Guernsey Press

County champion Lowe has sights set on the nationals

ISABELLE LOWE claimed her first county crown in impressive fashion during a sunny and successful Hampshire Track and Field Championships weekend.

Abi Galpin winning the 200m. (Picture by Jamie Ingrouille, 32118598)

There were numerous other Sarnian champions crowned over the two days in Portsmouth, including a senior sprint double for Abi Galpin, but Lowe’s triumph in the U17 300m particularly captured the spirit of an event that for many younger athletes is a stepping stone to greater things.

The long sprinter continued her promising trajectory by triumphing in 40.20sec. – a full second inside the English Schools standard that she first achieved only recently.

‘It feels really good,’ she said after powering past Winchester’s Elsie Brindle for a 0.69sec. victory margin.

‘I was not really sure if I was going to be able to do it or not, but I am really happy I managed to get a PB and get the medal as well.’

Although Lowe is a contender for the home Island Games this summer, she also has her eyes on age-group results at the English Schools and U17 Nationals.

‘I am trying to get to a final for both of them, so that will be really good,’ she added.

An absence of races in 2023 amid injury concerns did not stop Commonwealth Games athlete Galpin from triumphing twice.

Facing a headwind in the 100m final, she opened her season with a dominant win, running 12.29 to bank an Island Games A standard.

She backed that up the following day by winning the 200m in 24.79 – another A standard – to beat Jersey’s in-form Olivia Allbut.

Guernsey’s two remaining senior golds came in field events and in unusual circumstances.

Alice Hunt could not be split from Woodford Green’s Jessica Gordon in a straight shootout over the high jump, meaning both shared gold on 1.55m.

This came as Holly Drake was credited triple jump gold with a 10.86m finale, her best result in nine years, but she questioned whether a measuring error had occurred. She followed with long jump silver.

Meanwhile, Richard Bartram settled for silver twice, missing out by 0.40sec. in a tactical men’s 800m before making a long run for home in the 1,500m and being overtaken in the final half lap.

Fellow middle-distance runner Nix Petit claimed silver in a similarly close women’s 1,500m, made even sweeter by her big PB and A standard of 4-46.19. Emma Etheredge ducked under 4-50 to add another Guernsey vest to the podium.

James Bougourd earned senior javelin silver, while Tom Brierley, Sia Banbury, Rebecca Le Tissier and Sofia Mella contributed to a haul of bronzes across various field events.

Among the other juniors, U20 Kate Bain completed a golden double of her own.

She won the 400m title convincingly in 58.03 and was never pushed in her favoured 800m, which she took in 2-15.15.

The more eye-catching run over the two laps came from U17 Darcey Hodgson, who fought to the line against Portsmouth’s own Olivia East and just lost out – but not without setting a Guernsey age-group record of 2-13.77.

Gian-Luca Robilliard lost out narrowly in a high-quality U20 men’s 800m race but nevertheless climbed to 12th in Guernsey’s senior all-time list with his quick 1-55-20.

Fellow U20 Jack Le Tissier dominated the steeplechase.

Thomas Merrien ran solo in the steeplechase for Guernsey’s only gold in the U17 category, while Nikola Vagule’s high jump silver was the pick of the U15 girls.

Guernsey’s U13s showed strongly, including the versatile Emil Friedrich throwing a championship best of 9.70m to win the shot put and taking an honourable second to Isle of Wight’s record-shattering Remy Keegan in the 200m.

Amelie Van Heerden won the 100m in 13.09 and completed the sprint double with a 27.13 over 200m – both big PBs.

A busy Taya Smit dominated the javelin standings with 19.28 – over 4m further than second place – and also took second in the sprint hurdles.