Third place secures spot
ATHLETICS: Croydon ensured their place in July's finale at Hendon after finishing in third place at Sunday's McCain national Young Athletes League fixture at Ashford.
In a tough match, the Harriers, apart from a short early lead, were chasing eventual winners Blackheath and eventual runners-up Tonbridge.
They finished well clear of Basildon, Havering and Ashford.
Team captain Patrick Lucas followed his Surrey Schools U17 title win of the previous day with a superb display of controlled running.
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He won the 400m, the 800m and ran a fine 51.5 seconds leg for the victorious relay team.
The John Fisher student showed further spirit and versatility by filling a gap in the discus. He was ably supported by Femi Agbetoyin in the same track events with a solid second in the B 800m and a quicker win in the 400m.
Chux Ajay headed the 100m in 12.31 and Tiyana Bailey won the shot (7.73m).
Several newcomers acquitted themselves well. At U15 level, Ashleigh Clarke underlined her sprinting talent with a very crisp 200m in 25.97 while Josh Fearn Ralf's 24.84 B string run would have won him the A race.
Thrower David Olajiga took both shot and discus firsts with efforts of 12.96m and 31.17m. Emma Fosset won the javelin with 27.79m.
U17 sprinter Eleanor Smith-Hahn featured in two of the tightest finishes, marginally missing out in both, but with fine times of 12.91 and 25.30 when adverse winds of -3.2 and -2.9ms are taken into account.
In the keenly contested relays, Croydon teams registered four wins and two seconds, but came unstuck after producing a rare pair of disqualifications and a no show.
The U17 men and the U15 girls teams produced sparkling wins to claim success.
Marcel Rowe showed his class to confidently bring the U15 4x300m home to victory in a good time of 2:46.31, two seconds clear of their nearest challengers in the race.