Wilson eyes success at North East Counties Championships

Michael Wilson.
Michael Wilson.
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Sunderland Harrier Michael Wilson targets an ambitious middle distance double in the North East Counties Championships at Gateshead over the weekend.

The 19-year-old Seaham athlete competes in the junior men (under-20) 800m and 1500m on Saturday and Sunday.

He defends the 800m title he won in a then personal best of 1.52.83 and also goes in a rare challenge for the 1500m crown.

Since competing first as an under-13 in 2008 and winning the 800m in 2.20.05, Wilson has added five further 800m titles to his name, only missing out as a first year under-17.

On Sunday, he will be going for his hat-trick of under-20 800m titles, while in the 1500m he will be gunning for only his second victory on Saturday. He won the under-15 title in 4.28.74 in 2010.

But, to be fair to Wilson, he contested the 1500m rarely in later years, through concentrating on the 800m. He now has personal bests for 800m 1.52.01 (2014) and 1500m 3.54.87 (2015).

The Birmingham University student set his 1500m best in the British Students championships at Bedford when finishing ninth in the final earlier this month.

His fastest 800m time for the year came in the Welsh indoor 800m senior championship when finishing second in 1.53.74.

But he suffered a dip in form over the same distance in the British Milers’ Club Grand Prix at Stretford on Saturday night when he could only finish seventh in the C race (1.54.82).

His main rival in the 800m could be Tynedale Harrier and fellow Birmingham student Jonathan Currie, who finished third in the E race at Stretford in 1.54.93.

The two day North East Championship starts at 10am on both days with the junior men’s 1500m final due to go off at 12.05 on Saturday and the 800m heats at 12.25 on Sunday.

In the North East Grand Prix at Monkton, Morpeth under-20 Ryan Green won the Jimmy Hedley Memorial 800m (1.56.2) and Sunderland Harrier Sparrow Morley was third (1.57.8).

Sunderland winners included Jessica Fox, junior women’s 3000m (11.14.2), Sean Mackie under-17s 800m (2.09.2) and Reece Carroll under-17 high jump 1.45.

Houghton Harriers’ youngsters were in fine form with wins from under-15 Eva Hardie 800m (2.32.1) and under-13s Henry Johnson – 800m (2.19.8), Matthew Lumb – high jump (1.20), Ellie Patterson – hurdles (12.3) and Philippa Ellis - shot (7.20).

After two fixtures, Sunderland Harriers have senior man Phil McCluskey at the top of the grand prix and under-17 Reece Carroll is also at the head of his age group.

Houghton Harriers under-19s Ben Mitchell and Michelle Hahn top their grand prix tables. Matthew Lumb and Philippa Ellis top the under-13s leagues.