Welsh Athletics U20 International, Swansea, August 17th 2022

The Welsh Athletics U20 International took place at Swansea Athletics Stadium on Wednesday August 17th, with competing teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and the three regions of England; the South, Midland and North.

Early field competition saw Halle Ferguson of Trafford finish 2nd with a jump of 1.74m in her penultimate competition of the season before going to Poland with the Phoenix Futures elite scheme.  In the men’s even, Morgan Williams of Leeds City cleared 1.82m, in his first event of the evening.  Another early field event was the women’s hammer, with Jasmine Richardson of Sale coming a fantastic 3rd with 47.60m, not far off the 47.90m she threw at the English Schools Championships in July where Jasmine also placed 3rd.

In the first track events of the evening, Benjamin Verbickas of Crewe and Nantwich came home 4th in 56.31 secs, while Hermione Mason of Sale also came home 4th in a time of 64.45 secs.  Both athletes were seen later in relay action.

The first victory for the Northern Team came in the women’s mile, where Ava Lloyd of Wigan ran away from the pack on the last lap to win by a clear 20 metres in a time of 4:54.85 mins, for her first race over the distance.   David Holman of Blackburn maintained the high standard, finishing 3rd in the men’s mile in a time of 4:18.53, again racing over the distance for the first time.

Alongside the track, the field events continued with Will Foot of Chesterfield competing in the pole vault and James Wordsworth of North Shields completing his first event of the evening, the men’s shot, finishing in 3rd place with 15.08m.  Lewis Forster of Leigh threw 56.08m to place third in the men’s javelin, his third best ever throw behind performances at the English Schools and EA U20 Championships this year.

On the track the 100m sprinters performed well, with Morgan Corcoran of Sheffield placing 5th in 11.18 secs, and Acacia Williams-Hewitt finishing 2nd in 12.36 secs in what was a busy evening for the Hallamshire athlete.   Our 400m athletes also put in superb performances, with Middlesbrough’s Charlotte Kelsey winning in 55.79 secs, very close to her 55.73 secs pb, and Spenborough’s Bayleigh Lawton, still jetlagged from the return journey from the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, winning the men’s race in 49.17 secs.

Back in the field, James Wordsworth was in action again, securing another win for the team in the men’s discus, throwing 49.62m.  Holly Fowler of Sheffield placed 3rd in the women’s event with 39.38m.

One of the most exciting finishes of the evening on the track came in the women’s 800mm where Lucy Scothern of Chester le Street finished second in a time of 2:11.23 , just 0.05 seconds behind the winner, a PB time for Lucy.  Charlie Roberts of St Helens finished 4th in the men’s race, with a time of 1:54.65.  Our sprint hurdlers also produced great performances, with Liverpool’s Meg Corker coming 2nd in 13.98 secs, an equal non-wind assisted PB, and Oliver Adnitt of Kingston upon Hull finished a fantastic 3rd.  Acacia Williams-Hewitt was back in action again, finishing 2nd in the 200m in 25.17, while David Chapman of Sheffield, after a late night flight back from Rome, came 4th in the men’s race in a time of 22.02 secs.  In the final track event before the relays, Jasmine Trott of Rothwell finished 3rd in a time of 10:02.7, before setting off on a scholarship to Rhode Island in the USA for the next four years.

The event reached its climax with the relays, with the women finishing 3rd in the 4x100m with Holly Fowler coming from the discuss to support Meg Corker, Charlotte Kelsey and Acacia Williams-Hewitt.  The men’s team of Morgan Williams, Oliver Adnitt, Morgan Corcoran and David Chapman came home in 3rrd place.

The highlight of the event was without doubt the mixed 4x400m relay.  The North was the only team to select a lady for the first leg, bravely undertaken by Charlotte Kelsey with minimum rest after the 4x100m relay.  With women and men on opposite legs, Charlotte passed on to Benjamin Verbickas who in turn passed on to Hermione Mason before a storming leg from Bayleigh Lawton brought the team home in 4th place.

Despite the high placings of the North throughout the night, the team from the South of England was awarded first place, and the final team standings are still to be published.  The team conducted themselves and performed brilliantly, and we look forward to the chance to take part in this event again next year.