Injury plagued athletics team finish valiant sixth at BUCS Outdoor Championships

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Brunel Athletics fought valiantly to finish sixth place overall at the BUCS Outdoor Championships on the bank holiday weekend, despite an abundance of last minute and mid competition injuries.

The team had been expecting a lot after an impressive 11 medals and an overall second place behind Loughborough at the BUCS indoor championships in February. However, given the unfortunate circumstances, the injury plagued team performed admirably to finish third overall in the field events, as well as claiming five medals and four more top five finishes.

Women's track and field captain Clieo Stephenson led by example in the 100m, going two better than last year to take gold in a time of 11.79secs. The sport scholar dominated throughout the rounds, winning both her heat and semi in the fastest times. She continued her impressive form in the final, taking down two faster athletes on paper, Mica Moore and Charlotte Wingfield of Cardiff Met.

The second and last gold of Brunel Athletics' campaign came in the form of BUCS debutant, Amy Holder. The 19-year-old lived up to her pre-event billing as the firm favourite, taking the discus win by nearly 5m with a throw of 50.54m.

The only silver of Brunel Athletics' championship came from another fresher, man-mountain Kai Jones, who backed up his BUCS indoor gold medal performance in the shot put, achieving his second longest ever distance of 16.00 to claim silver behind the four time BUCS gold medallist, Youcef Zatat of East London.

Jones was joined by three more Brunel athletes in the final, with Sam Heawood matching his indoor position in fourth, Thomas Head, sixth, and international decathlete, David Hall, 11th. Chloe Vernon- Hamilton followed Hall’s lead as a combined events athlete excelling in the shot put, finishing fifth with a new personal best of 12.64m.

The first of the team’s bronze medals came from Georgia Nwawulor who backed up her two BUCS indoor bronze medals for City University with her first outdoor medal, claiming bronze in the high jump. She leaped to her equal second highest ever jump of 1.70m, beating four athletes with higher PBs than her.

Multi-eventer Alex Wort equalled his indoor 60m hurdles bronze, running a new 110m hurdles PB of 14.59 to take third. However, he was slightly disappointed to just miss clinching silver by .09secs on the dip behind Leeds Beckett’s Jack Major.

Brunel’s best performance in the distance events came from Philippa Bowden, who improved on her eighth place finish in last year’s 3k steeplechase, finishing fourth in a time of 7mins 6.86secs, 11 seconds off the podium.

One of the biggest medal hopes before the championships was in the men’s high jump, with the indoor gold and silver medallists, Jake Storey and Thomas Howlett both taking part. Unfortunately they couldn’t quite match their indoor performances, jumping against a quality field in very tough windy conditions. Howlett finished fourth with a height of 2.03m, while Storey finished eighth with 1.97m.

In the triple Jump, MSc Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences student, Lewis Guest matched his BUCS indoor position with a fifth place finish, jumping his second longest ever distance, just 09cm off his personal best.

Recent 2016 Paralympics qualifier, Ryan Raghoo, achieved a BUCS ambulant long jump record in the T36 category, with a distance of 4.31m, 30cm shy of his British record which he set in qualifying for the Paralympics.

The athletics team’s results makes them Brunel’s highest BUCS scoring team of the year, just ahead of Futsal and Netball. There could be even more points to come from athletics when the team’s multi-eventers take on the BUCS Combined Events Championships on May 14th and 15th.

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