Craughwell AC Hails New National Champion!!
It was a fantastic weekend for Maria McNamara in the National U17 Indoor Pentathlon on Saturday when she recorded an incredible 4 personal bests to win the National title with an impressive points total of 2790 points.
This was almost 400 points better than she had recorded the previous weekend in the National Junior Pentathlon which doubled up as a training session for this event.
Also in action, Katie O'Donoghue, Damien O'Boyle, Sinead Treacy, Ellen Treacy and Tara McNally also had some exceptional performances with lots of top 6 finishing places.
In the U18 girls, Katie was competing at this level for the first time and did exceptionally well to record a score of 2248 points with PBs in the long jump (4.22m), shot putt (7.04m) and high jump (1.44m) together with good times in the hurdles (11.77) and 800m 2.39.49 – an indoor PB. Katie's performance in the high jump was particularly impressive where she scissored 1.44m and had to pull out due to a niggle in her knee – great potential with a little more practise.
In the U15 boys, Damien O'Boyle was very very impressive across the full range of events despite having focussed almost exclusively on cross-country training for the last few months. Damien ran 11.15 for the hurdles, jumped 4.14m in the long jump and a huge 1.45m in the high jump, with 7.48m in the shot putt and 2.23.06 in his strongest event the 800m. These performances put Damien into 5th place overall with a points total of 2566 points. It is only a matter of time before Damien lands a National medal in the multi-events as this performance came off the back of very little practise in the technical events.
In the U15 girls, cousins Sinead and Ellen Treacy had some fine performances also with Sinead taking 6th place with 1974 points and Ellen in 12th with 1311 points. Sinead recorded 11.54 in the hurdles, 4.07m in the long jump, 5.34m in the shot putt, 1.31m in the high jump (her first time ever jumping!) and 2.41.99 in the 800m; while Ellen recoredd 12.24 in the hurdles, 3.37m in the long jump, 4.04m in the shot putt, 1.28m in the high jump and 3.13.76 in the 800.
In the U14 girls, Tara McNally made her debut in multi-events with a very impressive performace to take 5th place with 2098 points. Tara ran 11.08m for the hurdles, jumped an excellent 4.27m in the long jump, got 7.00m in the shot, 1.37m in the high jump and 2.57.62 in the 800m.
Getting back to the highlight of the day – Maria's performance. Long jump was the first event of the day for her. On her first jump, Maria leaped 4.54m but was a bit back from the board. She improved to 4.60m on her second effort and then put in a big effort on the final jump to leap to an indoor PB of 4.85m just 2cm short of her outdoor PB.
Almost straight into the hurdles, Maria took 4th place with a time of 10.58 to possibly put her 2nd or 3rd in the competition at this point. As it turned out, Maria was just warming up for the day's action with these performance – with some extra special efforts to come. The shot putt was up next and on her first attempt Maria threw it over 8m for the first time with a big throw of 8.10m. Her second attempt wasn't as good at 6.84m but the third was right up there again at 8.12m.
An official summary of the current results was announced at this point with Maria in 2nd place by only a handful of points.
The high jump was called next where Maria joined the competition at 1.41m and leaped cleanly over 1.41m, 1.44m, 1.47m and 1.50m, with the bar wobbling a little at 1.47 and 1.50m. Pulling her mark back slightly, Maria sailed over 1.53m and then got 1.56m with a fantastic leap to record a new PB. Down to 2 jumpers at this stage, Maria's confidence was sky high as she attacked the 1.59m height with venon, leaping a perfect jump to record yet another PB on the day and a 4cm improvement on her previous PB of 1.55m. Maria made 3 excellent attempts at the next height of 1.62m, getting over it but dropping her legs on it each time. So 1.62m proved a height too far on this occasion but after 8 clean jumps at this point, it was exceptional jumping and hard to expect a 9th clean jump.
With a clear lead of over 200 points going into the final event, Maria was assured of gold barring a disaster in the 800m. The first lap of the 800m was ran at an easy pace of 43.6 seconds, following by a 2nd lap of 44.0 – with Maria placed just on the shoulder of the leading athlete who was in 2nd place in the overall scoring. With 550m gone, the group were still pretty much together when Maria accelerated to almost a full sprint with 250m to go. Blazing around the track, Maria clocked up an incredible last lap of 33.1 seconds to put almost 100m between her and her opponents over that final 250m and record a PB of 2.43.57. Over that final 250m, Maria put almost 15 seconds between her and her nearest competitor – an unbelievable finish and one that bodes very well for Maria's potential in the 800m.
So all in all, it was a very satisfactory day in Nenagh with one National title, one 4th place finish, two 5th place finishes, one 6th place and one 12th place. The victory for Maria in the U17 pentathlon was a great reward for alot of hard work which Maria had put in at training over the last few years and particularly the last 4 months.