On a day when the weather switched from dry and pleasant to breezy, wet and cold a quartet of records fell at the Sussex County Track and Field Championships.
The morning at K2, Crawley started out cloudy but still and just like last year it was the throws rather than the track where the first Championship Best Performances (CBP’s) were recorded.
In 2017, Worthing’s Ben Hawkes set an early CBP in the Hammer adding nearly ten metres to the previous U17 mark. Now an under 20, Hawkes was after Matt Lasis six-year-old record of 63.86m and he exceeded it with every one of his four legal throws, the best of which was a magnificent 67.43m.
Scott Staples presently tops the UK U20 Men’s javelin rankings, so it was no surprise that the Crawley athlete excelled, with four of his five throws bettering his own 2017 CBP. His best effort was 62.08m and though this was three metres down on his recent achievement, it was a superb performance as the conditions were rapidly deteriorating.
Crawley's Katie Bristowe has been a hurdles gold medallist, both indoors and out, at every Sussex Championship since 2016 and her winning streak continued with a dominant performance in the U17W 80mH race. Bristowe won in a CBP of 11.49s from club mate Abigail Packham whose 11.82s was also a personal best and her first sub 12 second run.
The U15 Girls 300m was introduced in 2016 and each year, so far, the CBP has been broken. This time it was the turn of Horsham’s Cleo Tomlinson, who controlled the race to pull through in the last 100m and take 6/100ths from Molly Swingler’s 2017 time for the win in 42.14s. This was to be the first of three gold medals and two CBP’s for Tomlinson across the weekend. She later won the 100m from Eastbourne’s Harriet Armstrong both of them clocking PB's of 12.69s and 12.84s respectively. The following day she extended her own CBP in the Long Jump by 10 centimetres to 5.40m.
In the U17 Women’s 300m race Crawley’s Poppy Oliver triumphed in 41.86s ahead of Swingler. This was 'number one' of a quartet of gold medals the multi-talented Oliver would take home as she returned on Sunday to win the 300m Hurdles, the 200m and alongside her U17W club mates the 4x100m relay gold.
The Senior Men’s 5000m race was stacked with last year’s gold and silver medallists, Brighton & Hove veteran Howard Bristowe and his club mate Kevin Moore, in the field of 18. Missing from the 2017 line up was Crawley's Paul Navesey but he imposed himself immediately on this year's race. Navesey led a group of four, who broke away early, however he waited until the final lap to move effortlessly into another gear and sprint away from Moore, Ben Savill and Bernie Spannagl to take the win by seven seconds in 14:50.09. Moore held on and was rewarded with silver once again and Savill won the battle for bronze.
For the county’s youngest athletes there is an Under 13 Minithon on both days. On Saturday it was the turn of the girls and 54 competed with each required to do a throw, a jump and a run. East Grinstead’s Grace McCullogh was strong all round (4.10m LJ, 8.51m Shot and 21.1s 150m). She won the title with 79 points, 20 ahead of the silver medallist Horsham’s Madeleine Way.
by Melanie Anning