Overseas Sunderland Harriers are making the grade while on USA scholarships
Three Sunderland Harriers who departed to USA on athletics scholarships have been rewarded with impressive results during their time there.
Middle distance runners Oliver James, Michael Wilson and Jessica Fox have all achieved personal bests in their events.
James and Fox are studying at McNeese State University at Lake Charles, Louisiana and Wilson is at New Mexico State University.
James enrolled at McNeese in 2014 and during his time there he has improved on all his previous best times over all distances.
His 800m time has now come down to 1.51.95, 1,500m: 3.46.81, one mile indoors: 4.10.71, 3,000m indoors: 8.19.16, and 5,000m indoors: 14.54.11.
James times over 800m and 1,500m places him sixth and third respectively on the Harriers’ all-time ranking lists.
At home on his Christmas holidays he gave a glimpse of his improved form when he won the North Eastern Harrier League race at Herrington Country Park and clocked the overall fastest time.
His next local appearance could be in the club’s 5km road race, which also includes the Northern and North East Championships, at Silksworth Sports Complex on Thursday, July 12.
Wilson is in his first year at New Mexico State University after moving on from Birmingham University in the Midlands. He is doing a Masters degree in Sport Management.
He clocked 1.48.35 for 800m at Azusa California, to break Gavin Masingham’s long-standing club record (1.48.63).
The Seaham athlete has dipped under the 1.50 bench mark four times this year and also recorded a new PB for 400m of 49.96.
He has progressed to the West Region preliminary rounds of the NCAA Championships which take place in Sacramento, California on Friday.
He is currently ranked No14 in his event and he needs to finish in the top 12 to progress to the NCAA finals in Oregon, June 6-9.
His mother Anne said: “He’s booked his flight, so I’m sure he’ll be doing his best to try and get to those finals.”
On his return home he will compete in the England Athletics Under-23 Championships in Bedford on June 16/17, followed by the British Championships in Birmingham on June 29/30, where he competes over 800m in both events.
Fox has discovered a new event – the 3,000m steeplechase and she has continued to progress over the barriers where she has established a club record of 11.30.34.
The inaugural Houghton Harriers Grand Prix saw Adam Middleton winning the winter 2017/18 series and becoming the first name on the shield.
The first Masters’ track and field meeting of the season took place at Monkton last night.
Sunderland Harriers leading results were: Anna Harris first in the Over-45 long jump (4.36) and Nicola Woodword first in the Over-40s 3000m (10.53.4).
Houghton Harrier Steve Todner (13.8) was beaten to the fastest Over-60 time for the 100m by former professional sprint champion Eric Smart (North Shields) who recorded 13.7 in another heat.
Sunderland Stroller Chris Dwyer finished runner-up (43.22) to Chris Snowball (42.37) in the Derwent Reservoir Trail race.
Sunderland Harrier Under-15 Dillon Revell was second (20.26) to Durham City Harrier Joshua Wraith (20.01) in the Raby Castle 5km. Katie Francis (Birtley) was third (20.33) and first girl.
There are four events taking place in the North East tonight being headed by the North Eastern Grand Prix at Monkton (7.00).
The highlight will be the graded 800m for the Jimmy Hedley trophy. Athletes must register by 6.50pm.
The Clive Cookson Cup 10km hosted by North Shields Poly takes place at Whitley Bay tonight (7.15pm).
The George Ogle Memorial multi-terrain race is on at Swalwell (7.15pm), while the Run Vindolanda 10km (7.30pm) completes the quartet.
Sunderland Harriers stage their 28th Penshaw Hill Race next Wednesday (7.15pm). Entries close on Saturday and you can enter online @ sportsoft race results.