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BUAC start 2024 off with a BANG

With the turn of year upon BUAC, a new year of BUAC success waits for our athletes. Across January, many athletes across BUAC have been opening or beginning preparations to close their seasons, with many stellar performances already being made.


To start the year, the best of the multi-athletes travelled up to Sheffield to take on the English Combined Championships. Track Captain Craig Moncur claimed three PBs in the 60m, Long Jump, and 1000m; with an equal personal best also set in the Pole Vault on the way to a sensational 4th place in the heptathlon, with 5132 points. He narrowly missed out on a medal by 60 points but shows great form for the upcoming indoor season. Fresher Will Sutton debuted in the BUAC vest at his first nationals, placing a strong 12th, and setting 5 new PBs in the 60m, Shot Put, 60m hurdles, Pole Vault and 1000m to amass a total of 4337 points. Both BUAC boys gained new personal bests in the heptathlon, signifying the development of the boys this winter. In the women’s pentathlon, Georgia Baker set a new PB of 9.41 in the 60 hurdles and amassed a new PB of 3153 points over all to come 13th!


Following on from Combined Champs, the Sheffield BMC presented an opportunity for our middle-distance stars to shake off any racing dust. Finlay Hutchinson set a good marker of form with a 1:52.6 in the Men’s A 800. Sam Myers and Raihan Lenoire also set respectably fast times, in 1:57.0 & 1:56.6 respectively. On the women’s side of the 8s, Ruby Simpson set an impressive time of 2:14.3 to set herself well for Nationals next month and a potential BUCS spot. Newest BUAC GB athlete Zoe Hunter opened her indoor season with a 1500 to shake the legs out, clocking a 4:32.94. In the 3000m races, Welfare Sec Tommy Bridger laid the gauntlet down for the rest of the BUCS competition by clocking a rapid 8:09.86.


Over on the grass, BUAC descended upon the legendary Warley Woods for the third Midlands & Birmingham XC league, but more importantly, BUCS A team qualifications. BUAC men and women turned out in their hundreds to challenge themselves with the undulating Warley course, all in the hope for a BUCS spot. The women tackled the course first, with Rosie Hamilton-Jones setting a blistering pace from the off to keep stretching her lead over the chasing BUAC girls behind. However, in a race for the ages, Kate Willis, Freya Stapleton, and Charlotte Alexander began to close at an alarming rate, and with RHJ fading; Kate and Freya managed to manoeuvre around her, with Kate taking the win for the race, just a second in front of Freya and booking her spot in the BUCS A team. Rosie still managed to get an impressive third, with Charlotte 4th to make it a BUAC 1-2-3-4 in the women’s race. Further down, the strength and depth of BUAC’s women shone through, with 12 women managing to place within the top 20 of the race. On the men’s side, a race of tactics meant anyone could get those coveted BUCS spots. The pace ebbed and flowed, however, it was Tyler Bilyard and Finley Proffitt who crossed the line in 3rd and 5th, only 1 second apart, to gain those final 2 BUCS spots. Fresher Noah Campion demonstrated a well-judged race that we have come to expect from the rising BUAC star to place 6th, only 3 seconds behind the 2 BUAC boys to show great promise to lead the B race of BUAC boys in Leeds.  


Heading back indoors, and over in enemy lines at the Seb Coe HIPAC in Loughborough, our power athletes were opening their indoor seasons. On the Saturday, it was the women’s sprinters who showed who runs the world with a series of electric times. In the women’s 60m hurdles, Zoe Austridge showed good early form to go 8.92, then 9.03 to piece two solid runs. Kirsty Sait-Stewart had one run to open her season, running 9.81. In the women’s 60m, student-coach Lauren Butler led the way for BUAC women, running again under 8 seconds in 7.98 to continue to show a great start to her indoor season. Pocket rocket Steph Robertson also showed her rapid speed, clocking 8.12 in her first 60, then 8.13 in her second to show great consistency for the season. Fresher Samantha McClune also ran strongly to open her season in a time of 8.29, bettering it in her second 60 to clock 8.24. On the Sunday, it was the turn of our jumpers to showcase their immense talent. Alfie Wood pieced together a solid series to get a 6.29m jump out of the competition. Upstairs meanwhile at the high jump, Kimani Jack showed that this year’s indoor BUCS is a redemption story as he set a new PB of 2.15m to lay a marker to his competition. Fresher Toby Cherry jumped 1.92 for his season opener to illustrate promise of things to come from him. Over in the triple jump, President Josh Woods opened his season with a respectable 14.73; with a lot, lot more yet to come. Matt Cox backed up Josh with a really consistent series, with his best jump of 13.76m. On the women’s side, it was a showdown of the highest order as 4 BUAC women went toe-to-toe in order to get ahead in BUCS selection. Cleo Tomlinson came out on top on this occasion, jumping 10.80m. Track Captain Trin jumped 10.19m to come second, with Daisy Harris-Bosancic placing third with 10.11 and Carla Gordon setting a new PB to come 4th in 9.22m in the battle of BUAC.


Continuing the indoor form, Mike Bennett’s group took to Sheffield, Loughborough, and Dublin to demonstrate the scintillating form that their training has created. Highlights from Mike’s group were Mads Whapples new 60m PB at Midlands Champs, running 7.63 in the final to become the 2024 Midlands Champion. Dani Hales backed up Mads with an incredible 4th in the Midlands final, running her second quickest ever 60m time in 7.95. Hannah Kelly also ran a new indoor PB in Dublin, running 53.05 to signify why she has been selected for England in Belgium for February in the 400. Comps President Molly Swingler has also had a fantastic start to her indoor season, running a storming 57.24 in Dublin to place herself in a great position for a BUCS spot. Meg Willis also broke the magical 60 second barrier in the 400, running a new PB of 59.13 in Sheffield.


Finally, the January BUAC round-up takes us to Cardiff, where some more great BUAC highlights have taken place. Firstly, Cleo Tomlinson put herself in pole position for a BUCS spot in the Triple Jump, with a fantastic jump of 11.06m to go within 2cm of her lifetime best. Darian Moore has also set the tone for what could be a special last indoor season for himself in Birmingham red, going 6.87 then 6.85 to equal his personal best before shattering it at the Welsh Championships with a 6.84. Josh Woods also completed side quests for days, hitting 7.10 and then a new PB of 7.07 in the 60m alongside Darian to give himself a real shot of a 60m place at BUCS. Craig Moncur has also built on his great Combined Championships by further pushing himself to new heights, hitting a new PB in the 60m hurdles in 8.44 and 13.19m in the Shot Put. Both Toby Cherry and Will Sutton jumped 2m dead in the high jump, making the fight for the second high jump spot at BUCS even more interesting.

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