SOUTHEND AC’s under-15 girls team finished the season in style by winning their age group at the East Anglian League final at Bury St Edmunds.
The youngsters put in an impressive display to finish well clear of second placed Cambridge & Coleridge in miserable conditions in Suffolk.
Team Manager June Cork said: “This has been on the cards all season and just having the whole talented squad out together at last has given all of us a great end-of season buzz.
“Despite the weather, they really couldn’t have done any more than they did on Sunday. It was a superb team effort with a really well-deserved win!”
The Southend girls led from the outset after Michelle Manyewe (fourth A-string 12.8s) and Sarah Weaver (first B-string 13.0s) combined well in the 75m hurdles.
There were two useful performances in the shot from Jade Packer (fourth A-string 8.33m) and Abby Cronin (second B-string 7.74m) while Natasha May’s 2m 36.7s and Gabriella Pearson’s 2m 37.8s added valuable points in the 800m. But it was a fine sprinting double in the 100m that saw the Seasiders pull away from the other teams.
Lucy Shaw won the A-string 100m in 13.4s while Jade Packer won the B-string in 13.9s.
On a day not suited for PBs, Abby Cronin did just that in the hammer claiming an invaluable third place with 24.56m – adding to her collection of club age 13 records set this season.
Strong performances in the high jump from Paige Hutchings (third A-string 1.45m) and Pearson (fourth B-string 1.35m), and javelin with Rebecca Dalgarno claiming third with 23.59m and May winning the B outright with 21.51m. – further reinforced the squad’s lead.
Sophie Rickner (A-string, 44.8s) and Pearson (B, 48.2s) both finished as runners-up in the 300m, while Lucy Kidwell won the A-string 1,500m (5m 13.3s) with Rachael Aldis second in the B (5m 3.72s).
A 17.20m and 13.48m from Cronin and May in the discus further advanced the cause as did the long jumps of Rickner (4.02m) and Manyewe (4.01m) added more points to the tally.
The sprint duo of Shaw and Packer then starred again in the 200m to make their lead almost unassailable.
Shaw was second in the A-string in the 200m (27.9s) and Packer won the B-string (28.1s).
Shaw was back on track for the 4x100m and anchored the team of Rickner, Packer, Manyewe to a comprehensive victory.
l There were three other Seasiders’ squads at Bury St Edmunds: the under-13 girls and the senior men who both finished third. Amazingly, the men did it with just four athletes, with Kevin Brown and Greg Goodrem both competing decathlons (100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, HJ, LJ, TJ, SP, DT, JT, HT and 110m hurdles).
The other two men, distance specialists David Gibbon (9m 25.8s) and Ashley Capel (9m 53.6s), out-ran the opposition in the 3,000m to finish first and second in the combined A & B-string race.
In the under-13 girls, there were wins for Ellie Rowan (14.5s 100m) and 11-year-old Eleanor Butt (23.49m javelin – the second club age record of the day). Other results: 200m – Ellie Rowan (30.1s), Laura Knight (31.4s); Discus – Eleanor Butt (16.12m); 800m – Eloise Lewis (2m 54.9s), Georgia Goble (2m 54.5s); 100m Alisha Hayes (15.1s); 1,500m – Iona Doyle (5m 51.0s); HJ – Doyle (1.15m), Hayes (1.25m); 70mh – Doyle (13.8s), Brogan Ravenall (13.9s); SP – Ravenall (6.02m), Blythe Pearson (6.16m); LJ – Rowan (3.65m), Ravenall (3.55m).
Southend were fifth in the 4x100m.
l Southend AC team manager June Cork praised the work of the officials who have worked hard throughout the season and without whom “athletes wouldn’t end the season with measured performances of any kind”.