WILTSHIRE sprinters took centre stage at the South West Inter Counties Championships held at the refurbished Exeter Arena on Sunday, writes Kevin Fahey.
Blustery conditions meant that many of the quick times will be registered as wind-assisted as the following breeze exceeded the legal limit of two metres per second but that cannot detract from some outstanding sprinting.
The star performer among the county’s 12 gold medal winners, who picked up 17 titles between them, was rookie William Browne.
In only his first season in the sport the 12-year-old St Augustine College pupil from Trowbridge secured a brilliant hat-trick of golds in the U13 boys’ 100m and 200m sprints and the long jump.
While results are still provisional the initial draft suggests that Brown smashed his personal best in the 100m with a time of 12.43 and the 200m with 26.09secs – and both times were recorded within the legal limits with wind readings of 1.3 and 1.7mps respectively.
For good measure Browne also won the long jump with a leap of 5.28m leaving the youngster, who is also an accomplished rugby player, top of the South West rankings in all three disciplines.
“I thought I could do well but that is definitely my best ever competition,” said Browne.
“This is my first year in athletics and I have really enjoyed it. It has gone really well.”
Browne was encouraged to give the sport a go by his school friend Rory Howorth, who made his mark on Sunday by clipping two seconds off his best to win the U13 boys’ 1500m in a time of 4:32.18 and also the 75m hurdles.
Back to the sprinters and 16-year-old Matravers School student William Kennedy was a double winner with victories in the U17 men’s 100m and 200m.
Kennedy’s 100m time of 11.02secs was just outside his legal electronic best of 11.01secs but was wind-assisted while the 200m mark of 22.24secs is a new and legal best by 0.1secs as the wind reading was +1.9mps.
Team Bath clubmate Owen Harnett from Lavington School came third in the 100m and fourth in the 200m.
Other county sprinters to strike gold included Rhiannon Bowen in the U13 girls’ 100m in a new legal best of 13.28secs, Bradford on Avon’s Grace Davies-Redmond in the U17 women’s 300m and Livia Gautlett in the U17 women’s 80 hurdles in a wind-assisted best time.
In her first competition since the World Junior Championships, British international Loren Bleaken was always favourite to win the U20 women’s 200m and 400m.
The 18-year-old former Hardenhuish School student duly delivered though her new best of 24.77secs – eclipsing her previous best of 24.82secs set in 2012 – won’t be legal as it was aided by a following wind of +3.4mps.
In the middle distances there were wins for Anna Burt, Caitlin Wosika, Will Stockley and Hayden Bailey while in the throws English Schools’ bronze medallist Emily Hutchinson, from Bowerhill, won the U20 women’s shot.
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