Young athletes earn top-five Sussex finish for Chichester

Chichester’s under-15 athletes finished their season in fine style at the Sussex grand final at Crawley with a top-five finish from the ten best clubs in the county.

While not able to match the club’s under-13s and their third place the week before, the older age group did well to end with more than 200 points despite several key members missing from the squad.

The girls’ section were most depleted but that did not stop Alex Jarrold and Chayleigh Jennings taking starring roles in the throws.

In the shot putt the pair had Chichester’s best result of the match with a double win and maximum points, with Jarrold winning the A string with 9.11m and Jennings too strong for the other B string competitors with a best of 7.60m.

A steady discus followed but the surprise of the day came in the hammer where the pair both managed more than 18 metres in a new event for them, resulting in a second and third place. Lauren Cooper completed the throws with a 20m-plus effort in the javelin for fourth place.

Mia Faulkner was the only specialist sprinter and jumper on duty but was helped middle-distance trio Katie Hains, Anna Hains and Grace Wills, who battled against strong opposition in their respective 800m and 1,500m.

Competition was no less fierce in the boys’ events, where Zac Hurst starred for Chichester with two second places and a fourth.

After a smooth hurdles to finish runner-up, Hurst was involved in a thrilling finish in the 1,500m to dip on the line for another second place, while the multi-talented athlete completed his action in the high jump.

A quartet of sprinters produced fast times against some of the best team sprinting seen in Sussex in many years with Joe Roman and Brandon Bell having the same times in the 100m while Bell was joined by Jack Hatton in the 200m.

In support, Tom Trotman was a useful addition to the relay squad. In the 300m, newcomers Curtis Drake and Charlie Joy showed promise for the future - they will both be in the same age group for 2014.

The same applies to Kai Terry and Ben Morton, who supported Sam Reading and Hurst in the middle-distance events to good effect.

As with the girls, Chichester also had a strong pairing in the throws - with Jay Lake again on form with a 10.62 effort in the shot for runners-up slot and a third in the hammer and Alex Hughes lending great support as another newcomer to the team.

Match top five:

1 Crawley 439

2 Horsham 402

3 Brighton & Hove 395

4 Lewes 319

5 Chichester 235

James Baker scooped another Sussex medal on the roads by finishing runner-up in the recent Sussex 10k championships, run in conjunction with the Hellingly event in East Sussex.

His time of 32min 34sec was outside his season’s best but good for the tough course, as can be seen by the winning time of former South of England cross-country champion Jon Pepper, who finished less than a minute clear of Baker in 31.38 - this from one of the few athletes in the South who has a sub 30 minute time to his credit.

Baker has since gone on to run a sub nine-minute clocking on the track by winning the 3,000m Havant open at Portsmouth last weekend.

Elsewhere, three of the club’s over-40 veterans squad filled places in the top ten at the recent Victory 10k with Matt de Lacy fifth in 39.03, just a place in front of Steven Davy in 39.08 with John Bullard just over a minute further back in ninth in 40.16.

There are just four days to go before the start of the cross-country season with the Sussex relay championships due to be run over the challenging but picturesque Goodwood course.

As usual on Saturday, the under-13s and under-15s start things off over a 2,800m lap, with the senior men and women tackling a 4,000m circuit including a couple of steep sections in the wooded part of the course.

It is difficult to know at this stage how the various strengths of the teams will shape up but Chichester’s strongest age group may well be the under-17 men and women, who will run the same course as the seniors.

Entries are through clubs and details can be found on the Chichester Runners and Sussex county websites.