On the last weekend of February, Sheffield’s Don Valley Indoor Athletics Track hosted the best of Britain’s student athletes at the 2012 Indoor BUCS Championships, with over 1000 athletes entered for the first time.
The standard was incredibly high across all events with impressive performances from athletes of all universities; most notably three championship best performances were recorded by Sally Peake of Cardiff, Andrew Pozzi, who was representing the University of the West of England (UWE) and Shakira Whight (Brunel).
Whight added 13cm to the previous CBP with her 13.23m performance in the triple jump, while Peake, who has increased her indoor PB to 4.42m already this session, easily took the Pole Vault title with a solid CBP of 4.20m, ahead of Loughborough athletes Sally Scott and Abi Haywood in second and third respectively.
Pozzi also secured his win by a significant margin, clocking a rapid 7.64 seconds in the 60m Hurdles on Sunday. Earlier on in the month, Pozzi won the Aviva UK World trials with a time of 7.62 seconds to secure his place on the plane to the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul.
Loughborough’s new recruit Ben Kelk finished third in the final clocking of 8.00 seconds, in his first season competing over the senior men’s hurdles.
Loughborough put forward a strong contingent this year, with Meghan Beesley, Laura Wake and Guy Learmonth all defending their titles in the 200m, 400m and 800m respectively.
Last year’s European U23 400m hurdles bronze medallist, Beesley, cruised through the rounds before storming to overall victory in 24.12 seconds ahead of Jo White (Bath, 24.30s) and Zara George (UWIC, 24.61s).
Wake and Learmonth also executed impressively controlling races in the final, with significant winning margins over their fellow competitors.
Loughborough athletes scooped a number of medals over the weekend, with our fourth individual gold medal coming from none other than Loughborough Students Athletics Club (LSAC) chair Sophie Thomas, leading by example with victory in the women’s Shot Putt.
A new PB of 13.55m secured maximum points for Loughborough ahead of Julia Siart from Edinburgh (13.33m). Thomas’ counterpart Michael Wheeler threw exactly 2 metres further with the men’s 7.26kg shot for Loughborough, finishing in third position in the A string.
The women’s long jump provided another substantial points haul for the team as Sophie Wilkins and Jo Whiteway both made the podium, having jumped exactly the same distance of 5.63m after six rounds.
However, Wilkins had the better second distance and so was awarded the silver medal ahead of Whiteway.
The women were also successful on the track, with a silver and bronze medal from Kate Brown in the 3000m and Carolyn Plateau in the 1500m.
Meanwhile the men’s team brought home more medals from the field events with Ben Gregory, Ricardo Twumasi and Matt Devereux all taking bronze medals in the jumps.
Gregory leaped just over the 7m mark in the long jump for only the second time ever indoors, while Twumasi went one step further in the triple jump to record a PB of 15.27m. Devereux beat Gregory into fourth place on countback in the pole vault after both cleared 5.00m.
Niall Flannery secured Loughborough’s final individual bronze medal in the 400m after promising performances in the rounds.
Both the men and women’s relay teams produced performances indicative of the successful weekend experienced by Loughborough athletes overall. Strong runs by all members saw the distinctive African Violet colours first across the line, despite some nerve-racking moments for supporters in the stands.
Both teams retained their title from last year, though there were concerns beforehand that a strong women’s team would be difficult to put together. In the end, an exceptional run in the heats secured the team a third fastest qualification spot against other sprint specific teams, setting the final quartet up spectacularly.
With such results it’s almost unsurprising that Loughborough brought home both the men’s and women’s trophies, yet the club is far less dominant indoors than at BUCS Outdoors.
However, this year Loughborough dominated the weekend finishing with a huge total of 80 points, ahead of Birmingham and Brunel, who scored 47 and 46 points respectively.
The women’s superiority was even more evident with a final score of an incredible 92 points, while Brunel lagged behind with just 48 points and UWIC followed up in third with 43.
A full list of results can be found on the BUCS website.