Falkirk Victoria Harriers athletes enjoyed a short journey to the weekend’s senior and under-17 Scottish Championships at Grangemouth – but there were big wins for locals.
Wins in a variety of events were highlights for the home side in another extraordinary weekend of sport and athletics – the 125th staging of the event. It also doubled as a Commonwealth Games selection event with athletes at Grangemouth vying for a spot on the Scottish team at the Gold Coast next year.
Sam Briggs got the weekend off to a great start for the local Vics with a gold in the Hammer with a fine throw of 53.31m in one of the first events of the weekend.
Lauren Tenn-Mills claimed the long Jump title with a fine jump measuring 5.50m.
To round off the weekend Kane Elliott had a very impressive victory in the 1500m which rounded off an excellent season for him.
Myra Perkins also landed her first ever Scottish Senior title in the hammer, with a best throw of 61.48m to take gold ahead of local PE teacher, Susan McKelvie.
It was still a bitter-sweet day for Perkins, who is a life member of Falkirk Vics, however, with Myra looking for a second Gold Coast 2018 qualifying standard (62.65m).
“I’m delighted to win it for the first time in my career – I think I was a silver medallist once when still an U17 athlete,” she said.
“It was a decent distance and I’ve been more consistent this year than ever before in terms of getting beyond 61m.
“But I am still chasing a second Commonwealth Games standard and of course the season is drawing to a close.
There’s an event in Liverpool on September 9 which is of the required permit level and there are maybe one or two others I can try and find.
“I was second in the Loughborough Internaitonal, fourth at the British Champs, won at the Manchester International and won today so there’s plenty to be positive about over the season. Clearly I’d love to go to another Commonwealth Games so I will keep chasing the distance.”
One of Myra’s Glasgow 2014 team-mates, Jade Nimmo, took the women’s long jump title with a leap of 5.98m.
There was another connection to Perkins in the men’s 400m. She once shared a primary one class-room with Grant Plenderleith in the Falkirk area.
He had to settle for second in the men’s 400m, though, as Kirshawn Aiken (Enfield) took the gold. Aiken made that a double with 21.65 in the 200m.
Plenderleith did kick off the event with a special visit from the Queen’s baton, and the Team Scotland relay team member at the 2014 Games carried the baton ahead of the championships starting. A group of young Vic’s athletes escorted the whole relay.
Elsewhere U17s: Robin Conlin was fifth in her Hammer. Katy McGonigal was sixth in the Triple Jump and tenth in the Long Jump. Molly Sharp was seventh in her 200m heat, Jessica Christie reached the 800m Semi-final and despite finish fourth just missed out on a final place. Robbie Dougall fought his way through to the final of the male 200m and finshed seventh.
Max Rintoul was placed eighth in his 1500m heat, with Harris Pentecost fifth in the 800m final. Lottie Jeffery, fresh from her U15 title, took on the older age group and did very well making their final to finish seventh. Likewise, Rosie Sharples stepped up an age group to finish a very respectable fifth in the high jump.
In the seniors, James Muir finished ninth in the javelin.
High jumper David Smith secured the Commonwealth standard of 2.21m while there was a championship record in the shot putt by English athlete, Scott Lincoln.
“The selection is going to be so tough, with a smaller team,” said Smith. “I still have a couple more competition possiblities before I end the season and take a holiday. I will do them because I think there is a bigger jump still in there and, if I can jump a bit higher, that might help strengthen my case.”
Away from Grangemouth, Falkirk Vics’ Olivia Vareille and Lewis Pentecost took the long trip down to Bedford to compete in the U17 English AAA Championships.
First up was Lewis in the 1500m steeplechase and he didn’t disappoint. He was always in contention and when the decisive break came Lewis went with them to finish in bronze medal position with a PB of 4.24.26.
Olivia also made her mark in the championship by finishing a highly credible fourth in the 800m final, just missing out on the bronze with a PB of 2.09.51.
It capped off a series of great athletics locally and great performances peformances from all the Vics this weekend.