What a night! Our young athletes rubbing shoulders with Laura Muir and KJT and high-fiving with the legend that is Michael Johnson. It was the 2019 Scottish Athletics National Indoor 4x200m age-group finals, held as a curtain raiser to the European Indoor Championships. Giffnock North had excelled in the qualifying round and had at least one team in every final. Could our young athletes cope with the confusion, chaos and excitement of a packed warm-up area in the presence of many famous athletes and TV presenters? You bet they could! We came away with an amazing haul of 3 Golds, 2 Bronzes and a bucketful of breathless performances.
Read on for a report on each age group… Full names below.
Our U13 girls relay squad (Erin, Madeleine, Sophie, Emily, Casey and Katie) sporting blue and yellow hair ribbons were the fastest qualifiers from the heats and semi-final 2 weeks ago, but this was deliberately not mentioned in the run up to the big night. Despite the nerves …and there were nerves (coach and athletes), the girls did what they always do every session…they warmed up methodically, they paid visits to the outdoor portaloos…then they did it all again!
And so eventually they hit the track and my goodness there was no stopping them. With maturity and speed and convincing baton exchanges, they swiftly moved to hold first place at the beginning to the 2nd leg and never lost it. Knocking 2 seconds off their semi-final time, this team of Erin, Madeleine, Sophie and Emily became national 4×200 relay champions at approx. 6pm on Fri and we think they will be reliving that moment for many years to come.
The U13 boys team (Ellis, Ryan, Bobby, Felix, Craig and Max) had qualified as the fastest team, but only just……it looked like it would be a very close race. There were personnel changes in most of the teams so it was anyone’s guess what would happen. Like the others, they kept their cool in a chaotic warm up environment and were excited when Michael Johnston came down from the TV gantry to talk to them while they were in the assembly area.
Off to the track….would they keep their nerve and their focus…..
Ellis ran a fantastic first leg in lane 6, those are big climbs up the banking for the U13s! In a tight one, two, three the clubs in the three outside lanes passed the baton together.Now for the 2nd runner….would he break in the right place. Ryan hadn’t run the heats but knew what he was doing. Through the cones safely and now to the next change over, safely passing the baton to Bobby in 4th/5th place. Bobby set off on a charge, pulled back to fourth and then with a huge effort, to third before handing over to Felix. Felix, cool and calm as usual, set off after Edinburgh and Kilbarchan but just had too much to do and couldn’t pull it back. It was a fantastic team effort and they had their travelling support, Max, shouting them on for the whole race. They also have a bronze National Relay Championship medal, loads of fantastic memories and a chance to do it all again in two weeks at the SAIL final.
Under 15 Boys
It was a great team performance from the 6 U15 boys in the heats & final. The boys ran their hearts out and never gave up the whole way round, crossing the line in fourth place. But their never say never attitude was rewarded when Airdrie’s Team were disqualified and the boys were promoted to bronze. Everybody loves the relays, they are so exciting and unpredictable in many ways. So let that be a great example to all of us in future relay races, never give up, no matter what position you are in, because the end isn’t just the finish line, it is the track umpire’s final ruling!
Our U15 girls team of Angelica, Ella, Josie and Ava were in an extremely competitive final with the eventual winners breaking the championship record. Our girls ran their hearts out and were ably supported from the side-lines by their 2 reserves (Jennifer and Olivia).
Following on from their success at the qualifying heats of the National our U17 women’s team of Alyson Bell, Katie Foss, Rachel Callan & Caroline MacConnell were eager to try and improve on their National Record and Championship best time of 1.43.38. We were not to be disappointed.
Alyson got off to a great start but was pushed hard all the way by Fife AC. Handed the baton in first place, Katie extended the lead and Rachel did the same on the third leg. One final safe baton change was now all that was required. Caroline charged off with the baton safely in hand and a good lead so we now turned our attention to the clock. Was the record still on? Caroline stayed focussed and crossed the line in new Scottish Record of 1.43.20. The combined effort and performance of all the girls resulted in an improvement of 0.18s.
The girls are now looking forward to the relays at the SAIL final and they’ll be doing their utmost to improve their record time once more to finish off a great indoor season.
Why take one team to the finals when you can take two!? Giffnock’s U17 men were unique amongst all the competing clubs in getting two teams to the finals. While the A Team had been expected to make the final, the B Team upset the form book to qualify as one of the fastest runners-up.
Both U17 mens team took a rather novel approach to warm-up – they did it outside in the street! You could not imagine how chaotic the warm-up area was, but amongst all the noise, contradicting instructions from officials and athletic gear strewn everywhere, the boys kept their cool and thoroughly prepared themselves for the race. And so to the action….
Max MacHarg, Ross Veitch and Rueben Nairne kept up the pressure on race leaders Kilbarchan over the first three legs before passing to Finlay Waugh for the final run-in. The Scottish 200m champion could smell gold. He closed the gap and waited his moment to pounce. Coming round the final bend Finlay turned on the afterburners and left the Kilbarchan athlete in his wake. Gold for Giffnock (for the third time) in a time of 1:32.06. It was a great battle all the way round and well done to Kilbarchan for making it such a great race. Khaliq Kelani lead the U17 B Team to a great start. Ben McCahill and then Iliane Hifi, running second and third battled to stay in touch and then Jacob Luc finished with his usual charge. The boys never gave up for a moment and finished 6th in a time of 1.39.64.
Well Done Everyone!
A brilliant night for Giffnock North. 3 Golds and 2 Bronzes. Wow! The best club performance by far on the night. As a reward our athletes and Team Managers (Sara Lang, Jackie Alexander, Tony Mayer, Symon Lipp, Billy Glasgow, Gerry Duggan and Anne Stewart) received free tickets to watch the Euro finals where we roared Laura Muir to gold. A perfect end to a perfect competition. Every single Giffnock North athlete gave it their all. Coaches, family and friends are so proud of you. As ever, thank you to parents for supporting your athletes throughout the year. Success comes from regular and focussed training and your involvement is vital.
Many of the pictures are courtesy of our friends at Athletics Digital .
If you want the original full resolution pictures, you can go to their website and find the Club Connect Relay Album and buy direct. https://www.facebook.com/athleticsdigital/
(Consolidated report from the relay Team Managers)
All photographs courtesy of Gary Leek (Athletics Digital) & Others
1 GIFFNOCK NORTH AC ‘A’ 1:55.89
Erin McKay, Madeline McKenzie, Sophie Ferguson, Emily Williams. ( Reserves Casey Carr & Katie Orr)
2 DUNFERMLINE TRACK & FIELD CLUB ‘A’ 1:57.00
3 VP-GLASGOW AC ‘A’ 1:57.44
4 EDINBURGH AC ‘A’ 2:01.14
5 KILBARCHAN AAC ‘A’ 2:01.30
6 AIRDRIE HARRIERS ‘A’ 2:02.95
1 VP-GLASGOW AC ‘A’ 1:46.41N
2 EDINBURGH AC ‘B’ 1:47.70
3 PITREAVIE AAC ‘A’ 1:48.76
4 LARKHALL YMCA HARRIERS ‘A’ 1:49.14
5 LIVINGSTON AC ‘B’ 1:50.26
6 GIFFNOCK NORTH AC ‘A’ 1:52.05
Angelica Mayer, Ella McGregor, Josie Reilly & Ava Bruce (Reserves Jennifer Torrance & Olivia Dykes)
1 GIFFNOCK NORTH AC ‘A’ 1:43.20 New National Record
Alyson Bell, Katie Foss, Rachel Callan & Caroline MacConnell (Reserves Rosie McKay & Brooke Moran)
2 FIFE AC ‘A’ 1:47.52
3 EDINBURGH AC ‘A’ 1:48.74
4 TEAM EAST LOTHIAN ‘A’ 1:49.41
5 VP-GLASGOW AC ‘A’ 1:49.68
6 PITREAVIE AAC ‘A’ 1:49.97
1 EDINBURGH AC ‘A’ 1:54.13B
2 KILBARCHAN AAC ‘A’ 1:56.02
3 GIFFNOCK NORTH AC ‘A’ 1:58.58
Ellis Nairne, Bobby Kiltie, Ryan Davie, Felix Chan (Reserves Craig Shennan & Max Sheridan)
4 SHETTLESTON HARRIERS ‘A’ 1:59.19
5 VP-GLASGOW AC ‘A’ 2:00.37
— AIRDRIE HARRIERS ‘A’ DQ 163.3a
1 EDINBURGH AC ‘A’ 1:42.42
2 LARKHALL YMCA HARRIERS ‘A’ 1:45.85
3 GIFFNOCK NORTH AC ‘A’ 1:46.04
Aiden Cumming, Daniel Martin, Ross Gourley & Josh Thielan-Mann ( Alex Waugh & Frankie Bradley)
4 SHETTLESTON HARRIERS ‘A’ 1:50.36
5 LAW & DISTRICT AAC ‘A’ 1:51.46
— AIRDRIE HARRIERS ‘A’ DQ 163.3a
1 GIFFNOCK NORTH AC ‘A’ 1:32.06
Max McHarg, Ross Veitch, Reuben Nairne & Finlay Waugh
2 KILBARCHAN AAC ‘A’ 1:32.52
3 EDINBURGH AC ‘A’ 1:36.28
4 KILMARNOCK H&AC ‘A’ 1:36.35
5 AIRDRIE HARRIERS ‘A’ 1:37.36
6 GIFFNOCK NORTH AC ‘B’ 1:39.64
Khaliq Kelani, Ben McCahill, Iliane Hifi & Jacob Luc.
Grateful thanks to Gerry Duggan for collating this report from all the Sprints coaches.
Well done to all