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A super Sunday for BUAC at BUCS

After a washed-out day 1, BUAC came back to the Manchester Regional Arena for Day 2 of more medal winning, more PB setting and more screams of encouragement for the team! A stacked day of competition promised both tears of joy as well as agony, and on the newly christened BUAC hill, the support promised to be as incredible as ever.

The day exploded with a bang as the rescheduled 100m semi-finals from Saturday evening were staged on Sunday morning. The men powered out the blocks first, 4 semi-finals with only the fastest guaranteed a coveted spot in the BUCS 100m final. Flying solo as the last remaining man in the competition, Darian Moore came up just short, still clocking a 10.87 to put him 3rd in his semi-final and show the potential for his season.

In the women’s semi-finals, BUAC again showed why girls run the world. Mads Whapples in her new pink sock and Maxfly combination ran superbly to clock 12.03 in 3rd, doing enough to make her first BUCS Outdoor final by a tenth of a second, roared on by the BUAC contingent. Diani Walker then stepped up in the following semi-final, clocking another sub-12 performance to auto-Q into the final later in 11.80. The perfect start to proceedings!

Meanwhile, the field action also got underway in the cage, pit and the air as the Men’s Discus B final, Men’s Triple Jump qualification and Men’s Pole Vault final all begun. In the Men’s Discus, Evan Campbell threw 37m dead on to come 2nd in the B final, 13th overall in the competition for a solid start to his discus season.

In the pit, the BUAC boys doing triple made qualification a breeze. Josh Woods flew out to 14.64m to qualify 4th into Monday’s final, with Josh Knox solidly backing him up, jumping 14.03m to qualify 7th.

Over in the air, Toby Irving and Craig Moncur were battling in the B final for good BUCS points for the team, and inter-training rivalry between friends. Toby came out on top this time, vaulting 4.18m to come 4th in the B final. Craig Moncur did amazingly to set a new PB with 4.08m, a sign of the great form he is in for his season!

Back to the track now and it was time for the barriers as steeplechase qualification began. The women set the pace, Ellen Weir taking on heat 1 in her first BUCS and qualifying comfortably for Monday’s final. Martha Collings, also competing in her first BUCS, then also comfortably auto qualified into Monday’s final to make it 2/2 BUAC women in the final. The men then followed, Tom Bridger, again on his first BUCS Outdoor appearance in his favoured steeplechase, edged out Elliot Moran to make it a BUAC 1-2 in heat 1. Kristian Imroth, back steeplechasing after some injuries, sauntered through heat 2 at a canter to get all three BUACers into the final and give an incredible shot at a 1-2-3 in the event.

Next came the 8 and 4 runners to attempt to make their respective finals, with a huge BUAC army growing by the start/finish line to watch. First were the 8 boys, led from the front by Harry Fisher who made his final with ease to set him up for Monday’s final. Then Finlay Hutchinson tried and just came short in semi-final 2, a valiant effort on his first BUCS appearance for BUAC. Finally in heat 3, Luke Richardson and Jai Sispal worked together in true BUAC spirit, both again coming short but showing the depth in our middle-distance boys.

Then came the 8 women, again all 4 looking to make Monday’s final. In semi-final 1, Abigail Ives showed all her class to make her auto-Q into the final look easy, barely breaking sweat as she pulled away from the field in her first BUCS Outdoor Championship. Katie Hopkins fought with every might in the semi-final, positioning herself excellently as the bell rung but just didn’t have enough on the day to hold on, still showing incredible class in her first BUCS. The next BUAC challenger to try and make the final was Freya Bennett, who just missed out on a final spot but still ran a searing time in her first BUCS 8. Lastly, Zoe Hunter came and conquered, making it two BUAC women in the final with a brave run to clinch one of the non-automatic qualifying spots.

Following the 8s were the 4 runners, looking to claim similar final success. Cam Bailey did everything right to ensure a safe and secure final spot, coming 2nd in his heat and 4th fastest into the final in 48.33. Josh Saunders then tried to follow suit, but could not, still putting in a good showing in another BUCS appearance. On the women’s half, Izzy Skelton continued to shine as she made her first BUCS final on her first BUCS Outdoor appearance, qualifying 2nd in her semi-final and 5th overall going into the 400 final in 56.78. Olivia Kimbowa came agonisingly close to making her first BUCS final, finishing 3rd in her semi-final and 9th overall in 58.62.

After the 4s came our next chance at medalling, in the Women’s Ambulant 100m final. Didi Okoh again stepped for BUAC in her second of 4 events during the weekend. Once again, she delivered, coming 1st in the race but 3rd and gaining a bronze medal on Raza points for her second medal of the championships!

Speaking of 100s, next came the BUCS 100m men and women’s finals. Where there was no more BUAC interest in the men’s side, the women’s 100m final promised fireworks as BUACers eagerly sprinted to BUAC hill to watch. Both Mads Whapples and Diani Walker were hot contenders in a final that promised rapid times. It was tense all the way, but Diani Walker fell just short of a medal, coming 4th in a time of 11.59 in her farewell BUCS. Whapples came 8th, clocking another sub-12 performance of 11.98 to back up her PB last year of 11.95 to signify the start of a potentially incredible summer of running for her, with her favoured 200 still to come.

Back out in the pit, more BUAC action in a non-stop day occurred as long jump qualification took place. 4 BUAC men looked to secure a place in Monday’s final, all with a real shot. Ore Adepegba took one jump to fly past the auto-Q mark of 7.15m to 7.34m, making sure he went into Monday’s final as the leading contender for a first BUCS medal. Josh Woods followed him up, jumping a solid 6.90m to put him 6th going into the final and making it two qualifications in one day. Josh Knox and Alfie Wood missed out on one of the 12 spots in the final, jumping 6.55m and 6.15m respectively.

BUAC eyes turned back to the home straight for the sprint hurdlers. The women would set the tone, before the men would follow. Four BUAC women would attempt to try make the semi-final on Monday. First, Zoe Austridge stormed to a new PB and a comfortable qualification in 14.40! Next came Dani Hales, again easing into the semi-final with an auto-Q of 14.42. Then, Rebecca Hardy, on her first ever BUCS, qualified 2nd in her heat with a time of 14.94 to make it 3/3 BUAC women through. Finally, Jasmine Clark completed the BUAC quartet of qualified women, going into the semi-final 5th quickest overall in a rapid 14.06.

Following suit was the men, two heats qualifying together to make one final. Craig Moncur stepping us as he always does for BUAC in various events. A valiant effort was put in, clocking a 15.50 but sadly not doing enough to make the final. Then came Angel Diaz, our Spanish maestro, waltzed through his heat, clocking 13.91 to go into the final 2nd quickest and set up a great match against Cameron Fillery of Loughborough for BUCS gold.

Putting the hurdles away, but still facing the track was the turn of the 200m heat. Suresh Black stepped up first, in his favoured 200 cruised through his heat in 22.11. Following Suresh was Darian Moore, back after his 100 semi-finals, to also qualify to Monday’s semi-final in 22.16. Over in the women’s 200 heats, Ella Jeffery produced the performance of her life to go sub-26 for the first time in 25.71, placing 2nd, however into an illegal +3 wind. Mads Whapples, fresh from an incredible showing in the 100, came to her favoured 200 eyeing up a potential first individual BUCS medal. She powered away from the competition, easing down at the line and still clocked a 24.64 PB, with the potential to go even quicker in the semi-final and hopefully on Monday.

Transferring back out to the hammer circle, it was Kirsty-Ann Ebbage’s second final of BUCS, fresh off the back of a successful discus final. She put together an incredible series, topping it off with a 48.06m PB to come 5th in the final and claim more valuable BUCS points.

Adjacent to the circle, the high jump qualification was commencing, with Trinity O’Connor and Lily Holt battling together to make the high jump final. Lily Holt comfortably qualified, with a 1.60 clearance to guarantee progression to Monday’s final. Trin, on the other half, unfortunately came up short, just missing out by 5cm.

As the day wore on, BUAC encouragement grew, screaming at each athlete to push further than they have before. The 1500m semi-finals were no exception, as we still had all 8 athletes with the potential to make Monday’s final. In semi-final 1, Archie Parkinson ran amazingly to make the final, in 3:55.33. Fin Proffitt unfortunately just missed out on a non-automatic place. Similarly, George Rowland just missed out, running a valiant race near the front until the final 150m. However, Tyler Bilyard, looking to replicate his BUCS indoor success, ran a tactically astute race to qualify for the final in 3:50.52, giving BUACers another 2 finalists. In the women’s 1500, Ella Semple and Georgia Campbell worked together triumphantly, Ella running a time only 4 tenths off her PB in 4:33.46 with Georgie just behind. However, both wasn’t enough to make the final. In semi-final 2, both Elsa Palmer and Kate Willis worked successfully together to make another BUCS final for the pair, emphasising the depth of the team right through the club.

The final events of the day were the relays, always a tense moment for athlete and coaches alike. Firstly, was the 4x100m men, led off by Darian, showing himself to be a rock of the sprint team, before handing to Julian Priest, who would hand to Suresh and would then be anchored home by Joe Foster. Despite a rocky changeover between Julian and Suresh, causing the team to be disqualified for changing outside the take-over zone and then was rightfully reinstated. The rightful reinstation back into the relay results placed the lads 9th, but fortune favoured the brave, and an appeal from another team caused the Brunel team to be disqualified for a lane infringement, meaning that the Birmingham boys would be ranked 8th going into the final, but they were in the final!

In the women’s 4x100m, the quartet of Zoe Austridge, Cara Clarke, Steff Fisher and Ashantae Graham eased through their heat to be 2nd quickest into Monday’s eagerly anticipated final, with big hitters still to be drafted in.

In the 4x400m, more relay drama ensured. The men’s team, this time led off by Joe Foster, before handing to Luke Richardson, then Jai Sispal with Finlay Hutchinson on the last leg. The boys did sublime work, qualifying comfortably for the final, before a lane infringement caused us to be unfortunately disqualified. However, the women’s 4x400m slayed, qualifying 3rd quickest into the final. Emily Hack, passing to Steff Fisher, who passed to Grace Majer and president Imy Sheppard anchoring on the last leg produced a performance fit for queens to put BUAC in an incredibly strong position for Monday’s finals day!

With so many finalists and medal hopes for Monday, the potential for one of the best ever days for BUAC were in prospect, with everyone immensely excited for what could occur over the next 24 hours!

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