Central AC had a successful weekend at the Scottish Schools Track and Field Championships.
Group D report
In the youngest Group D (Under-14) age group the club’s competitors were mainly taking part at this level for the first time but came away with an impressive tally of four medals and numerous personal bests.
Robb Ferguson of Lornshill Academy was on top form as he took his first ever gold medal at a national level event in the Javelin after throwing a personal best of 35.71m in a close competition. In the 80 Metres Hurdles he added to his medal collection with a silver in a time of 12.86s.
Also getting on top of the podium was Connor Bell of Balfron High. Connor ran a measured 800 Metres as he paced himself over the first lap then hit the front in the second lap. One athlete remained with him but he managed to stay in front in the sprint finish to win in an excellent personal best 2:09.23. In the same event was Ruaridh Burns of Stirling High who finished a respectable fifth in a personal best 2:14.09.
Alva Academy were well represented in this age group with Danielle Abel, Hannah Tams and Kate Gilvear all turning out for the school for the first time. Danielle was competing in the 75 Metres Hurdles for the first time ever and also stepping up from her usual Under-13 age group. She was undaunted by the challenge and finished in an excellent fifth place in the final with 13.51s. She also managed a fine finish in the Long Jump, jumping to a personal best 4.12m for seventh.
Hannah and Kate were both contesting the 100 Metres. Hannah had a good outing as she reached the final where she placed eighth in a season’s best 13.91s and Kate ran a personal best 14.56s in her heat.
Group C report
Scott Hopper of McLaren High was on great form in the Group C (age 14) age group at the Scottish Schools Championships, winning two medals. He started in the Shot Put where a throw of 12.52m earned him a silver medal in a close competition. He returned the next day for the Javelin and was the clear winner with a big throw of 39.23m, over six metres clear of the opposition, taking the gold medal.
In the 1,500 Metres Cameron MacMillan of Dollar Academy was on the podium after running a personal best 4:28.58 minutes to take the bronze medal, his first ever medal at a national level event.
Central AC pair Louise Carroll of Balfron and Katherine Fowler of McLaren High were each chasing their second Scottish schools medal this season – the previous weekend Louise had won a silver in the relay and Katherine a bronze in the pentathlon. In the High Jump both athletes went clear up to 1.40m, and at 1.45m Louise cleared first time and Katherine cleared at the second time of asking. At 1.50m both athletes came very close but couldn’t quite go over, but with only two athletes going clear Louise won the bronze medal on countback, her first ever individual medal at a national level event, with Katherine in fifth on countback
Katherine had another chance at a medal in the 200 Metres. She won her heat comfortably, just missing her personal best with 26.49s into a strong headwind. In the final the headwind was even stronger and she found herself in fourth place coming off the bend. She dug in and clawed back five metres on the athlete outside her to snatch an excellent bronze medal in 26.74s, an excellent time into a 3.5 metres per second headwind.
Louise was also entered in the 75 Metres Hurdles and achieved her aim of reaching the final where she placed seventh in 13.10s.
In the endurance events Catriona Kane (Dunblane HS) was on good form in the 1,500 Metres where she ran a big personal best 5:20.34 to place eighth. East District champion Amy Cully (Wallace High) reached the 800 Metres final after running 2:32.21.
Group B report
Coirilidh Cook and Erik Escala were on top form at the Scottish Schools Championships in the Group B (age 15-16) age group. This age group has the added incentive of international selection from the event.
Coirilidh has won numerous Scottish titles and had already won a gold medal in the Balfron High relay team a week earlier. However she was looking for her first individual title in the Under-17 age group as she took on the 80 Metres Hurdles. She is unbeaten over hurdles this season but had not yet faced opposition from the whole of Scotland and with some good athletes challenging her, she knew she would have to be at her best. After comfortably qualifying through her heat she lined up in the final and set off fast. She led from the start but faced a strong challenge at the finish. However she managed to hold on at the line to take the gold in 12.01s, an excellent time considering the strong headwind. She later took part in the Long Jump placing a respectable sixth with a personal best 5.17m.
Multi-eventer Erik Escala showed his versatility as he first took on the Pole Vault event. The 16-year-old Dunblane High pupil has been making steady progress at a relatively new event for him and made another big improvement as he took his personal best from 3.30m to an excellent clearance of 3.55m to take the bronze medal. He was not finished there, and looked to add to his medals in the Shot Put where he produced another personal best with a throw of 12.44m which won him an excellent silver medal to make it a medal double.
There was further good news for Coirilidh and Erik as both athletes have been selected to represent Scotland at the schools track and field international in Swansea in July where they will face teams from Wales, Ireland and England.
Shona McLay of Stirling High had a return to form in the 100 Metres where she ran 12.96s to qualify for the final. In the final she was facing a strong headwind but managed 13.26s for a respectable fifth place.
Lois Burch of McLaren High has made great improvements in the hurdles this season and ran an excellent 12.75s in the 80 Metres Hurdles heat in spite of the strong headwind, to line up alongside Coirilidh and make it two Central athletes in the final. This was Lois’s first ever final appearance at a national event and she can be proud of her seventh place finish.
Grace Tindall of Alva Academy ran a big personal best in the 3,000 Metres of 11:08.29 for eighth and also set a personal best in the 800 Metres with 2:28.29.
There was a sixth place for Molly Cornes (Balfrom High) in the High Jump with 1.50m and Daniel Ferguson (Lornshill Academy) placed seventh in the 100 Metres Hurdles with 15.14s after running 12.18s in the 100 Metres.
Jack Haughton (Dunblane High) sprinted to the 100 Metres semi-finals with 11.92s in his heat. Aidan Grevemberg (Balfron High) pulled up with a hamstring injury in the 100 Metres, but still crossing the line in 12.15s. This was enough to progress but he was unfortunately unable to continue after his injury.
Lucy More (McLaren High) just missed out on a semi-final place in the 100 Metres with 13.89s, and then ran 27.99s in the 200 Metres.
Group A report
In the oldest Group A (age 17 and over) age group Central AC’s athletes brought a wealth of experience to the event. For many of them it was also their final appearance for their school before leaving.
This included Tom Graham-Marr who was competing in the 1,500 Metres. The 18-year-old Stirling High pupil was still chasing his first medal after six years of appearances at Scottish schools events. However his wait finally came to an end as he ran an excellent personal best 4:15.76 to place third and step onto the podium for a bronze medal.
Dollar Academy pair Emma Mailer and Ben MacMillan are no strangers to the podium after numerous gold medals between them. Emma was pleased to get on top of the podium again in the 400 Metres Hurdles after running a controlled race to take the gold medal.
Ben was in the 3,000 Metres and found himself in the leading group in a tactical race. He was well placed when the pace quickened in the final lap and while he was just outrun in the final sprint finish he still managed to take a fine silver medal with a time of 8:57.54.
Elizabeth Thompson signed off her Balfron High career on a high note as she took bronze in the 400 Metres, and Euan Smith (Dollar Academy) was on form in the 200 Metres as he set an impressive personal best 23.03s for sixth.
Overall it was an excellent turnout from club athletes with a total of 17 medals including five golds and 20 personal bests. Well done to all that took part.