On Wednesday 16th March the Exeter University Athletics Club hosted their annual South West University Championships. Held at the Exeter Arena, where the club train, the event saw attendees from nine neighbouring universities. With around 200 athletes and spectators the day proved a great success, with some fantastic results all round. In first place was Cardiff University, with Bristol and Exeter University taking silver and bronze.
With the sun shining down over the track, the day began. Starting as they meant to go on, Exeter University’s GB Junior, Nicole Kendall, put in a stellar performance, finishing 1st in the 100m with a time of 13.1s. Track & Field Captain Olivia Dyer finished within a whisker of Kendall, finishing in 2nd place with a respectable time of 13.3s.
The girls continued to dominate the track, with Eliza Gilchrist and Sophie Telfer racking up the points for Exeter in their 1500m performance. Consistent in her determined efforts, Dyer came 2nd in the 200m, earning another 8 points for the Exeter team. Proving herself as a contender across the board, Kelly McMahon delivered some brilliant performances in the 100m, 200m, Javelin and Long Jump; a true all rounder! Of course, the day was not over for the girls without Kendall putting in what is always a heroic effort in the 800m. Never one to disappoint, her efforts did not go unnoticed, finishing in 1st place with a time of 2.25.3s. Exeter athlete Penny Oliver shook the race up, following in a close 2nd at 2.31.5s.
With such powerful efforts from the Exeter girls, the boys certainly had a lot to live up to. However, despite injuries from many of the top competitors, dominate they did. While Jake Mair put it a solid effort in the 100m, scoring points for Exeter with a time of 11.7s, David Silk, Charlie Critchley and Sam Peters powered the club towards an overall bronze with their 400m efforts. Critchley proved the worth of his tireless training in the 800m race, finishing in 2nd place with a time of 2.02.7s; a position closely followed by Zach Nolan with an impressive 2.03.2s on the clock. The 200m did not go amiss from Exeter athletes, with Jordan Cochrane and Will Bench racing some fantastic times for the club. These winning performances were aided by the hard work of Exeter’s Jack Lynch, Sam Peters, Dan Cryson and Ben Hartford.
One of the highlights of the day was Exeter athlete, Joe Saissi’s speedy 1500m performance, winning by a landslide with a time of 4.10.3s. Another highlight was watching Cross Country Captain Phil Bridge stride out through the final laps of the 5km, finishing in a well deserved 1st place with a time of 15.33.5s. Proving the power in numbers, Exeter dominated the 5km race, with Joachim Tranvog and Rob Mann brining in the points with deserved times of 16.34.4s and 16.49.4s, respectively.
The men’s throwing events were a pleasure to watch on such a beautifully sunny day, and Exeter didn’t disappoint in their efforts. Newcomer Taylor Latham showed huge aptitude in the long jump, bringing in a strong 6.22m, while his efforts in the high jump were equally as strong, powering his way to another 4th position with a height of 1.6m. Finally, our attention turned to the Javelin, where Exeter boy’s Steven Berrisford and Hartford rattled up the points for the team.
With such a strong turnout the atmosphere was superb. Successful in their attempts to make the event bigger and better than last year, the club secured support from Red Bull and Portlebay Popcorn, whose presence at the track did not go unfelt. While Red Bull dominated the field with their ‘Athlete Zone’, fully equipped with a sound system, podium, sun loungers and energy drinks, Portlebay Popcorn provided much needed nourishment for the hungry athletes and spectators. A great day all round!