The annual Stirling University Cross Country event once again was successfully staged on University Campus on Wednesday (3rd October). The race was this year changed from being a single three kilometre race to male and female relays which were enjoyed by the competitors.
Both male and female races were dominated by Edinburgh University teams with top three finishes for both teams from the host University.
A team of Katie Reynolds and Jenny Dybeck (who ran the first and second leg) claimed first place in 39mins 19secs.
The Stirling University team of Alex Campbell and 1st year debutants Lorna Gooday and Amy Stenson came home second in 43mins 26secs.
Edinburgh University’s 2nd team, Emma Prentis, Rozy Shepherd and Jenny Nicolas took third in 45mins 52secs.
Only 43 seconds separated the top three teams in the Male race. Patryk Gierjatowicz, Coll Williamson and Ben Stevenson came home in 32mins 41secs to claim first spot.
Strathclyde's Alessandro Tronconi, Nathan Kirley and John Fergusson took second in 33mins 8secs.
Matthew McKenna and Jonathan Adam, making their first appearances for Stirling University, where accompanied by Triathlete Greg Turner and together they took 3rd spot in 33mins 24secs.
It was a largely successful day for the Athletics club with the male 2nd and 3rd team coming in eighth and tenth respectively. A total of six new members competed in their first race which bodes well for the forthcoming cross-country season.
The course and new formula went down well with the travelling teams and it is hoped greater numbers can be attracted to the event in future years with an almost identical turn-out to last year.
The event was for the first time sponsored by the new Up and Running store in Stirling who provided fantastic prizes and great support to our event.
The sport of Athletics holds their Olympic Trials this coming weekend (22nd – 24th June) at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. There are over 700 athletes expected to compete across all track and field events, vying for those elusive spots on the Olympic team.
There are 3 places in each event up for grabs for athletes. The first 2 past the post at the trials are automatically nominated to the BOA for selection, providing they have a current ‘A’ standard, with a third athlete nominated at the discretion of the selectors. Should no athlete have the ‘A’ standard, one athlete with the ‘B’ standard can be nominated.
The likes of Goldie Sayers (Javelin), Phillips Idowu (Triple Jump), Yamile Aldama (Triple Jump) and Mo Farah (5000m/10000m) are almost guaranteed selection pending the performance at the Trials. For the rest however, there’s all to play for.
The 100m events look to be fairly open. Britain’s current number 1 Adam Gemili is said to be focusing on the World Juniors, so with only one other athlete above the current A standard, the fight for both individual and relay spots is wide open – especially with Dwain Chambers now legible to compete in the Olympics, although he has yet to have achieved the B standard. On the women’s side, Abi Oyepitan (2004 200m finalist) is coming into form at the right moment with A standards in both the 100m and 200m.
For the longer sprint, things look a lot more competitive in the individual battle. Currently, 4 men have the A standard, with a further 4 having the B standard. Martyn Rooney looks the safest bet for an individual spot, with 3 sub-45second clockings this season. Reigning Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu sits top of the rankings for the women so should just need to finish top 2 to guarantee the chance to defend her title. The other automatic spot should see Shana Cox, Nicola Sanders and Scotland’s Lee McConnell battling it out. All 3 are good calls for the relay squad, but only Cox has the current A standard.
What looks to be one of the most competitive events of the trials. Emma Jackson and GB regular Marilyn Okoro both have the A standard. Jemma Simpson and Scotland’s Lynsey Sharp have the B standard and are not too far off the A standard. Junior athlete Jessica Judd is also down to compete, but will have more of a focus on the World Juniors in Barcelona.
Men’s 400m Hurdles
This will have to be one of the “must see” events of the Trials. 5 athletes have met the A standard, but only 3 places are available and it’s fairly open. World, Commonwealth and European Champion Dai Greene sits top of the rankings, but hasn’t raced that well according to his own judgement due to surgery over the winter. Jack Green should be confident of finishing in the top 2 and has added experience of winning the UKA 400m and the 400mH in the Olympic Stadium at the start of May. Richard Yates, who unfairly missed out on selection for the 2008 Games will be determined not to repeat that incident and will also be aiming for a top 2 finish to guarantee selection. After a few years of problems, 2010 Commonwealth and European medallist Rhys Williams is coming into good form, as is European U23 Silver medallist Nathan Woodward. Unfortunately, two of these guys will have to miss out on the Olympic team so there’s everything to fight for.
On the field, the men’s discus could be one of the competitive events. British record holder Lawrence Okoye sits clear at the top and has been the most consistent. Even if he finishes outside the top 2, he should still get selected through the 3rd discretionary place. For the rest, Carl Myerscough is the only other athlete to achieve the current A standard and is also the only athlete to have a B standard in the shotputt. Brett Morse and Abdul Buhari have the A standard from 2011, but have not quite shown form this season so could be one of the events to watch on the field.
Robbie Grabarz will be in action in the High Jump and will be looking to match the form that has so far taken him into the top 10 in the world with 2.36m and also hints at a possible medal when the Olympics come around.
Golden girl Jessica Ennis is also making an appearance at the trials – competing in the 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Long Jump and 200m. It’s interesting to note that her performances this year give her good chances of individual medals across all 4 events.
The weekend of the 25th and 26th of February saw the BUCS Indoor Athletics Championships being hosted in Sheffield. Stirling sent a team of 11 competing athletes.
Competing in the 60m for Stirling was Andrew Carroll and Wei Jen Chao. Chao was up in heat 2, finishing in 2nd with a time of 7.51 to automatically qualify for the semi-final, following this up with a time of 7.45 for 8th. Meanwhile, Carroll, who had won bronze at the Scottish Universities Indoors a few weeks previously finished 4th in heat 4 with a time of 7.42. The placing had to be decided from photo finish, with 3rd 4th and 5th all awarded the same time.
Callum Murray was the sole competitor in the 200m on the Sunday. Running in heat 16, Murray finished 5th in a time of 24.64, improving on the time set at the University Indoors earlier in the month.
The 400m saw 3 competitors for Stirling – 2 in the men’s and 1 in the women’s races. First up was the men and Stephen Buwert running in his first indoor 400m. Lining up in heat 4, Stephen completed the 2 laps in 55.30 seconds for 4th place. Blair Crawford was in the 14th and final heat and finished 2nd ,behind eventual 400m champion Jarryd Dunn, in a time of 50.56 seconds to qualify for the semi-finals later that afternoon as a fastest loser. Running in the first semi-final Crawford finished 3rd in 49.65 just 0.02 short of his PB. For the women, club president Vicky Stephen ran in heat 5, finishing 5th in 65.82 seconds, improving her indoor 400m PB by 2 seconds.
Matthew Mellon was the sole entrant from Stirling university in the long jump. This being his first time officially competing in the event, Mellon finished 18th in Pool B just short of 5 metres with 4.97m.
Fraser Weir was competing in this event. With the qualifying taking place in 2 pools, in the centre of the track between the 60m, Weir only needed 1.95m to qualify for the final the next day. Competing on the Sunday, Weir opened up with first time clearances through to 1.95m. With the rest of the team more nervous than himself, Weir managed to clear 1.98m at the 3rd attempt, before going on to clear 2.01m and finish 7th in the final, not far off the medal placings.
Just like the 400m, Stirling had 3 competitors in the Shotput– 2 in the women’s and 1 in the men’s. First, at 10am, was Pool A with Michelle Durbidge throwing. Missing the automatic qualification of 12.70m with a throw of 12.25m, Durbidge finished 4th in Pool A but had to wait until Pool B had thrown to claim a place in the final. In the final, Durbidge threw a PB of 12.69m to finish 5th on countback, with 4th place throwing the same distance but having a further second throw. Kirsty Howatson was competing in Pool B later in the morning and threw over 7m for the first time, setting a PB of 7.01m. For the men, John McOmish was competing. McOmish finished 12th in qualifying Pool A, with a throw of 8.20m, just short of his PB set earlier in the month.
The next competition for the club will be the Scottish Universities Outdoor Championships at Grangemouth on 14th April, where the team will be looking to defend the title that they regained last year, having lost the title in 2009 to St Andrews (first time in 5 years). The club welcomes all new members, regardless of the time of year. For training times, check the Sports Wall in the Atrium, or email the club account firstname.lastname@example.org
The semester hadn’t even started and already sports teams had been out competing. One of these was the Athletics club. Half made the short journey to Glasgow for the Indoor Championships, with the other half making the longer (and snowier) trip to Cardiff for the British Cross Country Championships.
Although Stirling currently hold the Scottish Outdoor title, because of the competition time for the indoors being before semester starts, not much focus is placed on this, so only a team of 10 were competing. From this, the team came away with 4 medals (Fraser Weir – High Jump silver; Andy Carroll – 60m bronze; Janelle McGurk – High Jump bronze; Michelle Durbidge – Shotputt bronze). Many PB’s were also made by the athletes in attendance, and it was also a welcome return to competition for Vicky Stephen, having been out of action since the same competition last year. Up next for the team is the trip down to Sheffield for the British Indoors, competing against the likes of Loughborough and Brunel.
The trip down to Cardiff went off without any troubles, although it appeared on arrival that some problems could emerge. The course conditions on the Friday were not very good, with the ground frozen. This would change on the race day (Saturday) when the snow started to come down an hour before the racing had started! Luckily the races all still went ahead – unlike Aberdeen 2009 where the races were cancelled because of the snow! Once the field of over 300 had congregated for the start of the race it was coming down heavily and a blanket of snow was covering the course, which would be looped 4 times. The stand out performance came from 2nd year student Scott Green, who was the 3rd Scottish University athlete to cross the line in 32.28 (50th). Just under a minute back was Russell White 33.23 (78th). The other team scorers were Ross Christie 36.19 (180th) and Joe Perry 38.56 (242nd) with Kevin Shenck 40.11 (264th) and David Lindsay 40.44 (271st). Scott, Russell, Ross and Joe's points tally came to 550 in 28th positions, one place down from last year.
The womens long race was next to tackle the snowy course, 1 short lap and 2 full laps. Fiona Thompson came home in 27.53 (93rd), Jess Pye 31.28 (227th) and Aillie McGowan 32.04 (253rd). Alex Campbell unfortunately had to withdraw during the race. Despite Fiona and Jess racing through injuries and Ailie competing in her first ever race they still managed 553 points coming home as 58th team.
The final race of the day saw Andy Hood tackle the 3 full laps in the B race. This race is for all the extra athletes who can’t compete in the A race, which is limited to 6 athletes per university. He finished a strong 71st in 26.12
Saturday 19th of November saw a selection of athletes from Stirling University’s Athletics Club head north to St Andrews for the Scottish University Cross Country Championships.
A total of 12 athletes (10 male and 2 female) made the trip. The build-up to the race day in terms of weather was not normal for Scotland – dry and very little rain. The day of the race saw dry, calm and sunny weather. The same however could not be said for the course, with athletes having to watch exactly where they were placing their feet during the race to ensure they did not trip over or cause an injury, many athletes to pull out of the race, including Stirling’s Jess Pye and Nick Leach.
In Cross Country, as well as winning individual medals, team medals are also awarded. For the women, it is the top 3 finishers from each university contributing to the team total, with the lowest number of points declared the winner. Sadly, Stirling only had Alex Campbell (40th) complete the race so therefore were not able to challenge for a team medal.
For men, the number of finishers required to score as a team is 4. With 9 finishers for Stirling, Russell White led the way with an excellent 5th place finish on the demanding course, followed home by Greg Turner (9th), Scott Green (15th) and Cameron Milne (29th) to create the scoring team. After winning the team bronze medal in the men’s race last year, the team were hoping for a repeat performance or an improvement. Sadly this was not to be. The team finished with a combined total of 58 – tied with Strathclyde and Aberdeen who finished 2nd and 3rd in the team race. The result was determined by the 4th placed runner, with both universities having a higher placed 4th athlete. The rest of the team gained great results too; Ross Christie (35th), Joe Perry (53rd), Andrew Hood (56th), David Lindsay (60th) and cross-country captain Kevin Shenck (68th).
As an added bonus, the top 8 finishers in both the men’s and women’s race are invited to compete as part of the Scottish Uni’s team at the Inter District Cross Country match held in January. With his 5th place finish, Russell White qualifies for selection.
Despite the challenging course, the team performed well on the day and the next big event for cross country will be the BUCS Championships in the new year.
To get more information on the athletics club, including training times and how to join, contact Vicky Stephen at email@example.com
The traditional cross–country season opener hosted by Stirling University Athletics Club on the 5th of October started smoothly. The course, also used as part of the East District series which has also previously hosted the Scottish and British University Championships, was a true cross-country course thanks to the deluge of rain in the build-up to the race. Although may've been the reason fewer people turned out, a dry day ensured a competitive race for everyone who took part.
Sunshine prevailed on the day and contributed to what Vicky Stephens (President) described as "a very successful day for the home team." With podium places for Stirling's Greg Turner (2nd overall), Grant Sheldon (2nd Male fresher across the line), Marc Austin (3rd Male fresher across the line), Mhairi Hall (3rd Female fresher across the line) and ex-student Robyn McDowall winning the open female category, things for the cross-country team are definitely looking bright.
A win overall proved that home advantage can make a difference. After finishing 3rd last year, Scott Green stepped up to win the race overall in what he described as "a tough and fast paced race...I had to go hard from the beginning to make sure I had a chance of winning."
Cross country captain Kevin Schenk was also happy with how things went on the day and the support shown from universities from as far away as Aberdeen. Despite numbers being down to 50 competitors, there's hope that next year will see an increase once more. Now that the first race is completed, the team now turn their focus to the East District League, happening on Saturday 15th of October in Stirling. After this, the main events are the Scottish Cross-Country, the British Cross-Country the British McCain cross-country series in Liverpool.
If you missed out this year, it's definitely worth doing it. Well done to everyone who took part this year, especially the person who completed the course in full army kit!
For more information on next year's event or to find out how to get involved in the Athletics team contact Vicky on: firstname.lastname@example.org