NI & Ulster U9-U13 Track & Field Championships

NI & Ulster U9-U13 Track & Field Championships, Sunday 1st June 2014, Shercock, Co Cavan
by The Non-Runner
photos by Graham McCauley’s Camera – HERE. More photos taken by Declan Rice now added.
Full Results (NAC results at bottom of report)

On Sunday 1st June 2014 24 Junior NAC athletes, coaches and their families journeyed to Shercock in Co Cavan for the NI and Ulster Junior Track and Field Championships. This was our second time visiting Shercock track for this annual event. NAC Juniors Supporter’s club set up base camp at our usual position at the finish line. Camp chairs were put up and picnics arranged. This year we had a reading corner (Megan) and some arts and crafts later in the afternoon (loom bands, if you don’t know what they are, ask the nearest child). The weather forecast was pretty grim and the dark clouds were apparent. We had come prepared with big umbrellas, welly boots, raincoats and of course, sunscreen! It has been pointed out to me, very nicely, that sometimes my reports contain too much of the craic and not enough about the actual races. I shall now put my best reporter’s hat of sensibleness on and proceed without further ado.

Relay Racers
Our day began with the excitement of the relay heats and first off to represent NAC juniors were the girls U12 relay team; Hannah Carson, Eve Kenneally, Kate McCauley and Aoife McCrickard. Next to perform were the girls U10 team; Amy McCrickard, Caitlin Valentine, Ciara Savage and Rose Carson. Then we had the U13 girls relay team; Tamzin Johnston, Arizona Forde, Eabha Campbell and Eve Kenneally. (Eve did not in fact have to clone herself to get the award for the busiest NAC junior of the day!). Our penultimate relay team to compete in the heats were the U11 girls; Celeste Forde, Alex Johnston, Orla Fitszimmons and Sorcha McElroy. As Orla ran her 100M she blazed a trail up the track that was so fast she unfortunately lost her footing and had a bad fall before the finish line. Orla bravely picked herself up and headed over to her mum. The officials were over immediately to Orla to check if she was ok. Orla steeled herself to return to the track later for more competition. Well done Orla, that’s the spirit! Last of the teams for the relays were the U11 Boys team; Giacomo Ballocchi, Conrad Rice, Adam Hughes and Conor Campbell. We were very impressed with the quality of our relay racers and were quietly confident that we might get to a final. All of the races were timed so the finishing position was no guarantee of a place in the final. All we could do was watch the heats, wait and hope! A word about the sprint relay coaches. The sprint relays teams handovers of baton were so slick and efficient that the USA Olympic team would blush with shame in comparison. The children’s handovers of batons were faultless, which goes some way to have helped some of our teams reach THE FINALS! Our excitement was fever pitch when we discovered that 3 of our relay teams who finished the heats qualified for the relay finals, the headline event of any track and field championships. More drama and excitement was to follow later. Much, much later.

Long Jump Heroes!
Whilst the relays were taking place the organisers decided to bring forward the long jump competition as the sky was looking ominously dark. Full results of the long jump are below but we must give special mention here to our 2 medal winners! So, drum roll please for Arizona Forde and Morgan Steele, well done, we are so proud of you and indeed of all the fantastic NAC junior athletes in the long jump. No-one here is of course suggesting that Declan, the long jump coach was grinning from ear to ear with delight at his medal haul! But remember we did have relay finalists, so Declan doesn’t have exclusive bragging rights from Sunday!

Sprint Stars
Next on the programme were the heats for the 60m and 80m sprints, again these were timed to ensure the fastest 8 got to the final. First sprinters were U12 Girls, followed by U13 Girls, U13 Boys, U11 Girls, U11Boys and U10 Girls (full results below). Every single NAC junior athlete competed in the sprints, running either 60m or 80m. Well done to our athletes who showed their versatility as true all-rounders. We had U12 Kate McCauley and U13 Danny Williamson both qualifying for their respective sprint finals, what a fabulous achievement for them both. Incidentally the MC for the day had his work cut out for him, he did a fine job as every runner was introduced, but he was obviously struggling with some of the names. Our Giacomo was announced as “Giovanni”, sure it sounds Italian doesn’t it and that’s close enough? We knew who he meant!

Middle Distance Magic
Longer runs were next and we had 500m runners Ciara Savage and Tom Crudgington. Surely if there was an award for patience on Sunday it would have been awarded to recent new signing Tom Crudgington. He arrived with his family at the appointed time before races began at 10am. Tom’s first time on the track was just after 2pm. If he’d known that he’d have to wait so long he could have had a lie in! Then it was two laps of the track for the 600M racers Morgan Steele, Danny Williamson, Eve Kenneally, Eabha Campbell, Arizona Forde and Tamzin Johnston. Eve Kenneally battled her way across the line after a late challenge from another runner and finished 4th in her heat to qualify for the 600m final. Our Eve finished a fabulous joint 6th place in the final in 02.02.0. Those spikes certainly clocked up a long distance on Sunday!

876 anyone?
Danny Williamson, a regular at the junior XC, shall for evermore be known as 876. The organisers couldn’t find his name but as soon as “NAC 876” was called out as a finalist we weren’t long finding out which of our athletes it was!

The Fantastic Finale!
Fasten your seat belts folks for the exciting finale. By this stage in the proceedings we were all flagging as the events were going on for much later than had been advertised. (We didn’t finish until 7.30pm…). First up were our sprint finalists Kate McCauley (60m) who ran her heart out against very stiff competition and finished in a great time of 9.67. Our other finalist, 876 (that’s Danny…reader please keep up) ran his 80m final in 12.33. Well done to both of them!
Now the heat was on with the relay finals. At this stage our excitement reached fever pitch, along with our voices (I’d like to apologise for the sound quality of this report. My voice is hoarse from a full day of cheering). Our U10 girls team charged around the track and finished in fantastic 7th position. Our U12 girls went like lightning around the track and finished in a brilliant 6th position. The last race, yes…the very last race was NAC U11 boys relay team. Energy was flagging so they were prescribed some fuel for the race by coach Declan. Some chocolate! This must have lifted their energy as the race to follow will surely go down in Junior NAC history as one of the most exciting relay races. Our boys started their final with 1st runner Giacomo setting a blistering pace with yet another slick handover to 2nd runner Conrad who took the baton and charged around the bend towards Adam, our 3rd runner. The last runner Conor ran a complete blinder (that’s a technical term folks) and managed to complete NAC juniors fantastic day on the track with his now famous trademark flourish-a hybrid of a hop/skip/jump with style-as he crossed the line to bring the team home in an amazing 5th position! Smiles all around from our fabulous boys and girls.

That’s all folks!
Thanks to Shercock AC for another day on their track, thanks to Martina for all of her background work and what about the weather? Well, PJ was there and, to his credit, the worst we had was a brief light shower, the rest of the day was very pleasant! A huge thanks to the coaches who were there on the day, PJ McCrickard, Jerome McCrickard, Niall Carson and Declan Rice and to photographer, Pauline McCauley. Also thanks to all of the other coaches who put so much time in to train our fabulous juniors for the event.

Surely now NAC Juniors have built a reputation as a club to be reckoned with. I take my hat off to them all (I put my hat of sensibleness on at the start-gettit?) They did NAC proud with their boundless enthusiasm, energy and good humour on a wonderful day out.

NI and Ulster U9-U13 Track & Field Championships 2014 NAC results

U10 Girls

Ciara Savage 10.67
Amy McCrickard 11.15
Caitlin Valentine 11.19
Rose Carson 11.96

Ciara Savage 01.55.6

Caitlin Valentine 2.62
Rose Carson 2.41
Amy McCrickard 1.87

4 X 100M Relay Final
NAC 01.14.7 7th position overall

U11 Boys

Tom Crudgington 02.23.7

Giacomo Ballocchi 3.10
Conor Campbell 2.84
Adam Hughes 2.51
Conrad Rice 2.30

Giacomo Ballocchi 9.73
Adam Hughes 10.35
Conrad Rice 10.37
Conor Campbell 10.48
Tom Crudginton 12.13

4 X 100M Relay Final
5th place overall 01.07.8

U11 Girls
Celeste Forde 9.81
Orla Fitzsimmons 10.26
Alex Johnston 10.36
Sorcha McElroy 10.49
Helen O’Prey 10.82

Celeste Forde 3.29 4th overall
Alex Johnston 2.87
Sorcha McElroy
Orla Fitzsimmons 2.57
Helen O’Prey 2.39

U12 Girls
Eve Kenneally 3.30
Kate McCauley 3.23
Aoife McCrickard 2.85
Hannah Carson 2.85

4 X 100M Relay Final
NAC 01.06.3 6th Place

Eve Kenneally
Hannah Carson
Kate McCauley
Aoife McCrickard

60M Finalist
Kate McCauley 9.67

600m Finalist
Eve Kenneally 02.02.0 joint 6th place

U12 Boys
Morgan Steele 02.14.0

Morgan Steele

Morgan Steele 4.05 Silver medal

U13 Girls
Eabha Campbell 02.09.8
Arizona Forde 02.13.6
Tamzin Johnston 02.26.7

Eabha Campbell
Arizona Forde
Tamzin Johnston

Arizona Forde 4.01 Bronze Medal

Eabha Campbell 3.15
Tamzin Johnston 3.07

U13 Boys
Danny Williamson 3.47
80M Finalist
Danny Williamson 12.33
Danny Williamson 02.05.0