Athletics

Tank sets new PB at NCAA Championships, while King, Battershill and Smart impress

CITY of Plymouth’s Poppy Tank set a new 10,000m personal best as she claimed a top 10 finish at the NCAA Division One Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Tank, competing for Utah University, clocked 32:50.57 to take ninth place in the prestigious race.

However, despite running a PB and earning second team All-American honours, afterwards she admitted she had hoped for a top eight spot.

“Not the outcome I was after, but I can’t be too disappointed at my first NCAA outdoor appearance,” said Tank. “Lots of positives still to take. Time to re-group for the 5,000m on Saturday.”

Utah’s head coach Kyle Kepler said: “Poppy ran another very smart and tough race. I know she wanted to place higher, but I can’t envision asking more of an athlete than she gave in an NCAA final.

“Fifteen athletes, including Poppy, ran a lifetime best. That’s the kind of race it was. We are all incredibly proud of her.”

Meanwhile, her City of Plymouth colleague David King continued his good season by taking second in the 110m hurdles at the Motonet GP in Finland.

King clocked 13.53 seconds to finish just behind Norway’s Vladimir Vukicevic, who won with 13.49.

King’s run came just two days after he had set a new life best of 13.37 to win at the Paavo Nurmi Games also in Finland.

Closer to home, Tavistock Run Project’s Oliver Smart and Erme Valley Harriers’ Will Battershill impressed at the BMC Gold Standard meeting at Birmingham University.

Battershill, making his first competitive outing of 2021, ran his second fastest 3,000m steeplechase time of all time – and fastest on British soil – of 8:47.86 to take third behind senior internationals Zak Seddon and Jonathan Hopkins.

The time has put Battershill, who had not run over the barriers since 2019, eighth in the senior UK rankings.

Teenager Smart, meanwhile, claimed another PB this season, running 3:54.29 in the 1,500m. He has already run two 3,000m PBs this year and has run under the European Under-20 Championship qualifying time in the longer distance.

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