A team of Brunel University athletes made their way to Lee Valley on 31st January to commence battle against Loughborough, Bath, Birmingham and Cardiff Metropolitan for the annual indoor Intervarsity Challenge. The women's team emerges victorious on 108 points, a solid 22 points ahead of Birmingham in 2nd, as the men finished 3rd as a team, only 2 points behind Birmingham and 4 points off the win. All of this plus fantastic performances across the board meant Brunel retained their title by just 20 points from Birmingham, with Cardiff Metropolitan just 5 points behind them.
The men's long jump began the field events as track & field captain Tom Chandler jumped out to a seasonal best of 6.49m for 2nd in the A standings, meanwhile fresher Daniel Ryan took victory in the B standings on 6.30m. The 7.26K shot put saw Brunel clinch a double victory with third year Physiotherapy student Kai Jones standing tall in the leaderboard throwing 15.06m, as Thomas Head threw out to a seasonal best 13.46m in the B-string, a throw which still would have been good enough to win the A-string, with Daniel Ryan throwing a new PB of 12.20m as a guest. In the high jump, Brunel once again managed a double victory as Mityrac Brooks & Jake Storey both cleared 1.96m. The final field event which saw Brunel mens team representing was the triple jump, seeing secretary Alex Williams-Baffoe hop, stepping & jumping out to 12.15m, good enough for 3rd place overall.
Over on the women's team, it was the high jump that kick-started their field events as the fresher from Estonia, Annika Teska, fell just shy of her PB with 1.70m, but was still good enough for victory in the overall event, as guesting star Janet Browne achieved a seasonal best jump of 1.65m. Laura-Ann Henderson kept the points tally climbing with a seasonal best performance of 2.80m in the pole vault, as Simone Ager jumped out to 5.13m in the long jump for 2nd in the A-string, with Leanne Davies jumping a seasonal best 4.21m for victory in the B-team. The 4K shot put saw the turn of track & field captain Emma Nwofor with 11.49m, as Leanne Davies showed to be in great fantastic form, throwing further than ever before with 8.31m, both landing 2nd in their respective strings. Sarah Melbourne rounded off the womens field events in the triple jump, covering 10.69m for 2nd overall.
The first track event which saw Brunel represent was the 200m, with the mens team made up of Marvin Popoola & Luke Dorrell. Both men won their representive races for a perfect 16 points tally, both clocking indoor PBs in the process (Popoola, 22.15 - Dorrell, 22.05). There were also a few notable non-scorers in the form of Khalil Bruney (22.60 (SB)); vice track & field captain Michael Watson (23.64); fresher Martin Williams (23.26 (SB)) and Noah Abbott (23.81 (PB)). Max Schopp & fresher Henry Marshall kept the points tally climbing in the 400m, with Schopp clocking a new personal best performance of 49.72, and Marshall running a new seasonal best 51.48. Both men managed 3rd in the respective races. The next event was the 60m hurdles, Brunel scorers comprised of two freshers in Harry Hillman & the returning Daniel Ryan. It was, however, the non-scorer Reece Young who hurdled 60m faster than anybody else in the race in a new seasonal best 8.20 seconds. Hillman & Ryan still did good enough for 2nd & 1st in their respective string, with Harry recording a new seasonal best 8.55 and Daniel breaking his all time record with 8.66 seconds. Next was the turn of 60m flat race with fresher Martin Williams teaming up with 200m winner Luke Dorrell. Williams charged through for 4th in the men's A race with a lifetime best 7.14 seconds. Moments later, Dorrell carried his momentum from the 200m earlier to victory in the B-race in 6.86 seconds, a time which still would have won the A-race!! A few non-scorers also made their presence felt in the shape of Aaron Adom (7.17 (SB)), vice track & field captain Michael Watson (7.33 (SB)), fresher Kyler Adote (7.47), Noah Abbott (7.33 (PB)), and captain Tom Chandler (7.37 (PB)). The final individual event was the 1500m, with the fresher Sam Metcalf & Yonis Mohamed representing the blue & yellow brand; Metcalf ran a lifetime best 4:11.16 for 6th overall, with Mohamed running a seasonal-best 4:25.33 for 9th. The final event of the day, the 4x200m relay, saw Brunel's 4-man team come home in 4th in a time of 1:31.08.
The women's track events started in the 200m, with Darcey Kuypers & fresher Izzy Bryant flying the flag for Team Brunel. Kuypers ended up 3rd in the A-race in 25.97 seconds, with Bryant managing to sneak a win in the B-race with a seasonal-best clocking 25.82. A few guest representatives made their presence felt with Vicky Price (29.06), Farah Hashem (29.18) and Ruth Bowe (29.91) picking up a 1-2-3 in the guests race. The womens race saw Lucy Townson run 63.26 in the 400m A-race, with Shannon Kennedy running 63.45 for 3rd in the B-race, and Sian Wyn-Jones making a guest appearance running 63.05. The points kept coming in with fresher Finlay Marriott clocking a new seasonal-best 8.88 for 2nd in the 60m hurdles, and fresher Modupe Shokunbi & Darcey Kuypers both managing 2nd in their respective 60m flat races, with Shokunbi clocking 7.76, and Kuypers 7.91. Alongside the flat 60m representatives, fresher Parris Johnson (7.83 (SB)), Izzy Bryant (7.84 (SB)), Farah Hashem (8.74), Ruth Bowe (9.03) and Vicky Price (8.85) all made their presence felt in the non-scoring races. The final women's race saw the 4x200m team come tantilisingly close to victory in 1:44.22, but was still good enough to hold on for 2nd.
A fantastic day with fantastic performances by everyone involved. The question now remains can Brunel repeat this win in 2 weeks time at the EIS Sheffield for the BUCS Indoor Championships? Only time will tell, but needless to say they look very much ready to do battle.