Cambridge athletes enjoyed a superb Bank Holiday weekend at the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships as they ran, jumped and threw their way to five medals against the cream of university talent.
In a show of female domination Emma Perkins won her second BUCS title in the High Jump, while on the track there were silver medals for Hanna Tarver, Alison Greggor and Rebecca Moore and a bronze for Emily Dudgeon.
If the competitions return to Bedford signalled a slight anti-climax compared with the 2012 venue of the Olympic Stadium, it was very much a happy return for 2011 champion Perkins. After winning just silver last year, she was the only athlete to go clear at 1.75 metres to underline her status as one of Britain’s best, and most consistent performers.
Elsewhere in the field events, Georgina Howe came 9th in both the Hammer and the Discus finals, Ryan Harper came 10th in the Men’s Hammer, while Quentin Gouil and Freddy Bunbury came 10th and 12th respectably in the Pole Vault after each clearing a height of 4.00m.
Although no sprinters made finals there were a host of strong performances. Alice Kaye came closest after running 57.64 in the 400m semi-finals- to miss out by a single place. Ross Elsby and Dion Kramer each came within a second of qualifying in the 110m Hurdles, while Tom Neil made the same stage in the show-piece 100m. Men’s Captain Elsby also made the 200m semi-finals, as did Kramer in the 400m Hurdles where he ran a Personal Best (PB) of 57.52 seconds.
Yet it was in the middle-distance events where light-blue runners really came into their own. After a gruelling 25 laps of the track Rebecca Moore took a brave silver medal in the 10,000m with a PB of 34.27:85, while Katy Hedgethorne finished 9th in the same race. Another to transport their cross-country form onto the track was Alison Greggor who clocked 16:31.91 for second-place over 5,000m after challenging for the title until the final lap.
In the 800m, Cambridge had not one but two contenders in fresher Hanna Tarver and 2012 runner-up Emily Dudgeon, who represented Britain at last year’s World Junior Championships. With gold going to an Irish international from Loughborough, it was Tarver who came out on top in the CUAC rivalry, as she ran 2:08.74 to pip Dudgeon’s 2:09.00.
Polly Keen so nearly managed another medal as she came 4th in the 2,000m Steeplechase, while Katherine Turner came an excellent 5th over 1,500m. Not to be outdone, on the men’s side Tom Watkins (3,000m Steeplechase) and Lewis Lloyd (800m) also came 5th,Joe Christopher (5,000m) came 6th after breaking the 15 minute barrier for the first time. Pete Townsend (3,000m Steeplechase), Matt Leach (5,000m) and James Chettle (10,000m) all also made finals, while Ed Smith (1,500m) narrowly missed out after running a PB in his semi.
In fact there was a light-blue competitor in every distance final except the 1,500m and even that was won by a Cambridge based athlete in Anglia Ruskin’s James Shane!
All in all it was a superb weekend for Cambridge athletics, and while after several strong performances Oxford showed that they will certainly be no pushovers, hopes will be high of similar success at the Track and Field Varsity match to be held at Wilberforce Road next weekend.
There were no medals but some similarly strong showings from Cambridge athletes at the BUCS Sprint Triathlon Championships held at St Mary’s, Calne. Neil Houlsby, Max Jenkins and Will Kirk finished 45th, 48th and 55th respectably in the men’s race to bring the team home in 14th position, while the women finished 11th courtesy of Ursula Moore (28th) and Priya Crosby (30th).