SRAC Athletes Burn Up The Track In Inverness!
As temperatures in the North of Scotland soared in to the 80s on the last weekend of May, a selection of the best of the young athletic talent from Lewis and Harris were burning up the track in Inverness at Match 2 of the Scottish Young Athlete’s League North East division. A group of 12 had been selected to represent TEAM NORTH, a team picked from 6 to 8 athletics clubs based in the North, and no fewer than 9 PBs were recorded on the day across sprints, middle distance, and throwing and jump events!
Stornoway’s youngest sprinters Sian MacDonald (U11 Girls), and Evan Trayner (U11 Boys), both ran the 75m superbly with new PBs, Sian finishing second in the A race with 11.66, and Evan winning the B race with 11.88. Sian and Evan are just the latest in a line of good sprinters to emerge at SRAC, and the older girls performances proved that point. Abbie MacKay was only just edged out from a win in the Girls U15 100m by one hundredth of a second in the A race – posting a new PB of 13.33, a time that takes her to no. 13 in the Scottish U15 Girls 100m rankings. Meanwhile in the Girls U17 100m A race, Jenny Mactaggart won with a controlled race leading from start to finish, crossing the line in a season’s best 13.24. This now sees Jenny also ranked at no. 13 for U17 Girls, and edging ever closer to the magic 13 seconds flat, the qualifying standard for the next year’s Island Games in Bermuda – a time which she ran last year.
SRAC’s middle distance runners also showed the strength in depth that the club has across the age groups. First up was young Ellie MacLean in the U11 Girls 800m A race, who in a competitive race, really took it on in the second lap, and came home to a great win, smashing her PB by almost 8 seconds with a time of 2:53.86! There was no real surprise at Ellie’s success, as her big brother Connor’s talent for distance running has been apparent in the Winter Cross Country season for the last couple of years. His combination of endurance, strength and speed is now transferring itself to the track in devastating style. In what was without doubt the race of the day, Connor renewed his rivalry with fellow Team North runner, Luke Shaw, who Connor had beaten to gold in the Boys U16 1500m at the recent North District Championships in a photo finish, with a storming sprint finish! The SYAL race was a carbon copy with another big sprint finish from Connor from fully 10m back, with another photo finish needed to separate them. While Connor narrowly missed out on the win this time, he posted a massive PB of 4:24.98, beating his previous best by 7 seconds, a performance that takes him to no. 4 in the Scottish U15 Boys rankings for 1500m.
Meanwhile Peigi MacKellar, having posted a PB for the U15 Girls 800m with a win in the first SYAL match in Dundee a few weeks back which took her to no. 14 in Scotland, this time decided to take on the 1500m. Following a slow opening pace, Peigi cranked it up in the second half in typical style and finished with a last lap controlled sprint to win in 05:17.55, a PB which also ranks her nationally at no. 15 for U15 Girls over 1500m. Eilidh MacLeod also made her debut as the B string runner over 1500m, showing a real commitment to the team game! Eilidh – a promising sprinter and high jumper – was in Inverness for the sprint relay. But with the team short on numbers, stepped in to give the 1500m a go for the first time. A PB – and a commendable 2nd place followed!
Two young Lewis lads who have shown a real aptitude for sprint hurdles are Alfie MacMillan and Ross Budge and were the TEAM NORTH A and B picks for the U13 Boys 75m Hurdles. There was only a matter of hundredths of seconds separating their PBs, and they both ran extremely well to each take a second of their PBs and in the process make the national rankings - with Alfie taking 3rd in the A string in 15.55 (ranking him 10), and Ross recording 15.53 to finish 2nd in the B string, and achieve a ranking of no.8 in the country!
The SRAC juniors also did well in the field events. Young Cameron Baird, making his North Team debut, threw a new PB of 4.59m in the U11 Boys Shot Putt, gaining valuable points for the team; and Rory Mighton, having done well in the first match in Dundee over 1500m, and having also gained selection in the next match for High Jump, showed what an all round athlete he’s becoming by jumping close to his PB in the Long Jump to take 2nd place in the A string with a jump of 3.70m. At U11 level, Sian MacDonald and Ellie MacLean also did well in the Long Jump, with Sian taking 1st in the A string, and Ellie securing 2nd in the B string.
The finale of the day as always were the relays, and despite some withdrawals from other athletes, each of SRAC’s young athletes again played their part for the TEAM NORTH cause with fine runs.
Next up is the 3rd and final match this weekend (Sunday 17th June) , and with TEAM NORTH lying a close third, it’s all to play for to make the Scottish Young Athletes League final in Grangemouth next month, with the top 2 teams qualifying.
As always a strong SRAC team will be making the Aberdeen trip, another great development opportunity for these young athletes, proving that that wee stretch of water is no obstacle to sporting success! Go TEAM NORTH !