A report from the first match for AAC in Division 1.

400m hurdles

With promotion to Division 1 last year, Abingdon AC approached this year’s Midlands League in the knowledge that the level of competition had stepped up. This was apparent from the first track event, the 400mh, however the four scoring runners of Lizzy Quigley, Charlotte Salt, Jack Gavin and Alexander Pennington did not let this phase them and ran with confidence placing 6th, 4th, 3rd and 1st respectively, with Andrew Caruana knocking over 5s off his previous best in the non-scoring hurdles race.

Throwing

It wasn’t only on the track where there was a noticeable improvement in the standard, but in the throwing field as well. However, the men's throwing team of André Oliveira, Marc Juffkins and Steve Pomeroy put in strong performances in both the A and the B string with Marc and André throwing PBs in the shot and discus respectively. On the women's side Fatima Jammeh Kinteh, Katherine Mitchell and Stef Bazylkiewicz had a busy day, all taking part in multiple events, the notable performances came in the shot where Katherine and Fatima placed second in both the A and the B string and for Stef in the discus where she threw a 1.45m PB.

Sprints

The strength and depth of the other clubs was most evident in the sprint events, however, some stand out performances from Tiffany Cox meant that she won both the 100m and 200m in the A string and she was well backed up by Scarlett Herold who placed second in both in the B string. In the men's sprints, Loick Bazzi, Zack Smith and Aric Klukowski raced well with PBs for Loick and Aric. Even before race day there was an impressive declaration from the Abingdon middle and long distance group and the team of Owen Stepney, Adam Ede, Calum Steer, Kie Francis, Harrison Read and David Bunn put in strong, competitive performances. The slightly smaller but no less dedicated female team of Cordelia Parker, Beth Darwent, Anya Bromley and Louise Astill raced well with Cordelia completing the lesser known double of the 800m and 3000m.

Jump events

On the field, Fiona Bristow jumped close to her best this season despite a shin injury to take 4th pace, with Tiffany Cox scooping 3rd place in the B string. William Barrett added 44cm to his long jump PB and a massive 2m to his triple jump PB in his first time competing in this senior league. Pete Stepney, Marc Juffkins and Carine Muir scored excellent points in the pole vault between them taking 5th, 4th and 3rd places respectively. Meanwhile, Taimaru Kimber-Bidlot and Malte Wilhelmsson were up against tough competition in the high jump, with jumps of nearly 2m winning both the A and B strings. Unfazed they both jumped near their best, with Taimaru’s hand just denying him the chance to progress past his PB.

Relays

The day concluded with the relays. On tired legs, the sprints teams still came home in 3rd and 4th places in the women’s and men’s 4x100m. For the 4x400m relay, this was not many of the athletes’ favoured event, however, they all stepped up to the challenge and got the baton round, both finishing in 5th place and gaining valuable points.

Thanks to our officials

At the end of the day Abingdon finished in 4th place, a very respectable finish for our first outing in Division 1 - well done and thanks to all athletes and officials! Abingdon hosted this first match at Horspath, so thanks also to Richard Hart and his team, our scorers Mark Lewy and Erica Woosey-Griffin, our announcer Caroline Hutchings, the team of helpers and hurdle-movers, and especially to Noel Blatchford and Pete Stepney for their excellent organisation and management of the meeting, without whom the day would not have run so smoothly.

Next match

The next match is hosted by Birchfield Harriers at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham on 16 June.