The weather may have been damp and dismal but the quality of athletics on display at the Anglian Schools meeting at the Embankment on Saturday was top notch.
The meeting, featuring the cream of the young crop in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, was a warm-up meeting for the big English Schools Championships in Gateshead next month.
Several athletes were still trying to attain All England qualifying times and distances while others who had already reached the entry standard used the meeting to test their mettle against the best from three other counties.
And based on the evidence of some of Saturday’s performances, a handful of our local track and field stars will be big contenders in Gateshead come July 10 and 11.
Hannah Molyneaux from Nene Valley Harriers won the Under 15 girls shot putt at the English Schools last year in Birmingham even though she was only 13 and she looks good for gold again in the same age group.
She’s a year older and a year stronger and was well over three metres clear of her rivals when winning on Saturday with a putt of 13.76m.
Competing for Lincolnshire, the Geoff Capes-trained youngster won the English Schools crown 12 months ago with 12.85m. She has a massive personal best (PB) of 14.15m.
Molyneaux also won the discus on Saturday by an eight-metre margin and her winning throw of 31.50m is also well within the qualifying distance.
Another Lincolnshire athlete coached by Capes is Robbie Shaw, also from Nene Valley Harriers, and the Bourne Grammar School student is also in good nick.
He comfortably won the senior boys shot with 14.52m and will be hoping to make the podium again in Gateshead. Last year he was a bronze medallist in the intermediate boys age group.
Other throwers from Nene Valley to hit a winning note included Lydia Church in the intermediate girls shot, just beyond the qualifying mark with 11.03m, and Kai Harrison in the junior boys discus.
On the track the brightest prospect could be Lincolnshire sprinter William Hughes. He breezed to victory in the junior boys 100m and 200m in qualifying times of 11.48 and 22.51 respectively.
Elsewhere for Lincolnshire and Harriers, Megan Ellison was a winner in the intermediate girls 800m in a qualifying time of 2:17.19 and Rosie Fresen excelled in awful conditions in the intermediate girls pole vault.
She won with a new personal best of 3.11m, relegating Cambridgeshire favourite Holly Brown into second spot with 3.05m.
The English Schools qualifying height is 3.05m.
Megan Sims and Josh Akinwumi both caught the eye for Cambs with wins in hurdles races while other local winners included Jamelia Smith, Alex Hampson, Ollie Bowling, Ashley Sandall, Jake Richardson, Ellie Mae-Stokes, Rosie Marshall and Elysia Costanzo.