Fine finish to Youth Development campaign for Chichster athletes

Chi's U17 women
Chi's U17 women

Chichester’s under-17s and under-20s completed their National Youth Development League season at Southampton with a number of personal best performances from a depleted squad.

The dozen athletes competed well against a host of nationally ranked top ten athletes from the 12 clubs in the division.

The U20 men relay team

The U20 men relay team

Chichester’s women’s squad had the greater numbers in the team with ten new best marks set during the course of a warm afternoon.

Alice Cox-Rusbridge was taking part in her final track match in the under-20 age group before going into the under-23s and seniors next season. As well as being a familiar face at local parkruns, Cox-Rusbridge has scooped many awards over the past year in cross country and road running.

She used her fitness and determination to set a new PB in a solo exhibition in the 3000m before returning to the track less than two hours later to outkick her Portsmouth rival in the last few strides to win the 1500m steeplechase.

There was good sprinting as relative newcomer Kaci Rowland setting a new best time of 13.7sec in the 100m, well supported by Emily Russell who doubled up in the 200m, with middle distance runner Nicole Boltwood dropping down a distance to run a new best time in the B string.

There was another good showing in the high jump with Elise Pullen equalling her lifetime best again with a 1.50m clearance, with Rowland a capable B string.

Chichester’s strength in the long jump was enhanced by Kayleigh Akemkalns, who jumped further than before with 4.47 in her first club competition and was backed up by Rowland and Pullen – all three Chichester athletes over the four-metre mark. To complete the jumps, Boltwood showed her versatility with nearly 9m in the triple jump in her first time in the event.

Chichester’s women’s throwing has been a feature of both the under-17 and under-20 age group this season and the Southampton match was no exception. Brooklyn Santer-Smith has shown good form in training and was able to produce a 34.02m lifetime best in the hammer which she backed up with a new mark of 10.23 in the shot.

With support from under-20 Lucie Munday in shot, discus and hammer as well as fellow under-17 Alexia Everley in discus and hammer, the trio were responsible for a sizeable proportion of the club’s total points tally.

With only four men in action, they produced a wide range of results with consistent Cellan Robinson near his best in both sprints before launching the 6kg shot to a new best of 10.96m.

There was good sprinting from all four in action with DJ Barth and Alfie Spurle both recording 12.4sec in windy conditions with Oscar Hares just a tenth behind in a new best time and repeating the feat over 200m later.

Spurle and Hares were in action in the triple jump while Barth tackled the pole vault in the poor conditions and improved his best height for the third time in as many matches with a 2.10m clearance and a narrow failure at 2.30. As a former gymnast and with a winter’s conditioning for the event, Barth has his sights on the UK top 100 for next season as the 2.70m required must be firmly in his sights.

Even though this marks the end of the under-17/20 league season, many of the squad will form part of the club’s senior team for their final Southern League match of the season in Swindon on August 17.