Warm and sunny weather welcomed the Blue Star athletes when they travelled to Withdean Stadium, Brighton to compete in the first of this year’s Southern athletics league fixtures. Facing probably their stiffest competition of the season the team put up a good performance to finish in third position, scoring 164 points they finished behind host club Brighton (211 points) and Team Dorset (184 points), but ahead of Guildford (148 points).

There were some good performances and many athletes showing promise for the season ahead. The Men’s 5000m saw Bernie Spannagl dominate the race from the gun, taking an early lead and then proceeding to draw further away from the field to come home an easy winner in 15m31.4s. Similarly the Men’s High Jump saw Harry Baker outclass the opposition, clearing an impressive 2.00m. The Men’s Pole Vault saw a double win, with Calum Neil clearing 3.80m to win the A string and Sean Carter winning the B string with a clearance of 3.20m, another double win came in the Men’s Triple Jump, James Hedges leaping 11.11m to win the A event and Sean Carter winning the B string with a jump of 9.64m. Bradley Burke ran well to finish second in the 2000m Steeplechase, running 6m44.5s in the A race, with Bernie Spannagl, in his debut at the event, winning the B race in 7m22.0s, whilst Alex Wadley was just edged into second place in the 100m, where he ran 11.5s.

In the Women’s events, the 100m saw Ella Hannyngton run 13.2s to take second place with team mate Maddie Povey also filling second place in the B race (14.0s). In the 3000m Daisy Burchfield took second spot (12m18.1s) with Anne Billingham winning the B race (14m21.9s), whilst in the High Jump Lucy Milnthorpe and Ella Hannyngton both cleared 1.50m to place 3rd and 2nd in the A & B events respectively. Chloe Billingham (3.00m) and Maddie Povey (1.90m) both took second places, whilst Ella Sharpe ran well to win the B race in the 400m in a new personal best of 62.6s.

The afternoon finished with the relays with the Women’s team of Maddie Strickland, Ella Sharpe, Jess O’Flaherty and Ella Hannyngton ran an impressive 52.1s to win the 4x100m race, while the Men’s team of Calum Neil, Alex Wadley, Adam West and James Hedges also had an easy win in their race running 45.8s.

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