Luton Athletic Club finished a hard-fought second place in their latest Southern Athletics League Division Three North match of the season at Stockwood Park on Sunday.
The team was battling with a combined South Bucks outfit throughout the day, swapping top spot at times, but a lack of athletes in the later events eventually cost Luton as they finished second on 250.5 points, South Bucks ending on 286.5.
The meeting started with the 400m hurdles, Libby Jay winning the ladies race in 85.8secs, while it was then the turn of Libby’s younger sister Leah, who was a clear winner of the 800m A event in 2.22.4mins.
The team were also victorious in both men’s 800m races, Jed Noblett winning the A event in a fast 1.58.9mins and U17 athlete Nathan Davis triumphing in the B race in 2.08.1mins.
The 100m races followed, with third place for Rebecca Andrei (13.2secs) and a B race victory for Charise Myrie in 13.3secs.
The men’s races were covered by two U17 athletes, and both managed fourth places, Dylan St Helien clocking 12.5secs and Prodige Anisha 13.0secs.
Libby Jay was back in action in the 400m, with fourth place in 68.8secs, while Olly Slinko (52.6secs) and Joseph Larkei (57.4secs) both won their events impressively.
Charise Myrie (18.3secs) and Ariana Gomes (20.2secs) were winners of the 100m hurdles races, as Herbie Johnson gained valuable points in the 3,000m, coming fifth in 10.46.7mins.
Rebecca Andrei ran a superb personal best of 26.0secs when winning the 200m A race, Uchenna de Silva finishing second in the B race in 27.9secs.
Patrick Davis came second in the 1,500m, clocking 4.20.7mins, while Libby Jay was back in action in the 1,500m steeplechase, coming second in 6.13.9mins and Lee Carey, normally a sprinter, ran the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, timing 16.46.2mins for second.
The final track events of the day were the relays, with Luton finishing third in both 4x100m races, while the 4x400m events are now mixed events, Luton triumphing in the first, Slinko, Davis, Leah Jay and Andrei bringing the baton home in 3.49.5mins.
The throwing events are traditionally strong for Luton, Jo Blair (10.02m) and Suzanna Wise (8.00m) getting a brace of second places in the shot putt, while in the men’s event, Jordan Davies won the A string (11.47m) and Dave Burrell (7.84m) was second in the B string.
There were similar positions for the pair in the men’s discus with Davies throwing 32.90m and Burrell 22.43m.
The women’s discus saw a double win for Luton, with Emma Beales throwing 36.02m and Suzy Wise 31.38m.
Wise went on to win the hammer in an impressive 41.02m, as Burrell came second in the men’s A event with 28.10m, Davies managing 26.14m to win the B competition.
Woman Athlete of the Match went to former British champion Jo Blair, with a massive throw of 47.52m in the javelin, as she was ably backed up by men’s team manager Dawn Williams, winning the B string with 26.21m.
There were more valuable second place points in the javelin for Davies (47.32m) and Zack Grinsted (29.56m).
Grinsted non-scored in the men’s shot, throwing his age group weight of 6kg, achieving the English Schools qualifying mark with a distance of 13.55m.
The English Schools Championships will be held in Manchester on July 8-9 and the club are hoping Grinsted, a former English Schools discus champion, will be selected once more.
The jumps are less profitable events for the club at the moment, but Gabby Slinko was second in the long jump (4.73m) and fifth in the high jump (1.30m).
Natania Lester won the B triple jump with 8.97m and came second in the B long jump B (3.91m), while Charise Myrie landed 10.52m for third in the A triple jump, all achieving good points for the team.
Team spirit was to the fore in the men’s jumps, with Danny Bottesch, Lee Carey and Prodige Anisha all collecting valuable points.
Luton have been second in both matches so far this season and will be hoping for better at the next match, scheduled for Sandy Track on Saturday, July 16.
Final scores: South Bucks, 286.5pts; Luton AC, 250.5; Northampton AC, 205; Biggleswade Buzzards, 153; Maidenhead AC, 134; Vale of Aylesbury, 41.