The Mancunion takes a look at the prospects for the Athletics and Cross Country clubs in 2017
The Athletics indoor season begun with the first open meeting being held early December in Manchester. A lot of the athletes use these competitions as warm-up events for the indoor season highlight: BUCS indoors. This is a championship competition where all the universities in the UK come together and compete across a range of disciplines, provided they can be held indoors. Indoors BUCS is being held in Sheffield on the 17th-19th February.
The University of Manchester club is expected to have one of their best performances ever in terms of BUCS points. This is thanks to the club’s four scholarship athletes who are all expected to medal this year at BUCS. Four is the most the Athletics club have had for some time, provided they do all compete at BUCS. The highlight of the outdoor season is BUCS outdoor Championships which is to be held on the May Bank Holiday weekend in Bedford.
The four scholarship athletes boast remarkable profiles. Seren Bundy-Davies, a fourth year Biomedical student, competed in the Rio Olympic Games in the 400m. She also finished her 2016 outdoor season and ranked third overall (as a senior) in the 400m. Her time clocking in at 51.26 seconds. Bundy-Davies was also runner-up at the British Championships in June 2016, as well as runner-up at BUCS outdoors in 2014. She could potentially run at BUCS this year although it remains to be seen whether she opts to focus on the World Championships in London.
Naomi Ogbeta, an 18-year-old fresher studying Politics and Social Anthropology, is currently on the TASS scholarship programme. A talented Triple Jumper with a PB of 12.99m, she is set to compete at the indoor and outdoor BUCS, aiming for the top three. Ogbeta represented Great Britain in 2015 at the World Youth Championships and in 2016 won the English Championships at U20 level, as well as the English Schools Championship in 2014. Ogbeta capped off a good year finishing the 2016 season ranked 1st at U20 level and 7th as a senior. She will be competing this year at U20 level.
The 2015-2016 season Men’s Athletics Captain, Jerome McIntosh, was the Northern Indoor Senior Champion 2016 in the 200m with a PB of 21.91s. He just missed out on a medal at the BUCS indoors championships in 2016 as he finished in 4th place and finished in 7th at the outdoor BUCS championships. However, McIntosh was a BUCS indoor 4x200m relay bronze medallist in 2015 and is hoping to medal in the 200m at BUCS indoors this year.
Jenny Robbins boasts a Pole Vault PB of 3.75m and was a BUCS indoor bronze medallist in 2016, whilst in the 2015 BUCS outdoors she also won a bronze medal. In the England Athletics Championships at U23 level she again won a bronze medal in 2015. Set to compete at BUCS indoors and outdoors in 2017, this time she is aiming for the silver or even the gold.
For the Cross Country club, there was a great showing at the Edinburgh University Braid Hill XC race. The Men’s team came 1st in the 5k and 3rd in the 10k. The women’s team also came 3rd in the 10k. A special mention goes to Beth Ansell who was a finalist at the 2016 BUCS outdoors. Gemma Kersey, a GB international, recently joined the club, so things are looking bright for the future.