WILL BATTERSHILL, Poppy Tank and Victoria Weir all played crucial roles as the region’s junior athletics team continued to dominate their division in the UK Youth Development League.
Team DC, made up of athletes from Devon and Cornwall, sit top of the Midland’s Premier South West Division in the under-20 and under-17 age group after three meetings.
After claiming a comfortable victory by 90 points at the weekend in Cheltenham, Team DC will go into their final meeting next month in Wales, three points ahead of nearest rivals Team Avon.
Erme Valley Harriers’ athlete Battershill (pictured above) showed his versatility to not only win his main event, the 2,000m steeplechase in the men’s under-20 section, but also the 400m hurdles.
Battershill clocked 60. 1 seconds for the 400m hurdles before running 6:03.0 to win the steeplechase event by more than a minute.
The Ivybridge Community College athlete does have a best this season of 5:51.57 for that disciple. That has been good enough to keep him at the top of the UK rankings for most of the season. However, he has just been edged of the top by American High School champion Jack Jibb, who has declared his intention to run for Great Britain – the country of his birth.
Jibb, however, is less than one second faster than Battershill, which should give the Erme Valley Harrier confidence considering Jibb won the Unites States High Schools’ Championships with that time.
Tavistock’s Will Dax won the B heat of the 2,000m steeplechase at Cheltenham in 7:05.4. He also won the 3,000m flat in 9:26.5, with Erme Valley’s Owen Parkin winning the B event in 9:37.1.
City of Plymouth athlete Tank, like Battershill, also won two events at Cheltenham.
She triumphed in the under-20 women’s 800m in a time of 2:20.0 and the 1,500m in 4:43.2, with Jess Strang (5:19.7) claiming victory in the B 1,500m race.
Her City of Plymouth team-mate Weir was dominant in the under-20 women’s 3,000m with a run of 10.25.5.
Weir (pictured) is ranked in the top five in the 1,500m steeplechase and it is that event where she will be looking for English Schools’ success next month.
Cornwall’s Sam Lane De Courtin also showed good long distance form. He won the men’s under-20 800m in 1:59.6 and the 1,500m in 4:05.0. Team DC colleague Josh Blake won the B 1,500m in 4:06.4.
Cornish throwers Patrick Swan and Kieran Westlake were also dominant in Cheltenham. Swan won the hammer (42.17m), shot (13.51m) and discus (45.96m), while Westlake won the javelin (47.64m) and took B titles in the discus (37.23m), hammer (28.18m) and shot (12.08m).
There were also senior men’s A victories for Jordan Walklett in the triple jump (13.53m) and Jamie Anderson in the high jump (1.85m).
Team DC claimed A and B victories in the under-17 400m courtesy of Jack Nancarrow (52.2) and Joe Bacon (53.9).
Also in the under-17 men, Finlay McClear won the A 800m (2:06.5) and 400m hurdles (60.6), Aidan Kent the 1,500m (4:21.0), Jack Moncur the javelin (54.10) and Kieran Madden the shot (11.93).
Apart from Tank and Weir’s successes in the women’s under-20, there were also wins for Claudia Carlyon in the 400m hurdles (72.4), Melissa Bird, who was competing up an age group, in the discus (34.42), Alice Piper, another under-17 taking part in the under-20s, in the javelin (25.05), Lottie Jose in the triple jump (10.58), Rebecca Gray in the high jump (1.66) and pole vault (3.60).
Molly Cowdery also claimed the high jump and pole vault titles in the under-17 age group with 1.55m and 3.80m, respectively, while Jade Kinsey won the 300m in 42.5 seconds and Layla Stuart the javelin with a throw of 31.51.
Team DC also dominated the 4x400m relay events for under-20 women and under-17 men.
The final meeting in the league will take place on July 26 at Mountain Ash, Wales.
Meanwhile, City of Plymouth athlete Jenna Beirton came fourth in the senior girls’ event at the South West Schools’ Combined Events Championships at Yeovil with 3,642 points.
However, there was disappointment for Sammie Harris, who went into the event ranked second in the UK, and Emily Bee, ranked 9th, in the junior girls’ pentathlon event. They were not able to produce their best and finished outside of the medals. They were the only two athletes of the 22 starters who did not achieve PBs in Yeovil.
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