WOKING Athletic Club’s youngsters came home with a 25-medal haul from the Surrey County Championships last weekend.
Overall, Woking took a fab four gold medals, while also bagging 10 silvers and 11 bronze medals – upping their impressive total from last year’s event.
Athletes from the Sheerwater club aged 13 and upwards took their place among the 1,500-strong field over at the Kingsmeadow Athletic Stadium in Kingston-upon-Thames.
Surrey’s championship is renowned for being one of the most prestigious county events across the country, and as such is the biggest competition of their young lives for many of the participants.
With many of the sportsmen, women, boys and girls top ranked in the country their respective sports’ age groups, Woking’s team knew that they would have to pull out all the stops to come away with any silverware – or gold.
Although, the club can proudly boast a number of their own high-flyers, with four athletes from their under-13s ranked in the top 10 of their individual disciplines nationwide – an unprecedented record for the club in recent years. One of the myriad of highlights of the weekend came in the girls’ long jump where Lucy Eaton soared 4.75 metres to land a magnificent personal best on her way to winning gold.
As well as topping the podium, the huge leap was just short of the championship record: a few grains of sand shy of a Woking club record which has stood since the 1960s. The distance also currently ranks her sixth in the UK, which is a fantastic achievement in what is one of the most popular events in the country.
In the very same event, Woking picked up another medal after a fantastic performance from Poppy Walters, who produced a huge personal best of 4.32m to claim a brilliant bronze.
In the U13 girls’ high jump there was another great spring from Izzy Leikis who launched herself to a superb personal best of 1.46m, which now ranks her equal sixth in the country.
Despite the PB, it was still only good enough for second place on the rostrum, with Leikis just loosing out on top spot after a count back; showing the high standard of the competition.
There was double medal delight for George Hopkins in the U13 boys’ event. Having already shown his dexterity to land silver in the high jump, Hopkins displayed his versatility by claiming gold in the javelin.
A huge personal best throw of 32.64m was enough to blow all the opposition away, and in doing so, move himself up into 10th in the country.
Another Woking thrower ranked in the top 10 in the country is Isabella Jansens. Already ranked seventh before the competition, Jansens cemented her position among the country’s best young discus throwers with a great throw of 24.88m to earn silver.
Woking’s best track performance of the day came from Dan Farley in the U17 men’s 400m; showing that hard work and dedication pays off. Running a superbly judged race, Farley knocked nearly a second off his best ever time from last season to win the gold medal in 51.41 seconds, which ranks him just outside the top 30 in the country.
The medals just kept coming for Woking; Kyah Ellis completing a great weekend of competition by picking up silver in the long and triple jump.
Unfortunate not to pick up a win in the long jump after some very narrow-looking red flags, Ellis had to settle for silver with a jump of 4.86m.
With a medal in the bag, she then produced her best ever triple jump of a staggering 10.63m to claim a great silver medal.
Elsewhere in the jumps, Ryan Lees was just 1cm short of his personal best, jumping an impressive 5.25m to take third, while team-mate Dylan Spencer also bagged a bronze medal in the U13 event with a personal best performance.
Meanwhile adult long jumper Aaron Scovell picked up a silver medal in the U20 men’s long jump.
On the track Tumi Araga was up against 40 other competitors in the U15 girls’ 200m and had to fight through the heats – including a huge personal best of 26.69s in the semi-final – before crossing the line fourth in the final, just missing out on a medal by a tenth of a second.
Although disappointed to miss out on the medals, fourth place represents a great return for the youngster considering she competes against runners who are a year older than her.
Elsewhere on the track Dylan Spencer had an extremely promising run in the U13 boys’ 1,500m; finishing fourth, while Martha Collings produced a personal best time in the girls’ 800m to qualify for the final.
Back out in the field Rachel Woods won the U17 women’s javelin despite just being below her best performance, while in the U15 girl’s javelin Florence Baulk produced a personal best throw of 28.89m.
Meanwhile for the men, Rory Kelly spun and threw 34.93m in the U20 men’s discus for third place.
Newcomer Oliver Weller also put in a very promising performance in the U13 boy’s shot putt. In just his second ever competition, Weller won a magnificent silver medal with a huge improvement on his first competition to launch the shot way out to 8.71m.
Speaking after a hugely successful weekend for Woking Athletic Club, spokesman Craig Holder said: “It’s a great achievement having so many young athletes ranked so high in the country and is testament to the hard work of the athletes and their coaches.
“There are a number of young athletes who are making huge improvements and will soon be pushing up the rankings to create even more depth of quality athletes at the club.”