It was a fantastic and packed out night at the Harriers Annual Presentation Awards Evening at the Mill Hill Working Men’s Club last Friday – December 11th.
A big thank you to Lee Thompson who provided the display and photographs for the Presentation and to Jim Kerrigan for sorting out all the Awards that the Athletes received on the night.
Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Club Chairman Tony Wood introduced the Guest Presenter of Awards for the night – Jason Lobo – Life Member of the Club and former Great Britain 800m International who had competed at both the Commonwealth and World Championships.
First Award of the night was for the Junior Squad Trophy and one in which the Sportshall Coaches make the nominations from amongst all the youngsters who participate week in and week out. Ben Boocock, Connor Wilcock and Jayden Brammer were the Boys nominations with Jayden being selected the Winner. In the girls there were nominations Eleanor Allsop, Molly Nicholls and Alice Townson and it was Alice this time who took the Award.
The U11 Endurance Award is given to recognise the efforts of Junior endurance athletes particularly througtout the 2014-15 Cross Country season and the deserved winners were Rory Teare for the Boys and Kate Cookson for the girls.
In the Junior Team Contribution to Track and Field category, an Award that goes to the Junior athlete that has competed in most Club T & F fixtures in the YDL and Mid Lancs League there were well deserved winners in the U13/U15’s by brother and sister duo Lucas Davies and Amy Davies, whilst Connor Davison took the Award for the U17/U20 Boys – and in the U17/U20 Girls it was Rebecca Orrell who won.
The Club’s Junior Merit Award is given to athletes who are new to the UKYDL and who have impressed their Team Managers and Coaches throughout the year in the U13, U15 and U17 Age Groups. The U13 Awards went to Sam Farnworth and Eleesha Charnley, whilst the U15’s went to Eloise Littlefair, Joshua van der Linde and Chloe Bleeks. In the U17’s the Awards went to Megan Clarkson, Sam Perason-Moore and Cameron Massey.
Senior Team Contribution to Track & Field – This award goes to the athlete that has competed in most Club fixtures through the 2015 Track and Field season with a combination of Northern Senior League, Mid Lancs and Lancs Champs used to decide the winner. Paul Coffey took the Men’s Award whilst there were joint winners in the Women’s with Hayley Candler and Rebecca Orrell.
The Harriers Senior Track & Field Merit Award was a real family affair and so well deserved as Phoebe Howe, Joseph Howe and Zac Howe were given this award in recognition of their contribution and commitment to the club over the season. Between them they covered 100m, 200m, 400m, 400H, 800m, 1500m, steeple chase, 3000m, triple jump, shot, discus and hammer – a truly fantastic performance and level of commitment to the Club and Team.
Junior Team Contribution to Cross Country goes to the Junior athlete that has competed in most club XC fixtures through the season. Red Rose and Mid Lancs Leagues, Lancs, Northern and National Champs are used to calculate and Championships are used to decide in the event of a tie. Daniel Brown who always runs with a smile on his face and never, ever gives in won the boys and for the girls Hannah Cookson took the Award for her resilience and commitment.
Keeping it in the family was a kind of theme on the night when the Senior Team Contribution to Cross Country went to husband and wife duo Carol and Cross Country Team Manager John Cookson following their daughters Hannah and Kate in also picking up cross country awards.
Next Award – Most Promising Young athlete – on the night highlighted athletes that are usually new to the Harriers or just starting with the juniors and have started to make good progress through training and competing regularly and particularly look to have great prospects ahead for them.
The Age Groups represented cover U13/U15 and U17/U20. Taking the Boys and Girls Awards for the U13/U15’s were Leon Thomas (Middle Distance & Cross Country) and Emily Raine Lancashire County Champion (Sprints) whilst Huzaifa Hanif (400/800m) and Georgina Rickard (Sprints & Jumps) won the Awards in the U17/U20 Age Group.
Following on naturally from the Most Promising Young Athlete came the Most Improved Young Athlete in the same Age Groups recognising established juniors who have really made a step up in their level of training and performance in the last year. Winners here were Ben Cecil U13/U15 (Sprints) – Maddie Elliott U13/U15 (Middle Distance and Cross Country) – Joe Monk U17/U20 (Middle Distance & Road) – Grace Handley U17/U20 (Middle Distance & Cross Country).
The Outstanding Junior Comittment award goes to athletes that have shown commitment and application beyond what would normally be expected in order to improve themselves or support their team mates. Anthony Kent (Turned out in all YDL fixtures accumulating 110 points, as well as 5 Mid Lancs) won the U13/U15 Boys whilst Myah Booth (Turned out in all YDL fixtures (accumulating 88 points and 5 Mid Lancs fixtures) took the Girls Award. In the U17/U20’s it was Ben Aspinall (turned out in all 4 YDL Upper fixtures accumulating 72 points) winning the Boys and for the Girls Katie Buckingham (competed for the club in ten different events in the YDL and NL)
The Club Road Running Award is made to an athlete who has represented the club with great credit on the roads and conducts themselves in a manner that is a great example to the other members around them – and – the two deserving winners were Chris Davies and Rachel Wood who both achieved automatic qualifying times for the 2016 London Marathon after excellent results in this years Race. Proud Dad Tony picked up the Award for Rachel.
Two very good young athletes took the honours in the Club Fell Running Award category – Jack Hindle and Liz Greenwood. This Award is made to an athlete who has represented the club with great credit on the fells and conducts themselves in a manner that is a great example to the other members around them. Both young athletes had been selected to run for England at International level too.
The Best Veteran Athletes Award goes to our group of veteran athletes who sometimes perform in specific masters events and at other times in regular club fixtures and this year the winners were Tony Balko (Senior Throws Squad) and Rachel Jones (Senior Northern League T & F Team).
Staying with the Veteran’s our Veteran Road Running Merit Award Winners in this Category for the Men were Andy Buttery – Allan Hartley – Evan Cook and for the Women Jan Buckingham and Claire Bridge.
For a second year in a row the winner of the Harriers Triathlete of the Year was Brian Fogarty. Brian has distinguished himself qualifying in successive years for the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii, has established himself at the top end of Ironman athletes in Britain and is a very worthy winner.
Two very talented young athletes – Nick Massey and Morgan Angland – won the Best Junior All Round T & F Performance – This award reflects their versatility and the overall contribution they make to the Track and Field squad. Nick competed in 100m, 200m, 80H, 800m, long jump, high jump, javelin and shot over the season which Included a 11.6 sec Grade 1 sprint hurdles, and a shot PB at the ESAA Combined Events National Final of 11.66m – an improvement of over 2m on his previous best. His pentathlon points total there was 2,453. He turned out for the club in all YDLL matches, as well as the County Championships and apart from the ESAA CE was also selected for ESAA T&F Championships in sprint hurdles. Morgan competed in 80H, 100m, 300H, long jump and triple jump in 2015. Including a Grade 1 11.8 sec 80H at the County Championships. She also turned out for the club in three YDL and once in the Northern League and also Competed at the ESAA T&F Championships in sprint hurdles.
As with the juniors, many of our senior athletes participate in a variety of events. Best Senior All Round T & F Performance reflects their versatility and the overall contribution they make to the Track and Field squad. Oliver Aspden took the Men’s Award as he competed in both sprints – 100m and 200m, both hurdles – 110H and 400H – as well as the high jump and long jump and accumulated 76 points towards the NL.
The Women’s Award turned out to have joint winners in Rebecca Sullivan and Polly Pearse. Rebecca competed in the 100m, high jump and long jump as well as shot putt and javelin providing 44 points towards the club turning out three times in the Northern League – whilst Polly – competed in 5 different events for the club turning out three times in the Northern League with 57 points.
This Award for – Best Junior Field Performance – is calculated against the Grade 1 for each event and requires good performances to be considered for it. Winner of the U13/Boys was Jamie Teare (U13B High Jump 1.43 metres at Hyndburn) and for the Girls U13/U15 Charlotte Williams (U13G Hammer 48.62 metres at the Pendle Open, eclipsing earlier performances at English Schools and the National Champs, to rank 4th in the UK and a new Club Record).
In the Boys U17/U20’s Jacob Roberts took the Award (U17M 61.27 metres Hammer at Wrexham Open), beating his earlier Grade 1 distances at the National Championships and at the Northerns that broke a 31 year old club record and a gained a bronze medal whilst for the Girls the winner was Morgan Angland (U17W 5.18 m Long Jump at Wakefield).
The Best Senior Field Performance went to Simon Brown for the Men and Sophie Hitchon for the Women and again, this award is calculated against Grade 1 for each event. Simon threw 40.92 for Discus at end of season Telford Open whilst Sophie had a fantastic season culminating in her Hammer Throw of 73.86m at the World Championships Hammer Final in Beijing.
Jamie Teare for his (U13 Boys 4:55.7 1500m YDLL at Macclesfield) – Emily Warren (U15 Girls 11.69 sec 80mH at Bedford National U15’s, Grade 1 performance) – Morgan Phillips (U20 men 400m in 51.2 at County Championships) – Morgan Angland (U17 Women 11.7 80m hurdles – Grade 1 at the County Championships) were the winners of Best Junior Track Performance.
Best Senior Track Performance went to Karl Billington for his 8:17.19 3000m which was a Grade 1 at Watford and Alison Leonard for her great run in Belgium of 2:00.5 800m a Grade 1 in Belgium, Club Record.
Alison also took the next Award which was the Arthur Almond Memorial Trophy – an Award donated to the club by Sylvia Almond in memory of her Husband – Arthur and the Club’s leading Middle Distance Coach – and awarded to the Best Track Performance each year. Mark Almond stepped up to accept the Award on Alison’s behalf as she was on her way back to her Run Fast Training Group based in Birmingham.
This award – Best Schools Championship Performance of the Year – is presented to the athlete that has produced the best performance in a Schools Track and Field event during the season. Two of our young Hammer Throwers, rapidly moving up the rankings – U17 Jacob Roberts (54.08m for 9th in the Hammer) and U15 Charlotte Williams (43.71m for 5th in the Hammer) were the deserving winners of this Award.
U20 athletes Joe Pearse and Connor Makin won this years Excellence in Track & Field Award with Joe making a clearance of 2.04m in the High Jump at the BUCS Indoor Championships whilst Connor ran a 400m in 50.7 at Indoor Birmingham Games.
This award – Outstanding Performance in Track and Field – is given to an athlete assessed to have produced a top standard T&F performance or consistently high level of performances during the year. Holly Bradshaw wins this with her 4.70m Pole Vault in the World Championships, coming as it did after a very difficult eighteen months with serious injuries.
Award for Outstanding Achievement was won by Samantha Murray who followed up her 2012 Olympic Silver Medal in the Modern Pentathlon to become the Individual World Champion in 2014 a quite incredible performance. George Davies who had been nominated by Samantha for the BBC’s Unsung Hero Award accepted Samantha’s Award on her behalf from Jason Lobo and then accepted an Award presented by the Club in recognition of Samantha’s nomination.
There was another surprise Award too. In 2014 the Clubs Hurdles Squad presented their Coach – Bob Groves – with a Trophy in recognition of all the work he had done over the years to develop the athletes and the Squad. The Trophy itself was to be awarded each year to a different athlete, one who had distinguished themselves in the Hurdles Group and in the Club. Bob took to the microphone to announce that the winner, and a very popular one too, was Christina Carr who had not only been a member of the Club since she was 10yrs old, competed at every level of the Club, has become qualified with a Degree in Strength and Conditioning, helps Coach the Hurdles Group, has suffered a terrible injury requiring surgery, and is, after all that, fighting her way back to training. A most worthy winner.
Chris Davies – for the second year in a row and Jan Buckingham were the winners of the Club Championship Award with John Cookson taking his second year in a row win and Jan Buckingham doubling up, winning both the Open and Handicap sections.
Mick Hitchon who Coaches the Clubs Hammer Group and Senior Sprints Group deservedly won the Members Award which is nominated by the Clubs Committee. This Award reflected the massive amount of work that Mick puts into his squad athletes, involving four and sometimes five training sessions per week – and – there is no doubt that his athletes have gained the benefit of his commitment as they rattle up the National Rankings in the different age group categories.
Two outstanding young athletes won the Young Athlete of the Year – Ross Liddle and Emily Warren. Ross In the ESAA National CE finals took on the 8 event Octathlon setting 7 new PB’s in an outstanding performance and broke the Club Record with a points total of 4395. For the club he competed in the long and short hurdles accumulating maximum points in his four races in the YDL. He also turned out for the NL in 100m and triple jump, accumulating 27.5 points.
Emily at Bedford in the National Age Group Championships ran a Grade 1 11.69 75H. She competed for the club throughout the season also covering 100m, 200m, 800m and long jump. Was ever present in the YDL accumulating 80 points for the club, and turned out twice in the Mid Lancs.
Athlete of the Year is given to the senior athlete who has performed to the highest standards during the year and this year that went to Ben Fish for the Men and Sophie Hitchon for the Women. Ben has had injuries to deal with this year and has for him, not raced as often as he might have wished. However, he has competed in 26 races so far on Track, Road and Cross Country, racking up twelve wins, five 3rd paces, two 4th places and two 6th places – a total of 21 positions in the top six out of 26 races.
Sophie Hitchon’s World Championships Final was the deserved peak to a great season for the British National Hammer Champion and all time British record holder. She followed up her Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games with 5th place at the European Team Championships and went one better to take a magnificent 4th place in Moscow in the World Championship Final in Bejing.
Final Trophy of the night was the Round Chase Trophy an award that recognises the greatest achievement during the year among the different event squads at Blackburn Harriers and it was the Throws Group who won it.
In the Hammer alone athletes include Charlotte Williams, Jacob Roberts, Rebecca Orrell, and Sophie Hitchon recording PB’s, reaching ESAA and National level, breaking Club records and topped off with Sophie’s World Champs 4th place. The Throws squad also included performances in the discus and shot club where Club records were broken by Anthony Kent and Eloise Littlefair and a number with others getting very close.
From L-R Just some of the Throws Squad — Jim Kerrigan (Coach) – Jacob Roberts (Hammer) – Connor Davison – (Shot, Discus, Javelin) – Charlotte Williams (Hammer) – Lucas Davies (Shot Put, Discus, Javelin) – Mick Hitchon (Coach) – Jason Lobo – Anthony Kent (Hammer, Shot, Discus) – Simon Brown (Discus, Shot, Javelin) – Tony Balko (Hammer, Discus, Shot).