BUCS Nationals is the pinnacle of many a student-athlete’s winter season, and plenty of BUAC’s finest were primed and ready to attack the competition this year in Sheffield on 14-16th Feb. Coming off the back of a record medal haul last year with a total of 8, the team were in high spirits as the coach ventured north early on Friday morning.
It was a successful weekend in many regards, with 2 golds, 3 silvers and a bronze, alongside 2nd boys’ team, 3rd girls’ team, and a terrific 2nd place overall!
Leading the way were Issy Boffey and Laura Zialor with gold medals in the 400m and High Jump, both dominant displays from experienced heads on young shoulders. Jake Porter kicked us off to a great start on the Friday evening with a silver medal in a drama-laden 60mH final - his 6th career medal at this event. After a difficult first year of running at UoB, it was great to see former world junior finalist Cesca Brint return to form with a silver medal in a loaded women’s 800m final.
It wasn’t just medals that were gained at the weekend, but also a club record! The women’s 4x200m relay team looked strong in the heats on Saturday, with smooth changeovers allowing for a smooth qualification courtesy of Hannah Kelly, Lauren Butler, Yvette Westwood and Jasmine Clark clocking 1:42.25 for the 3rd fastest time of the day. On Sunday, fresh from their long jump and 400m finals, Hannah Jones and Issy Boffey came into the team for the final, with a strong chance of a medal on the cards. Kelly lead them off, then Jones and Butler held the fast pace set by the leaders, before Boffey anchored home and pulled them up into the silver medal position. They crossed the line and to the delight of relay coach Martin Owens, the time was a whole second under the previous club record set in the same championships in 2014 - a new best of 1:39.85! Well done to all who were involved and part of this great team achievement. A record breaker in his own right just 2 weeks prior to the champs was Tom Keen who achieved a 3:41.44 indoor British junior 1500m record in Vienna at the start of Feb. He took to the 1500m starting in Sheffield, alongside teammate Joe Tuffin, with hopes of challenging for the title - no mean feat as a first-year student. A cagey opening few laps saw Tom take to the fore with 500m to go and start to wind the pace up. One for the kickers, championship racing doesn’t always go to the form book, and Tom was up against it with just one lap to go. He fought hard and admirably to cross the line in 3rd, earning himself a bronze and a place on his first, but what is sure not to be his last, BUCS podium.
They say points win prizes, but it’s not just medals that win points. Coming in that all important top 8 scores you team points at BUCS indoors, and BUAC couldn’t have achieved their 2nd place finish without the unsung heroes finishing between 4th and 8th place. Birmingham had these aplenty, with four 4ths, four 5ths, one 6th and three 7ths. 4ths: Jack Hocking - 400m Tom Dodd - 800m Michael Ward - 3000m Jake Burkey - long jump 5ths: Emma Bakare - triple jump AND shot put (worth noting these events were at the same time and she bounced between the two, with two 5ths scoring as many points as one 1st) Sabrina Sinha - 1500m Luke Okosieme - high jump 6th: Joe Tuffin - 1500m 7ths: Cameron Bailey - 200m James Gormley - 3000m Louisa Whittingham - 3000m
All these athletes added to our points total, but every athlete and more added to our team spirit. Great things come when great people come together, so well done to all involved for a fantastic performance, be that a medal, a top 8 finish, a PB, or even just making the team or coming along to support.
Once again, massive thank you to Jonty Mitchell (@photographybyjonty on instagram) for all the photos.