Superb performances at Gateshead meeting
A TEAM of 10 athletes from St Peter's AC travelled to England the weekend before last to take part in the Tartan Games in Gateshead - one of the longest established and highest quality open track and field meets in these islands.
The event is staged annually at Gateshead International Stadium - an iconic athletics venue - and attracts athletes not just from the local clubs in Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Northumberland, but from right across the north of England and Scotland, along with the Irish contingent from the Dromiskin-based club.
Undaunted by the strength of the opposition, the St Peter's AC athletes rose to the challenge and amassed a remarkable haul of one gold, three silver and six bronze medals. All 10 medals were earned in the throws and jumps, making it the second highest medal total in the field events of any club at the competition.
Katie Murphy, the youngest athlete on the team, was the star of the show as she demolished the Tartan Games record in the U-13 Girls Shot Put to win that event with a superb throw of 9.51m. This was her first-ever competition with the heavier 2.72kg implement. Katie was also in action in the 100m where she clocked 14.63 to finish fifth in her heat.
Gabriel Bell had a great day in the U-13 Boys age group. He bettered the Tartan Games record in the High Jump with a clearance of 1.40m, but had to settle for silver as his rival from the host club went even higher. Gabriel also claimed bronze in the Long Jump with a personal best leap of 4.71m, and finished sixth in his heat of the 100m in a time of 14.43.
Heather Rogers scaled 1.35m to take silver in the U-17 Girls High Jump, and she also recorded personal bests in finishing fifth in the 300m and Long Jump with performances of 52.07 and 4.29m respectively.
The club's other silver medal came courtesy of Liam Fussey who unleashed a big throw of 36.49m in the final round of the U-17 Boys Javelin.
Frances Rogers, Heather's older sister, won a brace of bronze medals in the throws in the Senior Women's category. Her final round throw of 9.70m in the Shot Put was close to her season's best, and she registered 19.49m in the Hammer on her competitive debut in what is one of the most technically difficult events.
Tom McGrane also doubled up in the Senior Men's Shot Put and Hammer. He threw 9.72m to take bronze in the former and had a best throw of 18.20m in finishing fourth in the latter.
Emma McDermott was another Shot Put bronze medallist, as her throw of 7.63m with the 3.25kg implement earned her a spot on the podium in the U-15 Girls competition. She also finished 10th in the Long Jump with a leap of 3.12m.
Martin McGrane, Tom's son, matched his dad's performance to win bronze in the U-17 Boys Shot Put. He recorded 8.74m with the 5kg implement in what was quite a competitive event.
Ciara Murphy, Katie's sister and Emma's cousin, had a busy day. She leapt 3.66m for seventh place in the U-15 Girls Long Jump and finished sixth in the heats of both of her sprint events, clocking 15.31 in the 100m and 32.51 in the 200m.
Shot-putter Craig Murtagh was throwing the 4kg implement for the first time in competition and did well to finish eighth in the U-15 Boys event with a best throw of 6.85m.
The St Peter's AC team was accompanied to Gateshead by coaches Paddy Bell, Kathleen McConnell and Angela McDonald. They were delighted with the fine performances and took even further heart from the fact that the majority of the juvenile athletes on the team were competing 'out of age'.