Jan 292018

Scottish Indoor Championships

Amy Gullen - high jump bronze

Amy Gullen – high jump bronze

Central AC’s Amy Gullen was back on form as she leapt to an excellent bronze medal in the high jump at the Scottish national indoor championships at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. The 19 year old from Muckhart came into the event confident after clearing 1.66m at the national open 2 weeks earlier, her best for 3 years. She put herself in contention with first time clearances at 1.54m and 1.59m. She then cleared an excellent 1.64m at the first attempt to confirm her in the top 3. The bar was then raised to 1.69m which would be a new personal best and club record height. Amy had 3 good attempts and in the final attempt looked like she was well clear of the bar only to knock it off with her heel. This meant she had to settle for bronze but with gold and silver going to athletes from Ireland and England she had the consolation of being the top placed Scot. Commenting afterwards Amy said “I know the big jump is there, it all just needs to click into place.” Amy is looking to broaden her horizons with competitions in Europe to give her further opportunities and will hopefully be competing in Spain next. Through these, she hopes to find that 1.70m plus jump that she has the potential to do.

Central had several Under-20 age group athletes moving up an age group to test themselves out against the top seniors. Kate Gallagher from Stirling is no stranger to top level competition having regularly represented Scotland at school and junior level. In the senior 1,500m she found herself up against GB internationals Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie but held her form for 5th place in 4:37.90 minutes. This was not only a new personal best with also broke the club indoor Under-20 record that had stood since 1996.

Balfron teenager, Anna Cameron was also on personal best form as she took a respectable 6th place in the long jump with a new best jump of 5.29m to go 3rd on the club indoor all-time list. This was after a respectable 8.26s in the 60m. Fellow Balfron teenager, Matt Chandler, was on similar top form in the men’s long jump with a season’s best 6.42m for 7th.

Andrew Sweeney and Kieran Halliday were contesting the sprints with Andrew running 23.94s in the 200m to just miss out on a place in the semi-final while Kieran ran 24.95s after 7.80s in the 60m.

Scottish Under-17 Indoor Championships

Ben McMillan

Ben McMillan

Central AC’s Ben McMillan was on superb form as he took gold in the 1,500m at the Scottish Under-17 Indoor Championships at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, one of 3 medals won by Central AC athletes at the event. After taking silver at the equivalent Under-15 event 2 years ago, the 16 year old from Stirling has had a difficult time since then with injuries but having recovered came out at the indoor championships to see what form he was on. The question was answered emphatically as he led the final from start to finish and stormed away from the field in the last lap for a win that surprised even himself, in 4:17.52 minutes. Central teammate and training partner, Lewis Dow, followed him round attempting to complete a club 1-2 but he was just outrun at the finish ending in 4th place with 4:18.38 minutes.

Katie Sharkey took a bronze medal in the 60m hurdles with a season’s best 8.97s, finishing top Scot as an English and Irish athlete took the top places.

Central were well represented in the girls’ sprints with Shona McLay, Elizabeth Thompson and Lucy More taking on the 60m and 200m double. In the 60m all 3 set personal bests to progress to the semis, Shona running 8.13s, Elizabeth 8.36s and Lucy 8.51s. In the semis Shona equalled her 8.13s personal best to progress to the final, while Elizabeth sprinted to another personal best 8.27s to narrowly miss a place in the final. Lucy also set another personal best with 8.49s. In the final, Shona produced another 8.13s run to finish in an excellent 4th place just missing a medal.

Shona McLay

Shona McLay

In the 200m, Lucy set an indoor best 28.38s which was not quite enough to progress but both Elizabeth and Shona progressed comfortably through their heats and semis to line up against each other in the final, Elizabeth setting a new personal best 25.99s to qualify. Come the final, a fast athlete from Durham ran away with the gold but the Central pair chased hard for the medals. Shona finished in bronze position in a superb time of 25.61s, a time that was not only a new personal best but was enough to break the club senior record. Elizabeth finished just behind in another personal best 25.89s, a time also inside the previous club record. The club record of 25.9s had stood since 1999 so it was remarkable that 2 athletes had run inside it in one race. For Shona this was an excellent performance in her first year in the age group. For Elizabeth, who is much more comfortable over the 300m and 800m distances, it was quite a remarkable achievement to come so close to her first ever national medal at the shorter 200m sprint. This bodes well for when she returns to her longer distances.

And the good sprinting form from the Central athletes will stand them in good stead for the upcoming national 4x200m relay championships. The club’s team 2 years ago missed the national record by just 0.3s: with good form and baton exchanges this year’s team could go better than that.

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