that make up the Northern Area Section of the YDL. The National Final comprises 8 teams, 2 from each Area Section which included Preston Harriers, Sale Harriers, Swansea Harriers AC , Southampton AC, Havering AC, Cardiff Archers, Edinburgh AC and Blackheath & Bromley H & AC.

The 50-event competition was a hard fought affair, which saw Sale Harriers battle through to take the honours and be crowned National Champions. However, Preston finished 6th, the highest position the club has reached since the League’s inception, with a tally of 25 medals, again a club record.

The under 15 boys’ results saw excellent performances on the day from Liam Blackwell and Alex Kerfoot in the 800m A and B races, both claiming gold in times of 2:07:01 and 2:11:81 respectively. Alex Bernstein achieved the double by winning gold in both discus (A) and hammer (A) with impressive throws of 35.43m and 52.57m. David Homer won silver in shot (B) with a putt of 10.05m and Theo Bishop won silver in the discus (B) (26.12m) and gold in the hammer (B) with a throw of 28.62m.

The under 15 girls won 9 medals in total, which included brilliant bronze performances from Abigail Earnshaw in the 300m (B) race in a time of 44:21 and Annabel Duffy in the 800m (A) race in a time of 2:25:77. Grace Brown completed the individual races with a well-deserved silver in the 800m (B) race in a time of 2:26:11. The field events saw Abbey Codarin win silver in the Hammer (A) with a throw of 33.52m and Macey Noblett win a bronze in the (B) with a throw of 24.26m. Multi-Event athletes Lauren Tunstall and Evie Parkinson won bronzes in the javelin (A) and (B) with throws of 28.93m and 27.11m respectively. Lauren also claimed gold in the shot (B) with an impressive putt of 9.19m to complete an excellent day of throwing from all the girls. A stunning 4 x 100m relay performance from Lois Carroll, Alesha Azonubi, Kiki O’Donoghue and anchor leg Megan Jackson in a time of 51:67 saw the girls claim 3rd place and a bronze medal.

The under 13 boys saw ‘find of the season’ Archie Dowds claim 100m (A) silver and 200m (A) gold in times of 13:24 and 25:93. Newcomer Isaac Mabaya won a blistering silver in the 100m (B) race in a time of 12:89 and George Lowe competing in the high jump (B) won bronze with an impressive clearance of 1.35m.

Finally, the under 13 girls’ performances started with an excellent bronze medal performance from Eleanor Noblet in the 75m (A) race in a time of 10:44 and a silver in the long jump (B) with a distance of 4.24m. This was followed by an emphatic running display from Imogen Blackwell who won gold in the 800m (A) race in a time of 2:25:22 and with her brother Liam’s 800m success earlier secured the family team performance of the day. Superb running from Emily Rankin ensured silver success in the 70m hurdles in a time of 12:26 and Molly Parkinson ended the Harriers’ medal haul with a hard -fought silver in the shot (B) with a putt of 7.88m.

Congratulations to all the Preston Harriers Athletes, Team Managers, Coaches, Club Officials and Parents for their wonderful efforts throughout the season and for making the final such an enjoyable and memorable one.