Central AC’s athletes were out in force at the East District championships at Grangemouth. This is the first championships of the outdoor season and is a good steppingstone for athletes between club and national level events. It is also a good opportunity for athletes to try and win a first ever championship medal and two of Central’s Under-13 athletes took that opportunity to get on the podium.
Dylan McCulloch had a busy day taking on three events. He started the day in the best way possible with an excellent silver medal in the 75 Metres Hurdles, running a personal best 14.02 seconds. He added a further personal best 13.94s in his 100 Metres heat before finishing seventh in the final in 14.37s. And he finished the day strongly with another good performance in the Shot Put, throwing 5.67m to just miss a medal in fourth.
Emily Guest was also on the podium for the first time ever in the 100 Metres. In her heat, she dipped under 14 seconds for the first time ever with a personal best 13.82s, then followed this up with 13.94s in the final to take the bronze medal. She returned the next day for the 200 Metres, running a big personal best 28.48s, nearly a second faster than her previous best, to qualify for the final. The final was a fast race and she finished a creditable fifth in 28.93s. Her 200 Metres personal best earned her a silver running grade on the club standards scheme which, together with her jumps and throws grades over the season lifted to the overall gold award standard for the season.
Jamie Oldham and Lewis Miller were both unlucky not to get on the podium after several near misses between them. In the 800 Metres, Jamie ran a personal best 2:27.77 to take fourth place. In the Long Jump it was Lewis’s turn to place fourth with a jump of 4.07m just ahead of Jamie who was fifth in a personal best 4.06m. In the 100 Metres, Lewis ran a season’s best 13.91s for fifth and then, the following day, in the 200 Metres Jamie was yet again just run out of a medal with a personal best of 29.16s. Jamie and Lewis can be proud of setting several personal bests for top five positions in all their events.
Aaron Middleton just missed his personal best by a whisker in placing a creditable fifth in the 1,500 Metres with 5:13.69. Erin Partridge made a welcome return to competition after a year’s injury lay off with personal bests at both Long Jump with 3.82m for seventh, and 100 Metres with 14.81s.
There was a large contingent of Central’s Under-15 athletes out at the East District championships and they were rewarded with seven medals and many new best performances.
Amy Cully was in seventh heaven after winning her first ever individual medal with a superb victory in the 800 Metres. The 14-year-old from Stirling timed her run perfectly after sitting on the shoulder of the race leader to storm past in the home straight and hold off the opposition all the way to the line to take the gold medal. Her time of 2:25.64 was a season’s best, just outside her personal best, but in a championship it is the gold medal that matters far more than the time.
Katherine Fowler was also winning her first ever medal in the 100 Metres. The 14-year-old from Callander started well, smashing her personal best in the heats to dip below 13 seconds with 12.97s. She then ran an even swifter 12.93s in the final to take third place and the bronze medal and earn herself a bronze standard on the club awards scheme.
Scott Hopper was Central’s most prolific medal winner of the weekend. Scott, from Callander, is no stranger to the podium after numerous medals in jumps and throws. He started as comfortable winner in the Shot Put after opening with 12.07m to take him 4 metres clear of the opposition before improving this in the final round with 12.54m to take his first gold of the weekend. He returned the next day for the Javelin where he was similarly dominant, opening with 37.81m, and finishing with a superb personal best of 45.48m to win the gold medal and go top of the Scottish rankings and earn another gold standard on the club awards scheme. Scott finished with the High Jump where he came close to his personal best with a jump of 1.66m to add a silver medal and end with a tally of 3 medals.
Connor Bell was also on great form in the 800 Metres as he ran a personal best 2:10.38 to place third in a fast race and take the bronze medal, his first medal at the Under-15 age group.
Louise Carroll rounded off the medal tally for the club in the Triple Jump where she hop, step and jumped her way to the bronze medal with a leap of 9.76m for third. While this jump was over the wind limit so not eligible for records, her next best jump of 9.63m was legal and broke the club outdoor record she set last season. She will look to take the outdoor record beyond her indoor best 9.88m set earlier this year. Earlier, Louise just missed out on the medals in the High Jump. A first-time clearance of 1.44m was enough for sixth place however there was frustration for her as she was unable to clear 1.49m, despite of some close attempts at a height she has cleared previously. This frustration was exacerbated when 1.49m ended up being the winning height, meaning she was just one jump from gold.
There were many other fine performances. Ruaridh Burns took fourth place in the Long Jump with 4.84m then set a personal best in the 1,500 Metres with 5:13.76. Brogan MacMillan had a busy weekend as she placed fifth at 800 Metres with 2:45.36, ran 16.21s at 75 Metres Hurdles then finished with a season’s best 31.05s at the 200 Metres.
The girls’ Shot Put saw two Central athletes in action as Ellen Montgomery placed fifth with 6.96m just ahead of Megan Dunlop who threw 6.38m for sixth. Ellen showed her versatility as she jumped 3.81m at Long Jump and ran a season’s best 14.20s for 75 Metres Hurdles. Megan ran a good personal best in the 100 Metres with 13.98s.
Euan Docherty ran a respectable 2:20.89 at 800 Metres to qualify for the final where he placed seventh. Finlay Marchant also reached the final in the 100 Metres after running a near personal best 12.97s in the heats then placing eighth in a fast final. And rounding off the Central success were Mirren Henry and Summer McLean who both set personal bests in the 1,500 Metres, where Mirren ran 5:09.05 for seventh just ahead of Summer who ran 5:13.76 for 12th.
There were further medals for Central in the Under-17 age group. This age group was affected by the championships falling in the middle of the SQA exam season but a few athletes managed to pull themselves away from their studies to come out and compete.
The highlight came from Lucy More who finally won her first ever individual medal in the 200 Metres. The 16-year-old from Aberfoyle has competed for Central for many years and won several medals in relay events. However an individual podium spot had so far eluded her. She started the weekend well with a personal best in the 100 Metres of 13.22s for fifth. However in the 200 Metres she found herself in a battle for third place. She held her nerve and crossed the line in 27.42s for a bronze medal, a well-deserved reward after years of hard work and dedication to the club.
Coirilidh Cook is a seasoned competitor with numerous medals to her name including the Celtic Games title and UK silver medal last summer. She has just moved up an age group and opened her outdoor season in the 80 Metres Hurdles with a strong run of 12.05s to take the gold medal and earn a silver standard on the club awards scheme.
Lewis Dow opened his outdoor season in the 1,500 Metres, keeping with the leaders in a tactical race until the final lap when the pace quickened. He finished with 4:18.18 for fourth but will look to improve before his next outing. And Naomi Howlieson placed a respectable fifth in the Discus with 17.94m.
Senior and Under-20s Scottish National Open
While the younger age groups were competing for district honours, the Senior and Under-20 athletes were taking part in the Scottish National Open, a new format of event bringing together all the top athletes from Scotland. There were no medals at stake, but the athletes had the opportunity to put in good performances and, for the top athletes, to put their case for selection for Scotland in the upcoming Loughborough international.
The sprinters and jumpers were at Grangemouth where Peter Muirhead showed a return to form in the Long Jump. The 25-year-old Stirling University student and long-time Central AC member jumped an excellent season’s best 7.29m, his best jump for three years for second place overall. And in his six jump series the former Scottish senior indoor champion produced a wind-legal 7.16m which places him fifth in the Scottish rankings for the year to give notice that he is back to his best. Masters athlete Ron Todd took an excellent third in the Pole Vault with 3.20m. Balfron schoolgirl Elizabeth Thompson found it tough in her first senior championship but opened her outdoor season with a respectable 60.23s in the women’s 400 Metres. And Keiran Halliday continued his consistent form in the 200 Metres with 23.66s.
In Kilmarnock, where the endurance events were being held, Lauren McCulloch was Central’s sole competitor in the 1,500 Metres where she came away with an excellent third place and personal best of 4:50.32 minutes.
Overall it was an excellent weekend for the club with 22 new personal best performances. Well done to all.