The Scottish Schools Athletic Association Outdoor Championships took place on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th of June in Grangemouth stadium, which now hosts the very track used in last year’s extremely successful Commonwealth Games.
The weather on the two days could not have been more different; on Friday the glorious weather allowed the athletes to produce phenomenal times whilst the spectators bathed in the sunshine, however the Saturday had us all wrapped up in our usual layered attire to watch the athletes battle against less favourable conditions. That being said the Giffnock North athletes, competing for their school, produced performances that delivered smiles to many faces regardless of the weather.
The event covers 4 age groups; Group A consisting of over 17, Group B consisting of 15 to 17 years, Group C involves athletes aged 14 to 15 and finally Group D hosts the youngest athletes aged under 14. All in all, it was a record year for entries showing that the sport of athletics is continually growing in Scotland and provided great competition for all those involved.
The medals started on the Friday with Rachel Alexander, competing in her final school event. Rachel secured Gold in the Group A long jump; continuing her superb form this season and showing why she is being considered for the Commonwealth Youth Games. This was closely followed by Iona Menzies winning Gold in the Group B 80m hurdles. Not content with winning one medal, Iona followed this up on the Saturday with Gold in the 300m hurdles showing her versatility over the hurdles. Jenna Wrisberg was a sprint double medalist taking Gold in the 100m A group and Silver in 200m.
Over the flat 300m, Sophie Haldane triumphed to win her first Scottish Schools title. Sophie committed from the gun and maintained form through to the line to earn gold. Over the 400m David Allen, returning from injury, earned a superb Silver medal in the Group B category to defy the odds having only made the decision to compete 2 weeks ago. This performance was closely followed with Niamh Graham gaining a Bronze medal in the Group A 400m showing her great passion for the sport.
In the distance events, Erin Wallace showed maturity beyond her years, controlling the race to add another Scottish Schools title to her name in the Group B 1500m. Chris Stewart, competing in Group A, won gold in the 2000m Steeplechase. Although there were only 4 athletes competing, they all welcomed the water jump to cool off during their run. Oliver Watson-Sweeney added to the medal haul with a bronze in the 1500m Steeplechase in the Group B category.
On the Saturday, Reuben Nairne started the medal winning performances off with a Bronze in the Group D 80m hurdles to add to his Silver medal in the Pole Vault from the day before. David Lambie also jumped a personal best of 1.90m to win the Silver medal in the Group A High Jump. Also in High Jump , competing in Group B Ethan Dear took the Bronze medal with 1.85 . Alessandro Schenini was a double medallist, jumping a personal best in the Long Jump to gain a Silver medal in the Group B category. He later backed this up with a bronze in the 400m hurdles. Rochelle Moukala, continued the excellent sprint performances with a silver medal in the Group C 300m. Furthermore, Amy Donaghy ensured another medal for the sprinters with a personal best in the Group B girls 200m, where she gained a Bronze medal fighting every inch of the way.
Sarah Eunson proved once again to be an extremely gutsy runner, leading from the gun to win the Group B 800m Gold medal; a reward for her continued hard work this season. Hamish Armitt was involved in a close race which seen him win the Silver medal in the boys Group D 1500m.
It was clear to all, that the Giffnock North athletes conducted themselves in an extremely mature manner throughout the competition. They were true role models for the sport and their school; an advert as to why so many people are getting involved in athletics They also tested the coaches’ ability to ensure the medal count was as spot on as the athletes’ performances.