Day 3 of BUCS can only mean one thing, a Bank Holiday Mega Monday of finals, medals and BUAC success. With a plethora of medals to be won of the final day of an incredible BUCS, everything was still to play for a buoyant BUAC team; ready to run, throw and jump to success!
The day started bright and early once again in the field, with BUAC action out in the throws. For Sam Clifton, our leading hammer thrower, it was a straight final which pitted him against some of the very best in the country. He pieced together a scintillating last three throws of his series to come 6th with a new PB of 52.56m to give more valuable BUCS points! In the women’s shot qualification, Kirsty-Ann Ebbage, in her 3rd event of the weekend, pulled out a wonder throw to make the Shot final later in the day with a new PB of 11.08m!
On the track, BUACers began to gather to eagerly watch the final day of track glory. The high-octane action began with the women’s 100m hurdle semi-finals. With 4 BUACers still very much in the hunt. In semi-final 1, Zoe Austridge snuck into the final with a new PB of 14.38, gaining a fastest non-automatic qualifier spot. Rebecca Hardy just missed out in 5th, in 14.98. In semi-final 2, it was a similar story of success and anguish. Jasmine Clark made it 2 BUACers in the final by sneaking the other non-automatic qualifying spot in 14.24, with Dani Hales just missed out on a final spot in her first outdoor BUCS with a 14.40.
Completely contrasting the speed of the sprint hurdles came the tactics of the men’s 5000m. In the B final, Finn Proffitt produced a serene run to come 2nd, in 14:52 to put down a great marker for the incoming A final. Isaac Chandler carried the hopes for BUAC in the A final and delivered in style. A 14:05 PB to place him 5th in the A final and 5th overall in the men’s 5000 was an incredible feat in his first outdoor BUCS.
Jumping from one track final to another meant the conclusion of the 400m hurdle finals. Lots of BUAC hopes rode on the shoulders as 4 were vying for BUCS glory. In the women’s final, Orla Brennan, Amelia Briggs-Goode and Molly Swingler eyed glory at the end of the lap. When the gun went and the hurdles were cleared, it was Orla Brennan who came away as the leading BUACer, coming 2nd in a new personal best and club record in 58.62. Amelia followed her in to come 3rd, winning a bronze BUCS medal at her first attempt and breaking sub-60 for the first time in 59.97. Molly also ran incredibly to come 6th, in 61.70 to set another new PB and further smash the British Champs standard.
Over in the men’s 400H, Panashe Majuru fought incredibly hard to get himself into a good position going into the last 150, but faded and was later disqualified for a lane infringement.
Out in the field, the women’s pole vault was fought valiantly by all 3 ladies, and the men’s triple jump similarly was fought hard with no avail. Josh Woods came very close to another BUCS medal, but just missed out in a 4th place finish in 14.85. Josh Knox backed up Woods well for a 6th place finish in 14.38 for another PB for BUAC. In the men’s high jump, further anguish occurred. Kimani Jack unfortunately fell short, whereas Evan Campbell produced a season’s best performance of 1.94m for both to still score good BUAC points.
Back to the track, it was the turn of the 200m semi-finals, the last set of semi-finals before the BUCS finals can roll in. In the women’s side, Ella Jeffery backed up a strong PB yesterday with a 26.43 to set a tone for a cracking season ahead, missing out on qualification for the final. However, Mads Whapples continued the sparkling form at the start of her season to automatically qualify for the final later, setting another personal best of 24.61. In the men’s side, Suresh Black ran a searing bend to make it through a tough qualification and gain a fastest loser spot with a 21.99. Darian ‘always wants’ Moore didn’t quite have enough, running a 22.52 but had a relay later to right wrongs of the individual sprints.
Now came the time for the finals, non-stop BUCS glory for the final 4 hours of a glorious BUCS. The first final was the sprint hurdles, with 3 BUACers across 2 finals vying for glory. In the women’s 100m hurdle final, Jasmine Clark pieced another impressive race together to come 5th, in 14.24 to place her in high spirits for her season. Zoe Austridge came 8th, capping an impressive individual BUCS performance in her favoured discipline. On the men’s side, our Spanish maestro Angel Diaz once again brought the success home for BUAC, placing second and narrowly missing a well-deserved gold for the team in 14.11.
Next on the track was the 3000m steeplechase. BUAC hopes in this were high, three men all with excellent racing pedigree looking to win that coveted BUCS gold. The pace was ferocious, turning up and up each lap. At the pinnacle, it was former U20 European finalist Kristain Imroth, back in his comeback year to the chase who claimed the title from World U20 athlete Thomas Bridger. Cross Captain Elliot Moran initially came 4th in his comeback chase season, with all BUACers sharing his heartache for the valiant effort and grit he put into the race. However, fortune favoured him as the Aberdeen athlete ahead was disqualified for an infringement, meaning Elliot got bumped up to third and completed BUAC’s first ever 1-2-3!
Rapidly following that was the ever-exhilarating 800m finals. The women stepped up first, Abbie Ives and Zoe hunter both in maiden BUCS Outdoor finals going for the mighty BUAC. It was Abbie, roared home by training parter and former BUCS champion Issy Boffey, who won at a canter in 2:04 to set the tone for what could be a special season for her. Zoe battled hard as always to come an impressive 6th in her first BUCS, going from strength to strength and gaining more valuable BUCS points. In the men’s side, Harry Fisher had the hoped of BUAC on his shoulders to replicate his majestic indoor victory outdoors. This time it wasn’t to be, as he painfully faded out of contention down the final 50.
We could barely catch our breath before the next set of finals stormed onto the Sportcity track. The women’s and men’s 400m finals provided more tantalising opportunity for BUCS medals. Izzy Skelton set herself first for BUAC, and in her maiden outdoor BUCS final, she placed an incredible 4th in a season best 55.56. On the men’s side, Cam Bailey also wanted to replicate indoor BUCS glory outdoor, but could not on this occasion, placing 5th in 48.19. However, with a 4 x 100 relay final to come, Cam had a chance at redemption later.
Finally, we had a chance to breath and digest the high-octane action of the last hour as the women’s 5000m started. BUAC again, as always, had a strong contingent going of Amelia Quirk, Saskia Millard, Mia Atkinson and Freya Stapleton. 12 and ½ laps of tactics and pacing whizzed around Sportcity, and the result was more BUAC success, Amelia Quirk placing 3rd in a frantic sprint finish. Saskia Millard followed strongly behind in 5th, and Mia did incredibly to come 6th in her debut 5000m on the track for amazing BUCS points. Freya also did incredibly, placing 10th in her debut BUCS appearance.
Meanwhile in the field, action was going non-stop alongside the track events. In the women’s high jump, Lily Holt finally claimed her first BUCS medal after coming so close on so many occasions previously, clearing 1.69m to take bronze. In the women’s shot put, Kirsty Ebbage didn’t quite reach the heights of her qualifier, but still did incredibly to make the final and placed 10th on her final BUCS appearance!
There was more heartache in the men’s long jump. BUAC favourite Ore Adepegba couldn’t quite reach the wonders of his qualifier, only jumped 7.03 to place a disappointing 5th, but will back next year to get that illusive BUCS gold. Josh Woods unfortunately did not record a jump.
The Ambulant events ran simultaneously alongside the main competitions of the shot and long jump. Didi Okoh went in both, zipping back and forth across both events for those crucial points. In the shot, she threw an impressive 8.08m to come 3rd, and in the long jump, she won at a canter as the only female ambulant athlete in 4.22m to complete another storming weekend for her!
Back to the track, and more rapid action took place in the form of the 200m finals. BUACs favourite pocket rocket Mads Whapples went first on the women’s side and achieved her best individual BUCS placing of 4th in a mind-blowing new PB of 24.37, placing her in strong position to get the British Championship entry time this season! On the men’s side, Suresh Black again ran a storming bend, a distinctive trait of the friendliest Bermudan in the world but faded down the home straight to finish in 22.11. He too, like the rest of the relay team, would be coming back for redemption and glory.
A brief pause in the action occurred, before the 2000m women’s steeplechase commenced. Two BUACers, both in their first BUCS finals, in Martha Collings and Ellen Weir. It was Martha who won the battle of the BUACers, coming 6th, again gaining the team more BUCS points in a new PB of 6:50.5. Ellen backed her up valiantly, placing 8th.
The last individual finals of BUCS 2023 were the men’s and women’s 1500m finals. Ladies were first, Elsa Palmer and Kate Willis preparing for 3 ¾ laps of tactics to earn BUCS glory. The pace was ferocious, but both women did amazingly. Kate came 5th, getting a new PB of 4:27 in the process. Elsa fought hard in the race, leading the ferocious pace set but faded down the home straight to come 9th in 4:30. Over on the men’s side, BUAC again showed their prowess as they have all weekend. Tyler Bilyard, fresh off his indoor BUCS crown, gained another BUCS medal to his impressive collection by coming 3rd in 3:50. Archie Parkinson nearly made it another double BUAC podium, and nearly added another BUCS medal to his indoor 800m silver but was just pipped at the line in a fierce sprint finish in 5th with 3:51.
With all individual events over, the BUAC contingent stood eagerly anticipating the upcoming relays, eyeing more success. Firstly was the women’s 4 x 100m, led off by Zoe Austridge, before passing to Cara Clarke, then Steff Fisher and finally Mads Whapples would bring the team home as she always does. It was a thrilling race, close changeovers, amazing speed and resulted in another BUCS medal for the team in 3rd, agonisingly close to Cardiff Met ahead.
Then came the men’s sprint relay team. Darian Moore, to Angel Diaz, to Suresh Black and Cam Bailey on the home leg. All were seeking vindication from disappointments in various forms from individual races. The race was near perfect, hearts were in mouth over the first change, however the boys prevailed and came home with the gold in 41.23. After the pain of being disqualified, reinstated and then bumped into the final, all the way from the inside in lane 1, it was an incredible performance and one that will live long in the memory.
The final relay with BUAC interest was the women’s 4 x 400m. As always, an incredibly strong team was fielded. Olivia Kimbowa led off, before passing to Orla Brennan, who handed over to Abbie Ives and then was led home by Izzy Skelton. The team did everything in their power to try and stop Loughborough up ahead, but still came in a strong second place to add the last medal to BUAC’s incredible collection over the last 3 days.
In a truly record-breaking bank holiday weekend, the might BUAC amassed 19 medals, surpassing the previous record of 15, 49 Top 8 finishes for BUCS points, beating the record of 31 and 65 finalists across all events. It placed BUAC second in the men’s and women’s championship standing, with the overarching aim as always to topple Loughborough at the top! With the rest of the season to go, it is going to be mouthwatering to see what BUAC can achieve!