WGEL Young Athletes Meeting (Minithon)

On Saturday 26th September, WGEL Young Athletes hosted their second track and field competition of the summer, catering for WGEL athletes, school years 3-9 (U11s-U15s).

The event, thanks to the hard work of WGEL club officials, took place under UKA Licensed competition rules. This provided athletes with official recorded times and distances, and for many helped established their athletics CV’s on the UKA “Power of Ten” results database.

Power of 10 Results

Athletes selected up to three events from the licensed schedule including hurdles, 75m, 150m, and 600m, Long Jump, Shot Put and Javelin (howlers). Over 100 WGEL athletes entered. The organising team seeded races on school year groups. This ensured athletes had good levels of competition, whilst having fun with age group teammates.

2020 Minithon 600m race

Autumn Le Chevalier-Jones impresses in the U11 600m

The event was organised, again using the familiar “Pods” approach under guidance from England Athletics and the UK Govt. on current Covid restrictions.  WGEL's organising team safely moved athletes in event “pods” from registration into holding, warm up and pre-race zones. At the venue, single entry and exit points were enforced and spectator numbers limited to one per athlete to control crowds and help social distancing.

Our fantastic team of WGEL volunteers also took on a host of roles ranging from warm-ups, to disinfecting start lines and rigging up electrics for our scorers (thanks Andrew Wintle!)

With everything in place, the athletes were soon under starters orders!

The windy, chilly conditions at Ashton made a challenging backdrop for our athletes. However, they were soon brightening up the sky with their performances, the first of which came in the U13 70m hurdles.

Isabelle Kyson and Lexie Gobran opened the event with great performances in gale force winds (-2.7). Isabelle’s 12.16 was just outside her PB of 11.7. Lexie’s 17.5 was a season’s best (SB) and capped a good week, having received a Jack Petchey Foundation award for outstanding achievements as an athlete at WGEL.

Isabelle Kyson followed this strong run in the U15s 75m hurdles. Isabelle’s 12.75 was again just outside her PB (12.34). Kirsten Pacey ran SB 14.46 in the same race. Huge testimony goes our hurdlers who took part in difficult conditions and whose opportunities have been very limited this season.

The next event was our 75m sprints. The Year 3 athletes got us underway with Robert James (16.46) fastest in heat 1. Ellis Gentles (12.96) recorded the quickest time in his heat with Charlie Kyson (14.32) and Lydia Sneath (15.3) close behind him. These young athletes are regulars at WASPS and their progress is a pleasure to witness.

After this race, the terrific times kept rolling in across all year groups!

75m (years 4-5): Daniel Niewczasinski-Kirkland (12.7) recorded the fastest time with Riley Michaels (12.74) and new joiners Tia Lever (13.64) and Zak Rahman (13.66) close behind.

There were also good PBs from Eva Hayford (14.02), Sofia Sneath (14.31) and Zoe Wright (14:38). Like the rest of the young squad, these athletes are benefiting from the speed work undertaken at WASPS this summer.

Year 6-7 heats followed with very impressive performances. Caitlin Hancock (11.59) dipped under 12 seconds despite windy conditions, with Azzurra Cioni (12.02) and Cassius Lowe (12.05) right behind. Caitlin has a 75m PB of 11.33 and, along with Azzurra, is starting to rank highly amongst the best UK athletes over 75m in their respective age groups.

The fastest 75m times of the day, recorded in the Year 8-9 heats, were from Rebecca Wright (11.09) and Jean Marc Harriott (11.4).

Rebecca (20.64) and Jean Marc (20.73) went on to record the fastest times in the next event, the 150m, with fellow Year 9 athlete Demi Salako (22.61). Rebecca is an outstanding all-round athlete, and her team mates are benefiting from the high standards she is setting and from the consistency they have all achieved in their sprint training over the summer with WGEL.

In Years 6-7, it was turning out to be a good day for Caitlin Hancock (22.29), Cassius Lowe and Azzura Cioni (23.68). All three athletes followed up impressive 75m runs with good performances over 150m. Special mention also goes to Ella Edwards (24.74) & Esmae Mahalingham (25.59) who both raced officially for the first time, in a positive fashion amongst a very competitive field.

In Years 4-5 Toby Taylor (23.61) was the stand-out athlete. Toby has incredibly quick feet and progress to date has been achieved off just one session a week. This gives his coaches lots of room for sensible improvements over the next few years at WGEL! Daniel Niewczasinski-Kirkland (23.64), Lawrence Foster (25.06) and Riley Michaels (25.08) were close behind and that capped a good day for them on the track.

In year 3, Ellis Gentles (25.26) and Matthew Amores (29.71) recorded impressive times, along with our fastest girls Lydia Sneath (29.99) and Grace Cherry (30.14). They should all be very proud of their results.

Meanwhile, away from the track and despite the wind, the action was hotting up in the field events.

Over 50 athletes signed up to the Long Jump. The jumps were held in Pods of 12 athletes, seeded on school years once again. The longest jump of the day was in the U15 pod from Kezia Beeton (4.63m). This was a tremendous jump from Kezia, usually seen running at the front of the middle distance endurance squad.

Caitlin Hancock (4.32m) recorded a very impressive jump from the U13s pod and a huge PB. This ranked her amongst the top UK athletes for her age group and is testimony to the hard work Caitlin has put into her Long jump. Gregor Samson (3.83m) and Leo Everitt (3.51) also jumped well in the U13s Pod and recorded PBs.

The U11 event was lit up with Azzurra Cioni (3.91m), Tia Leaver (3.57m), Riley Michaels (3.50), Daniel Niewczasinski-Kirkland (3.34) and Zac Everitt (3.26) all recording PBs.

In the U13 Shot Put Rebecca Wright (8.66m) ended her fine day of track and field with an outstanding throw. Rebecca could well be in line for an English Schools place. Alex Foster (6.06) also performed well in his first official throws event.

2020 Minithon Molly Wain Shot Put

Molly Wain hurls the shot

U15 Molly Wain (6.68) also threw very well. Molly is a talented all-round athlete, and on this evidence has good grounds to continue practising her throws and looking to progress.

Throws coach Paul Cheal and John Stow were very excited by these performances.

The final event of the day was the 600m. The windy conditions made the going slower, but the competition was fierce throughout the age groups in this “Blue Ribband” event!

Years 3-4 got proceedings under way. Charlie Kyson (2m24.45), Lydia Sneath (2m27.39), Grace Cherry (2m42.51) and Megan Williams (3m01.55) ran terrific plucky races in the wind. Charlie, in particular paced his race very well in the conditions.

Years 4-5 were equally competitive. Toby Taylor (2m06.34) was again outstanding, while our talented middle distance runners, Sofia Sneath (2m12.88), Sophia Parker (2m18.32), Oskar Prince (2m18.43) and Zoe Wright (2m21.12) all ran well.

The year 6-7 heats were also exceptional. Natasha Wynn (1m.56.4) led heat 5 home. Natasha is in superb form and has been steadily improving this summer as she builds her experience of track running. She is already producing times that put her amongst the top middle distance runners in her age group in the UK.

Autumn Le Chevalier-Jones (2m01.81) showed once again that she is firmly back as a top UK ranking U11 athlete, and she was in great company with Ella Edwards (2m01.87), Faye Owers (2m05.49) and Eliza Bridges (2m05.79) right behind. In fair conditions, all these girls would have been capable of going under 2 minutes. They are an exciting team to watch as they progress together.

Year 6-7 boys were led home by Rudy Park-Bayes (2m05.36), Jhonathan Ghebretinsae (2m07.21) & and Felix Lammin (2m12.3). Rudy ran a very grown up race in the older U15s heat (due to a scoring judge list misprint!). Again, these boys are also an exciting team and we look forward to them progressing over the winter as they build their endurance, with Zac Everitt (2m15.43) and Stephen Ng (2m18.42) pushing them all the way.2020 Minithon 600m race 2

Nate Harding and Rosemary Kelly set the 600m pace early on

WGEL international middle distance runner Abigail Reid was sadly absent, but her Year 8-9 teammates put on a fine show. Nate Harding (1m43.79) led the pack home. Nate has suffered from injuries in recent months and this was a fine run as part of his recovery. Behind Nate, Rosemary Kelly (1m53.93), Isabella Worwood (1m57.01), Gregor Samson (1:57.44) and Patrick Hayden (1m59.55) competed in a fine race, all dipping under 2 minutes, with Emily Millward (2m.00.68) just a fraction of a second behind.

Once again, the biggest cheer of the day came for our young “toddlers” races. The children (Year 2 and below) were tremendous in their 60m and 150m races. This time they managed to stop at the finish line and not cause the judges too many issues chasing around the track, but there were many laughs created at their showboating and waving to the crowd.

This closed the event for the day. Huge thanks must go to everyone involved, from our teams of coaches and officials to our scorers and judges and, of course, our parents, friends and family who got our athletes safely to and from the event to light up the windy grey skies with their positive, shining performances.

We cannot wait until the next one. Up the WGEL!