Superb Performances at AAI National Juvenile Indoors
(scroll down for Days 1 & 2)
The final day of the AAI National Juvenile Indoors took place on Saturday
31st March in Nenagh, and it proved a real family affair with two pairs of siblings winning National medals in the same event
on the same day, Edel & Rachel Glennon in race walk and Victoria & Mervyn Harris in 200m. This is an unusual first
Mullingar had four athletes entered in the 200m, where the first obstacle was to qualify through the extremely competitive
heats for the finals. Lisa Cooke (200m u/16) was unlucky not to make it through
and though she ran quicker than in the Leinster Indoors, it wasn’t fast enough to advance to the final. Similarly, for
Aine O’Reilly (200m u/19) who also ran very well and was quicker than
in Leinster but didn’t advance to the final.
Mervyn Harris (200m u/16) stormed
to victory in his heat in 24.45 seconds, a new personal best (PB) time by over half a second to qualify for the final as one
of the four fastest over the four heats. The final was a fantastic race where Mervyn stormed from the blocks to take the early
lead and was only passed after about 120m but he kept his composure and form and drove with all he had to finish 3rd
in 24.31 seconds, another PB, but more importantly for Mervyn to win his first individual
Victoria Harris (200m u/17) also won her
heat comfortably to qualify for the final. In the final, exploding from the blocks, Victoria took the early lead and only
coming off the second bend was she caught by the girl in the lane inside her. Both girls ran the home straight nearly shoulder
to shoulder, with Victoria crossing the finish line in 2nd place, beaten by only five hundredths of a second
but delighted with her new PB of 26.13 seconds. This time ranks her in the top-20 women
indoor 200m sprinters in Ireland in 2012, including seniors, and she will be a force to be reckoned with in the outdoor season
The race walks were equally competitive with some great performances in very fast times, and in the 1,500m
u/17, Edel Glennon displayed great determination to finish 2nd and
secure the silver medal. Rachel Glennon (1,000m u/15) faced
some serious challenges in her race but showed great composure and maintained her form in this very technical event to finish
3rd and was delighted to win the National bronze medal to make it two race walk medals in
the Glennon household, to go with the two 200m medals in the Harris household.
Having qualified comfortably
from his heat of the 800m u/17 earlier in the day, Liam O’Reilly took
to the line of his 800m final in the last event of the day featuring a Mullingar athlete. Cheered along every step of the
way by his Mullingar club mates, Liam kept himself right in contention for a medal up to the final 200m but two tough 800m
races in a day proved just a little too much for Liam and though he finished well, had to settle for 7th
place, out of the medals, but an excellent performance in a very tough National final.
Combined with the first week-end, this has been a very good National Indoors for the Club’s juvenile
athletes with each competing to the very best of their ability and giving an excellent account of themselves winning two
gold, three silver and three bronze medals, together with many personal
best performances, which will give them great confidence for the outdoor season.
Days 1 & 2
Sat/Sun 24th/25th March was the first week-end of the AAI
National Juvenile Indoor Finals, which took place in Nenagh. Our juvenile athletes had a great week-end and the good
tally of medals and personal best performances made the journey to Nenagh very worthwhile.
Making his first appearance
in an individual National track final didn’t seem to faze Mervyn Harris one bit as he turned
in a terrific performance in the 60m for boys u/16 on Saturday, recording a new personal best time of 7.53
seconds when finishing second in his heat. Even though he finished 5th and out of the medal places in the
final, Mervyn was very pleased to run even faster and record a new PB of 7.52 seconds. No
problem for Leinster Champion Victoria Harris in her heat of the 60m for girls u/17,
qualifying comfortably for the final with a new PB of 8.12 seconds. In the extremely competitive final where only one tenth
of a second separated the medal places she was extremely unlucky to finish in 4th, denied the bronze by a
mere one hundredth of a second, but took satisfaction by running even quicker and recording a new PB of 8.00
seconds. These terrific sprint performances will give Mervyn and Victoria a great boost in confidence for the 200m
sprints this coming Saturday.
On to the 600m where young John Whitelaw was taking
part in his first National individual track final. John ran a very spirited race in the final of the 600m for boys
u/12 where he kept himself in contention throughout and though he finished 8th, out of the medal
places, can be very proud of his excellent performance.
The heats of the 1,500m were scheduled
for Saturday, with the finals on Sunday. However, some were lucky to have a straight final on Saturday and not have to face
into a repeat journey to Nenagh on Sunday. Heats were required for the 1,500m for boys u/16, where Glen Gaffney made it look easy in his heat and qualified comfortably for Sunday’s final. Linda Conroy is still in the middle of her cross country season and is looking forward to running for
Ireland at the Schools International in Scotland on Saturday 31st March, but what she might have lacked in track sharpness
she made up in determination and strength. The 1,500m for girls u/17 was a straight final on Saturday and
Linda made the opposition work very hard, running shoulder to shoulder with the leader throughout and only with 300m to go
did she find the pace a little too much and had to concede and settle for silver, but still running very
close to her personal best. Come the outdoor season, she will be a force to reckon with.
Heats were also required
for the 1,500m for boys u/17 on Saturday but proved no problem for Jack Reid
and Padraig Moran, as both qualified with the minimum of fuss, saving valuable energy for Sunday’s
final. It was a straight final in the 1,500m for girls u/18 on Saturday where despite a brave effort, Lorraine Daly just couldn’t get on terms with the medal contenders and had to settle for a 5th
place finish but will already be planning for the outdoor season ahead.
Fitzsimons qualified comfortably from his heat of the 1,500m for boys u/18 on Saturday, but Ryan Blundell was very unlucky in his heat, missing qualification for the final by just one place.
In the final of the 1,500m for boys u/19 on Saturday, Stephen Nea and Jonathan Daly ran very well but despite every effort, had to settle for 5th and 6th
respectively, but can be proud of their performances in their last juvenile race indoors, as both will move to the Junior
ranks next year.
With four Mullingar athletes competing in 1,500m finals on Sunday,
hopes were high of a good medal tally to add to Linda Conroy’s silver on Saturday, and they surely didn’t disappoint.
First into action was Glen Gaffney and
after a long and successful cross country season Glen finished in 6th place in the 1,500m for boys
u/16. This was a positive and encouraging start to the track season and he can look forward to some good performances
throughout the outdoor season.
Padraig Moran and Jack Reid
had both comfortably qualified for the u/17 boys final and were optimistic of a good performance. After a
slow and tactical opening 400m, Padraig went to the front and quickly took control and gave a
confident and dominant display of front running to come home a clear winner in a time of 4:10.
This was a personal best performance by a margin of 8 seconds and was the first time that Padraig has won
a National individual title and is a fitting reward for his efforts over the past number of months. For much of the race Jack Reid was in a medal position and battled hard over the final laps to finish in 3rd place to secure
the bronze medal.
Shane Fitzsimons was our representative in the final
race of the day, the 1,500m for boys u/18 and is no stranger to winning National titles. Shane took control
of the race from the outset and increased the lead on every lap to win by a huge margin in a personal
best time of 3:53.37. Not surprisingly, this was a Championship Record breaking
the previous mark that had stood for sixteen years. Interestingly, this is the fifth occasion that Shane has set a Championship
Record when winning a National title and we look forward to many more in the future.
Overall a very good week-end for the Club’s juvenile athletes with each competing to the very best of their
ability and giving an excellent account of themselves and they can be very proud of their performances. On Saturday 31st
March, many that competed on 24th/25th will return to Nenagh for the final day of the National Finals. The Club will
have 15 athletes in action, four 200m sprinters, two race walkers and nine athletes in the 800m. They are advised to check
the notice board in the Clubhouse for the latest time for check-in for their event.