Nick pulls out all the stops

Highlight of a busy indoor athletics weekend for Stevenage and North Herts AC was the bronze medal won by Nick Stoppard. This was in the English National Combined Event Championships at Sheffield. During the seven event competition, Nick set bests in the

Highlight of a busy indoor athletics weekend for Stevenage and North Herts AC was the bronze medal won by Nick Stoppard.

This was in the English National Combined Event Championships at Sheffield. During the seven event competition, Nick set bests in the 60m (7.41secs), shot (12.36m), pole vault (3m) and in the final event (1000m), when, lying in fifth place, he set a best of 2:52.21 to overtake two rivals and grab the bronze medal.

His total points score of 4,440 was just 19 ahead of the fourth placed athlete and his other marks were 6.31m (long jump), 1.65m (high jump), and 8.71m (60m hurdles).

A large number of club members competed at the Lee Valley Athletics (Indoor) Centre in the Herts county championships, held in conjunction with Middlesex county.


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The men and boys collected a total of 10 golds, seven silvers and four bronzes and set a number of personal bests, either indoor ones or overall indoor and outdoor marks.

Senior man Dan Poulton won both the 800m (indoor pb, 1:58.89) and 1500m events. Adam Searle was second in the 800m (pb, 2:00.84) and Marcus McKechnie was second in the 1500m.

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Under-20 man Cameron Webb won an exciting 400m race, clocking a pb of 51.59; and Aaron Reynolds was third (indoor pb of 53.39). Callum McKechnie won the 1500m race.

Under-17 men winners were Lewis Keeble (400m), Connor Winters (pole vault, pb of 2.90m), and Tan Chowdhury (triple jump).

Tan also won a silver (60m), as did Connor (triple jump, pb of 10.71).

The top result of the day for club members was a clearance of 3.20m in the pole vault by under-15 boy Daniel Gardner.

This is a national standard, and if he retains this form into the summer, this will lead to qualification for the prestigious English Schools' Championships in July.

Daniel, a well-known local gymnast too, also won the triple jump with 10.67m.

Under-15 boy sprinters were also busy. Billy Vernon-Hamilton surprised himself with a great win in the 200m (25.74, pb), followed by Liam Vooght (second in 26.32) and Peter De'Ath (fourth in 27.13).

Billy added two bronzes during the day, in the 60m final (8.01 after a pb of 7.99 in his heat), and long jump with 5.00m, another pb.

Liam was fourth and Peter sixth in the 60m final. Peter jumped into third place in the high jump.

Paul Spicer collected two silver medals in the contrasting events of high jump and 1500m!

The girls and women, with many usual competitors unavailable for various reasons, were outnumbered by the men and boys for a change and they collected six gold, three silvers and three bronzes.

Having moved up an age group, under-15 girl Alex Gates tackled the 400m for the first time and won in 62.35, and followed this with a bronze in the long jump.

Janet Browne won the high jump and was fourth in the long jump.

Laura Agnew, another gymnast, ran in her first 60m hurdles race and was second in 10.61secs.

Ayo Awokoya, now using the 3.25kgs shot, was third in that event with 8.02m.

In the under-17 age group, Charley Nightingale's personal best in the triple jump gained her first place (10.11m), followed by Bethan Scanes in second place. Bethan was third in the long jump.

Chloe Vernon-Hamilton won the shot put, and was third in the 60m hurdles event.

The three senior women claimed two golds and a silver.

Jasmine Forde won the 800m in a time of 2:22.49, which beat both her indoor and outdoor personal best times. Louise Shortland's first outing in 2008 led to her clearing 3.50m to win the pole vault.

Evergreen Joylyn Saunders-Mullins had her first 2008 competition too, putting the 4kgs shot 9.06m for second place.

Hannah Dewhurst represented Herts in the national schools' cross-country championships at Liverpool and finished in 204th place (the fifth Herts scorer) in a race of 335 under-15 girls.

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