Herne Hill Harriers have the golden touch
Herne Hill Harriers' young athletes were showered in gold at the weekend with the club winning a clutch of medals at the South of England Athletic Association Indoor Championships.
James McDonald's middle-distance squad in particular won nine individual medals at the Lee Valley event, including gold for Saskia Millard and Eloise O'Shaughnessy.
Ed Olsen clinched two further golds and Katie Snowden added a fifth as Harriers' junior athletes demonstrated outstanding early-season promise.
Millard won Harriers' first gold, romping home in her U15G 800m race in a new championship best of two minutes 15.19 seconds, some four seconds inside the previous record and in a time that would have won the U17W race.
Maddie Shaw finished a well-deserved third in the same race, clocking 2:25.23.
Racing in the U17M 800m, Olsen dominated from start to finish, winning in 1:58.12, while Feysel Nadew battled hard for a bronze in 2:02.25.
On day two, the sprinters and 1,500m runners took centre stage, notably Katie Snowden who, like Olsen on day one, demolished her rivals.
Running a smooth, unchallenged U20W race, Snowden won in 4:29.58.
Olsen was back on the track for the U17M 1,500m and once again finished first - he extended his lead after the third lap by which time he had the race sewn up, finishing in a time of 4:10.21 with a devastating final lap.
Training partner, Billy Black, finished with a silver medal in a time of 4:21.18, and Nathan Bekele was fifth in 4:39.11.
In the U17W 1,500m Skye O’Shaughnessy clinched bronze, posting a time of 5:14.64. Skye's sister, Eloise, then won gold in the U15G 1,500m, clocking an impressive 5:00.26, ahead of fellow Herne Hill athlete and silver medallist Zoe Tompkins in 5:13.52.
The sprinters could not quite match the success of the middle-distance athletes, although several progressed to semi-finals and finals against tough competition.
Nonetheless, Rushane Thomas won a bronze in the U20M 60m hurdles in a time of 8.02, having run 8.12 in qualifying, and Phillip Thomas was another bronze medallist in the U17M triple jump with a new personal best of 12.64m.
Away from Lee Valley, Harriers were in action at the Vets AC 5 at Wimbledon Common, where Mike Boyle was second, Gary Ironmonger third, Vic Maughn fourth and Tony Harran sixth.
Brian Shave was the first and only V75 finisher.
The club was also represented at the Benfleet 15 in Essex, with Eric Dol (29th in 1.46:36) and Robin Sanderson (30th in 1.46:41) the pick of the club entrants.
Robert Edwards, meanwhile, clocked a morale-boosting 16.59 at the Brockwell parkrun in finishing fourth.
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