CITY of Plymouth athlete Victoria Weir consolidated her position in the UK’s top five for the under-20 women’s 1,500m steeplechase event by clocking a new personal best at the South West Schools’ Championships at Exeter.
Weir, running for Devon, powered to victory in the senior girls’ race with a time of five minutes and 3.82 seconds.
She was pushed hard, though, by Tavistock’s Tess Masselink, who is now ranked sixth in the UK after smashing her PB with 5:07.54.
Fellow local distance runner Poppy Tank also set a new lifetime best in the 1,500m flat at Exeter. She destroyed the field in senior girls’ race to win by 12 seconds in a time of 4:38.16. That ranks her in the country’s top 30 at under-20 level.
Erme Valley’s Sammie Harris continued her good season with victory in the junior girls’ 75m hurdles and second in a high-quality long jump.
Harris, who is ranked joint fourth in the UK in the hurdles, clocked 11.34 seconds to equal her PB in that event and then leaped to a wind-assisted 5.51 metres in the long jump.
The Erme Valley athlete, who is ranked second in the UK pentathlon rankings, was just edged out in the long jump by Somerset’s Victoria McCabe, who claimed a wind-assisted 5.53m, to move up to third in national rankings.
Harris, however, did have the longest legal jump on the day with 5.38 metres
Plymouth’s Jenna Bierton enjoyed success for Devon in the senior women’s 100m hurdles, with a time of 15.52 seconds. She also came second in the triple jump.
There were wins for Tavistock’s Josh Blake and Erme Valley’s Nathan Brown in the 800m.
Blake won the senior race with a time of 1:56.75, while Brown triumphed in the intermediate event with 2:00.22.
City of Plymouth’s Jess Strange comfortably won the senior 400m by stopping the clock at 59.91.
The South West Schools’ Championships and the British Under-23 Championships did mean the Plymouth team competing in the Southern Athletics League was understrength for their third match of the season at Perivale.
The side, a combination of athletes from City of Plymouth, Erme Valley and Tavistock, had won their opening two fixtures but in the absence of so many of their talent youngsters they had to settle for third place at Perivale, behind a combined Ealing, Southall and Middlesex side and Wycombe.
However, they did have some notable performances, particularly from Matt Sumner and Dean Smith.
Sumner ran a season’s best time of 49.31 to win the senior men’s A 400m. Smith won the B race in 53.12, a season’s best for him also, before he came second in the A 800m in 1:56.54 and won the B 5,000m in 18:05.84.
Matthew Bradley enjoyed more success in the 2,000m steeplechase, winning in a time of 6:38.18.
Luke Sings claimed the men’s A discus with a throw of 35.34 metres, while Hayley Harvey claimed the women’s A 800m in 2:17.57 and the men’s 4x400m relay was first home.