Firstly, well done to all of our athletes who took part in the Youth Development League this season. They all did themselves proud and represented Dartford Harriers AC brilliantly.
Team captains, Helen and Jon share their reflections on the recently finished season.
It’s not an easy competition; in the final standings we finished 5th out of the 6 teams in the league, ahead of Reigate Priory AC. However, we were in touching distance of 3rd spot, and if we strengthen in a couple of areas for next season, we can be confident of leapfrogging Belgrave Harriers and Hercules Wimbledon AC in the table. Who knows, perhaps we might even give Holland Sports AC and Herts Phoenix (this year’s champions) a run for their money.
Our results were up and down during the four fixtures, with two 6th place finishes (for the first and third meetings at Crawley and Battersea, respectively), one 5th (at the last fixture, at Tooting Bec), and one 3rd place finish at Ware in Hertfordshire. This 3rd place finish deserves a special mention, as the athletes who travelled the longer distance to Ware helped us to achieve the best of our results.
21 Dartford Harriers AC Athletes took part altogether this season. Please see the match report for the first fixture of the season here.
For the following three matches, notable performances were as follows:
Kai Barham has shown total domination in the hammer this season. At the time of writing, he is ranked 2nd in the country for his age group, most recently achieving a mark of 47.84m. His throws markedly improved throughout the season, with his last three throws in the YDLL progressing from 35.59m (AAA 3) to 41.64m (AAA 2), and then to 44.94m (AAA 1) at the last match.
Kai formed a formidable partnership with Ayo Johnson, monopolising the top spots in the discus and shot, too. His discus improved from 24.55m to 27.17m and then 30.02m (AAA 3), and in the shot he threw a AAA 4 standard of 10.12m (his best stands 11.01m).
Ayomide Johnson’s performances in the shot and discus, in particular, have been a revelation. In the shot put, he impressed with unbeatable throws of 10.49m (AAA 4), 11.86m (AAA 2) and 12.57m (AAA 1) at Tooting Bec, Battersea Park and Ware. At the time of writing, his PB now stands at 13.24m.
His discus victories were equally impressive, with 37.62m (AAA 1), 35.17m (AAA 2) and 39.18 (AAA 1) at the same fixtures. He currently sits at 14th and 15th in the country in his age category for these events.
Ayo also helped the team in other disciplines, throwing the hammer 38.23m (AAA 3) and recording 13.38 in 100m
Luke Fenton has repeatedly improved upon his 800m personal best, powering to victory against stiff competition in his last two outings, in 2:14.3 (AAA grade 4) at the last match, and 2:14.9 at the previous race. He has since bettered his PB to 2:12.7, which is AAA 3 standard.
Edward Best’s season’s best of 25.3 in his last 200m of the YDLL season was a AAA 4 standard performance, and another consistently high quality run, after a 25.4 and 25.7 at the previous two meetings. Consistency was also the theme in his 1500m races, with clockings of 5:02, 5:02.87 and 5:02.2, which he gone on to improve upon to 5:01.16 later in the track season.
Lewis Groombridge’s impressive sprinting, most notably his outstanding starts, has progressed well over the season his 100m improved from 13.4 to 13.11 and his 200m from 27 to 26.4 over the last two matches. He also took part in the long jump (4.39m at Ware), which he has since advanced to 4.59m.
Sam Ferreyra has shown great promise in the pole vault, with 1st place each time, with vaults of 1.90m and 2m. He has since achieved a new PB of 2.20m. He has also enjoyed racing in the 800m, with clockings of 2:31.24 and 2:32.3. His PB stands at 2:27.6.
Miles Brierley’s serene running in the 1500m saw him dip under 5 mins with 4:59, before going on to record of 4:56.86 at the next fixture. He has since bettered his PB to 4:54.17.
Reece Onabanjo returned from injury to record another classy victory in the 80m hurdles, with a time of 13.80, adding to his majestic wins in the hurdles and long jump at the first fixture.
The U15 boys were the only group of Harriers to put out a relay team this season. In an extremely close race, Lewis, Ayo, Sam and Edward crossed the line in 2nd in 52.8 in the 4 x 100m.
Lauren Bowen tackled multiple events with aplomb at each match, including javelin, hammer (taking 2nd place with 20.76m), shot (3rd place with 6.15m), and 800m in 2:41.3 (an improvement upon her 2:44.80 clocking earlier in the season).
Giulia Mitroi tested herself over six different events over the season, taking on multiple events at each fixture. In addition to her outing over 800m at Crawley, in the last three matches she impressed in the 75m hurdles (20.7), long jump (best of 3.64m), Shot (best of 5.87m), 200m (32.80), Javelin (6.80m; shy of her PB of 8.83m).
Abigail Aferi made a valuable contribution to the Harriers team, crossing the line in 4th in the 200m with a time of 29.5, and recording 14.1 in the 100m.
Jasmine Crossley raced well in the 800m, and was rewarded with a time of 02:56.2.
Ty Cooper’s 13.4 clocking in the 100m was a AAA grade 3 performance and enough for 3rd in highly competitive race. He also showed his talent for shot put (6.01m at Tooting Bec and 5.94m at Ware, for 2nd place in each match) and Javelin (2nd in 19.66m at Ware, not far shy of his 22.11m best).
Adam Sameen performed well in the 200m, with a best time of 30.8 (2nd) in the last fixture, an improvement on his time of 31.40 at Battersea Park. His PB now stands at 30.1. He also took 2nd in the long jump with 3.82, and in the 100m he improved upon his 15.22 mark in the penultimate match with a 14.5 in the next fixture. He also took part in the 800m (3:08.30).
Jayden Sebok-Rose’s impressive speed saw him take 2nd in the 200m (30.50) at Tooting Bec , where he also recorded 14.81 for 3rd place in the 100m. His times were identical in the previous fixture, where he came 3rd (30.50) and 4th (14.8) in the same events. His PB in the 200m is now 30.2. In the long jump, he recorded a best of 3.46m.
Oscar Mitroi picked up valuable points for the team across a range of disciplines. In Tooting Bec his time of 16.30 in the 75m hurdles was quick enough for 2nd. He extended his season’s best for long jump to 3.92. His shot put and javelin performances of 5.41m and 11.03m were only marginally short of his PBs (5.51m and 11.25m, respectively).
Faith Adewunmi showed what a talent she is, with a AAA 2 standard performance in the 75m (10.6), and she also took victory in the 150m with 23.1.
Elleke Harris impressed in the high jump (1.20m) and the 75m and 150m sprints (12.7 and 25.7), but it was her brilliant shot put performances that caught the eye, with 2nd place finishes in Ware (5.73m) and Tooting Bec (5.96m)
Rihanna Rock recorded swift times of 11.1 and 11.5 in the 75m (current PB 10.9), and consistent long jump marks of 3.33m and 3.29m over her last couple of outings (current PB 3.47m).
Imogen Bowen represented the club over 5 different disciplines. Her 75m times were consistently strong (13.4 in Ware and 13.54 in Battersea), and she maintained a similar speed over the 150m (26.70). She tried her hand at 70m hurdles (21.70) and has since gone on to improve upon this mark considerably (current best of 17.6). Her long jump in Ware (2.61m) was only just short of her 2.74m leap in Crawley). She also took part in the javelin in Ware, where she threw 6.12m (PB of 8.75m)
Niamh Cartwright, the U13 girls’ only distance runner, was a very welcome addition to the team. She achieved 2:52.70 in the 800m.
With only a handful of reinforcements, we can rise up the rankings and become a real contender in this league. We need more distance runners in the U13s, and more sprinters in the U15s. We also need to add depth in the field events.
Thank you once again to all the athletes who took part. Well done, and here’s to next year!
Helen and Jon