After a successful indoor season, Cardiff Met’s athletics team returned from the outdoor championships finishing in second place with an impressive 15 medals. Athletes from 108 universities were treated to three days of sunshine and near-perfect conditions for this years BUCS championships.
With a reputation for producing high quality performances on a fast Bedford track, the BUCS championships often draws in world class athletes as well as dramatic competition for BUCS points. With the likes of Great Britain’s Adam Gemilli and London Olympic finalist Lawrence Clarke competing, this year was no different.
Following a successful indoor season, Cardiff Met athletes had a renewed sense of belief and confidence, but also knew that this was a bigger challenge. The qualification rounds on Saturday were an opportunity for athletes to test themselves and to size up the opposition. One or two moments stood out in the day. Megan Rogers put in a brave run and narrowly missed out on a place in the 400m hurdles final, finishing as the 9th fastest qualifier—one place short of the final. Jon Rendell smash his personal best in the 400m with 49.47, while Morgan Jones began his busy weekend with a personal best of 11.09m in triple jump. The first team points of the weekend came from Hannah Johnson in the javelin. Despite needing to adapt her run-up due to injury, she still threw the javelin out to a new personal best of 45.89m, good enough for 5th overall.
Sunday provided a handful of finals and the opportunity for Cardiff Met to start putting solid points on the board. A haul of 23 points came from Morgan Jones and James Ledger, who both won their respective long jump events for their category with jumps of 5.17m and 5.28m. Not content with only one medal, Morgan also took a silver in the ambulant 100m in a new personal. A further medal also came in the women’s long jump. Becca Chapman backed up her incredible indoor BUCS performance jumping 5.91m in the very last round to clinch a bronze medal. She had also been busy reaching the semi-finals of the 100m and leading off the 4x100m relay team. In the 100m, Cardiff Met had a representative in both the men’s and women’s finals. Dewi Hammond ran 10.82 for 7th in the men’s final, while Mica Moore added another medal for her growing BUCS collection by taking bronze in a time of 11.94 seconds. In the women’s 1500, Sofie Kent impressively improved on her best time ever firstly in the heats and then again in the semifinal clocking 4:47.91.
Bank holiday Monday brought a day of finals and plenty of excitement. The day began with Paul Bennett running 53.38 over the 400m hurdles from lane 1 for 6th place. This was quickly followed up by the first couple of medals for the day. In the field, Men’s captain Steve Turnock threw 63.46m for bronze in the javelin. On the track, BUCS indoors champion Steve Mitchell executed a tactically perfect race opening out an impressive gap between himself and chasing pack to claim another title in the 5000m. Fresh from warm weather training in Arizona, Owen Smith produced a gutsy run from lane 1 in the 400m for 7th place. Sian Swanson completed a busy hour by placing 9th in the triple jump before heading straight to the high jump where she cleared 1.60m for a share of 6th place. Former champion, Paul Bradshaw, battled to finish 6th place in the 800m final during a period when every final seemed to contain at least one Cardiff Met athlete. This was demonstrated in the women’s pole vault, where Elinor Lewis cleared 3.30m for 5th place and Amy De Beaux, at her first outdoor BUCS, took silver with 3.50m. The action continued to come thick and fast. In the sprint hurdles, Rosie Kingston produced 3 solid performances across the rounds to take 7th place in the final, while Nathan Higgins set personal bests in both rounds, lowering his best to 15.08 seconds for 9th overall. The endurance squad were showing their form with Josh Griffiths finishing 5th in the 10,000m and fresher Mattie Edwards setting a lifetime best of 9:28.63 (having recovered from a fall in the heats) to claim 5th place in the 3000m steeplechase final. Building momentum even more Rich Bell set a national record for the Isle of Man with 50.44m in the Hammer. Then followed a large medal rush, beginning in the women’s 200m, where Cardiff Met had 3 athletes competing. Charlotte Wingfield bounced back after stumbling and crashing to the floor in the 100m semi-final to finish 6th place in the 200m. Zara George just missed out on a medal, taking 4th in 24.71 seconds. The outstanding sprinter of weekend, however, was Mica Moore who took silver and only missed out on gold by 0.01 seconds as Cardiff University Student Hannah Thomas dived across the line an ended up on the track. Perhaps the best story of the weekend came from a delighted Lucy Griffiths, who came back from an injury nightmare at BUCS outdoors 2013 to take the silver medal this year with a new personal best in the shot putt. Hannah Johnson added to her team points contribution by shot putting into 8th place despite having to withdraw with a knee injury. Back on the track, in quick succession Emily Brown took silver in the women’s steeplechase and James Thie signed off his Cardiff Met career with a bronze in the 1500m.
This all left the relays as the final events of the weekend. Becca Chapman, Mica Moore, Zara George and Charlotte Wingfield made up the women’s 4x100m and secured a silver medal, despite some slightly untidy changeovers. Also taking silver was the men’s 4x100m squad of Chris Claydon, Lewis Moore, Rich Tremblen, Dewi Hammond and Charlie Patrick, who almost ran down Loughborough for gold in the final meters. In the 4x400m, the women’s team was worst hit by injuries to usual personnel, but acquitted themselves admirably in taking 5th place in the final, of which all the squad (Elinor Jones, Sara Geary, Beccy Nuttall, Megan Rogers and Sofie Kent) can be proud. However, the race of the weekend was left until last in the men’s 4x400m. After a solid lead out from Jon Rendell, Owen Smith produced a storming second leg to hand over the baton in first place. Paul Bradshaw maintained that position while under pressure from Bath and Oxford before handing over the last leg to Paul Bennett. Despite being overtaken around the second bend and dropping back to third at one point, Bennett was able to find some strength in the home straight and gradually claw back to second before pipping Oxford on the line for the gold. This led to massive celebrations amongst the Cardiff Met contingent and ensured that the squad (Jon Rendell, Owen Smith, Paul Bradshaw, Paul Bennett, Dan Blain and Chris Marshall) could celebrate the final gold of the championships.
Athletes will now pursue their individual goals throughout the summer season and look forward to competing again for Cardiff Met at BUCS 2015.
Mica Moore (100m Bronze; 200m Silver; 4×100 Silver), Becca Chappman (100m; Long Jump Bronze), Charlotte Wingfield (100m; 200m; 4×100 Silver), Zara George (200m; 4x100m Silver), Becky Nuttall (800m; 4×400), Sofie Kent (1500m; 4x400m); Lauren O’Reilly (100m hurdles), Rosie Kingston (100m hurdles; 4×100 Silver), Megan Rogers (400m hurdles; 4×400), Emily Brown (2000m steeple chase Silver), Sara Geary (Long Jump; 4×100 Silver; 4×400), Sian Swanson (Triple Jump; High Jump), Elinor Lewis (Pole Vault; Triple Jump), Amy De-Beaux (Pole Vault Silver), Lucy Griffiths (Shot Putt Silver; Discus), Hannah Johnson (Javelin; Shot Putt), Gemma Young (Shot Putt), Elinor Jones (4x400m).
Lewis Clarke (100m; 4×100 Silver), Dewi Hammond (100m; 4×100 Silver), Richard Tremblen (200m; 4×100 Silver), Sam Gordon (200m), Owen Smith (400m; 4×400 Gold), Jon Rendell (400m; 4x400m Gold), Paul Bradshaw (800m; 4×400 Gold), Curtis Goodger (800m), James Thie(1500m Bronze), Aaron Phelps (1500m), Stephen Mitchell (5000m Gold), Ollie Mott (10,000m), Josh Griffiths (10,000m), Nathan Higgins (110m hurdles), Dan Blain (4x400m Gold), Paul Bennett (400m hurdles; 4x400m Gold), Chris Marshall (400m hurdles; 4x400m Gold), Mattie Edwards (3000m Steeple chase), James Ledger (Ambulant Long Jump); Prince Nnaemeka Ezenwa (Triple Jump), Morgan Jones (Triple Jump; Ambulant Long Jump; Ambulant 100m), Stephen Scarfi (Pole Vault), Steve Turnock (Javelin), Richard Bell (Hammer; Discus) Bradley Cole (Hammer