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Varsity Victory - The Triple Double

The University of Sheffield took two Varsity points as they emerged victorious in both the Men’s and Women’s Athletics, concluding an action-packed day at the English Institute of Sport. The events for this years Varsity had been altered to include non-traditional distances, such as a 600m race and an Elimination Mile, creating variety as well as excitement down on the track.

The Women’s team won by 19 clear points whilst the Men racked up an incredible 94 points to Sheffield Hallam’s 46 by winning nine of the thirteen events. The convincing win for both University of Sheffield teams highlights the progress made under coach Martin Cook, building on a similar display in 2018.

The first event of the evening however went to Hallam, with Amy Hodgson winning the Women’s 60m hurdles. Sam Talbot and Curtis Mitchell ensured first and second for the black and gold in the Men’s race, setting the tone for the rest of the night. Tamsin McGraw comfortably won the Women’s 600m for Hallam, off the back of competing for England in the British Indoor Championships but this was subsequently followed by seven consecutive first and second placed finishes for the University of Sheffield.

Oliver Dane edged Dom Brown in the Men’s 600m whilst Eima Meade powered to victory in the 60m, Track and Field Captain Liam Mcgivern led by example in the 300m with Shea Holloway out battling Hallam’s Lewis Thorn for second. Heather Carson produced late surges in both the Women’s 60m and 300m races to claim victory, before Uni Of’s grip tightened further on the Varsity points through two outstanding runs in the 3000m. Sarah Potter and Michael Bartram commanded their respective races from the front lapping multiple competitors. Hallam eventually broke Uni of’s streak with two valiant victories in the 150m giving them hope of overturning a huge points deficit.

The final individual event of Varsity was the Elimination Mile, in which the last athlete after every lap is cut from the race. A smaller field meant the women’s event was run against the clock, with all three University of Sheffield athletes cruising round. The men’s race was without doubt the highlight of the evening, a flying start set up some electric racing with several sprints to the finish giving the crowd a buzz. Amongst the chaos Dom Brown’s BUCS pedigree ultimately showed, as he coasted to a win, sealing the success of a new event we’ll look forward to seeing again.

The relays concluded the Varsity meet, with Hallam winning a thrilling Women’s 4x200m taking the lead on the last lap, the black and gold took the Men’s in what became more of a race against the clock. In the 4x400m mixed relay Mcgraw and Thorn ensured Hallam were triumphant, the University of Sheffield looked slightly fatigued and notable credit must go to Heather Carson who was running in her fourth event.

On the field Sheffield Hallam prevailed in the Men’s Triple Jump, Pole Vault and Long Jump, only denied a clean sweep by Ben Clarke and Thomas Hughes. Who set a joint club record of 1.97m in the High Jump for Uni of, with Clarke winning on countback. The points were split evenly in the Women’s events with Hallam taking the Pole Vault and Long Jump whilst the University of Sheffield’s Annabelle Pask won the Triple and High Jump.

Both Universities put on some immense performances, with the variety in events creating a great atmosphere at the indoor track. Harry Russell, University of Sheffield’s Club Vice-Captain, said ‘both uni’s can be really proud of their performances and it was great to have so much support at the track on such a busy day at the EIS, I’d just like to thank Martin Cook for giving up so much of his time to coach us and for always cheering us on’. After an excellent 2019 Varsity both sets of competitors will now look to BUCS outdoors in May with confidence.

Article - Jack Williamson, Forge

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