A record number of athletes entered the ESAA Regional combined events. So many in fact that for the first time ever we were able to enter 6 teams – one in each of the 3 age groups both male and female. 20 athletes in total.
Unfortunately, due to illness, 4 athletes pulled out before the event but one reserve was able to be called up meaning that we still had five teams and just 2 individuals in the senior girls.
The weekend started well for the junior boys, Chris Castle (Radley AC), Kyle Rayson (Bicester AC) and Henry Fletcher (Radley AC) and all survived the first event the 80 mt hurdles. Many of the athletes across the two days would be attempting events they would not usually choose and such was the case for the jun boys – all 3 are first years in the age group and they did exceptionally well to finish 3rd team – boding well for next year. Henry Fletcher (Radley AC) also managed an overall 3rd place and thus gained a place in the National Finals in Bedford in September.
Inter girls, Eloise Hind (Oxford City AC), Charlotte Dyer (Radley AC) and Georgina Ashby (Reading AC) started their heptathlon and not unsurprisingly Eloise lead from gun to tape!! Setting PB’s in 4 of the 7 events – the other 3 would surely have been broken had she not had to long jump, sprint and hurdle into a huge headwind! Eloise won with the 11th best ever score in the event putting her just 50 points behind Katarina Johnson Thompson (5th) on the all time list. A special mention must be given for her high jump where she jumped 1.74 mts just missing 1.77 mts by a whisker! This effort was enough to take her into 2nd place on this years Power of 10. The girls all performed well and once again will surely be better prepared next year when we escape the Covid restrictions.
The 2 Senior Girls, Esther Davies (Radley AC) and Maddy Hurley (Radley AC) both gained places at the Nationals again by working their way cautiously through the 7 heptathlon events. Much fun was had by all and the crowd involvement in the Mexican wave that met Maddies hurdle finish was not to be missed!
Both the Inter and Senior boys teams won their respective events and both teams are all bottom age athletes and so should rule for the next 2 seasons! In the Inter Boys Archie Street (Banbury AC) finished 2nd and Sam Rayson (BicesterAC) came 3rd. Nulam Hang Kambang (Radley AC) completed the team and in his first season in athletics manoeuvred his way through his Octathlon with ease. Chris Charles (Banbury AC), Fionn Leaney and Adam Davenport (both Oxford AC) all debutants in the decathlon managed to ensure they survived to gain a team place into the finals!
Day 2 saw the arrival of the Junior Girls, Charlotte Bigmore, Charlotte Ashby (Both Reading AC) and Freja Nielsen (Radley AC) and despite missing their team leader they fought well to finish 2nd team. Not to be outdone by the Jun Boys, Charlotte Bigmore managed 3rd place overall and thus gained yet another place in the finals.
Overall then Team Oxon is taking 11 athletes to the nationals with real hopes of winning team and individual medals. Next years regional event will be held in Banbury.
Thanks and congratulations to all the athletes, parents, coaches and officials for your help and support. It was a great weekend and good fun – much enjoyed and inspiring new directions for many of the athletes, I’m sure!