THE Leeds University Athletics team was one of many Northern universities to compete in the Steel Cup Competition on Wednesday. Other competitors such as Leeds Beckett, Sheffield Hallam and Loughborough promised a day of tough rivalry for the Gryphons, however team spirits were high and everyone was excited to kick off the indoor season.
Held at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, it was one of the first indoor competitions of the year for many athletes and Leeds got off to a strong start in the women’s 60m heats, as Sophie Money took second place with a joint-personal best time of 8.10 seconds. Gussie Beech, who ran an indoor personal best of 8.73 seconds and gained third place, gave an impressive performance in what was only her second indoor competition. Zoë Thresher also took third place in the last of the 60m heats, running 8.63 seconds and banking her first time for an indoor 60m race.
The men were shortly faced with the 200m heats in which both Jake Sanderson and Ben Webster participated in their first competitive indoor race yet. Sanderson’s powerful run gained him an impressive time of 29.19 seconds. Money continued the victory streak with her new indoor personal best of 26.40 in the 200m which she described to be ‘a good confidence booster in the run-up to BUCS’. Thresher also marked a first indoor time of 28.42 seconds but believes there is a lot of room for improvement. Despite the nerves, Gemma Brown ran an impressive 29.47 seconds and showed good form throughout the race earning her a well-deserved third place. The women continued to place in the top three as Beech stole second place with a time of 29 seconds. The pleasing performances from the women 200m runners left the team hopeful for a slick 4x200m relay at the end of the day.
Will Snook flew past athletes from Northumbria and Sheffield Hallam University and gained first place in the 400m heats with a time of 49.40 seconds whilst Dan Bala also bagged a time of 55.87 seconds. Despite Leeds’ successes and standout performances from the likes of Snook and Money, the competition was still strong with only the relays left to go.
The men initially got off to a positive start in the 4x200m. However, an unfortunate misjudgment during the baton handover between legs three and four left the men’s team disqualified from the race. Brown set off the first leg of the women’s 4x200m comfortably and handed over to Money, who pulled Leeds up into a strong second position. Despite this, Leeds Beckett were too strong to be reckoned with as Leeds dropped back slightly into third place. However, Beech on third leg and Thresher on fourth leg were able to maintain this position through to the finish line and were pleased to get the baton around the track without any crashes.
President Ed Hall rounded off the day saying that ‘we had some encouraging performances from the team which we are looking to build on for BUCS Nationals in a couple of weeks. We are really proud of the athletes and excited at the prospects of what LUUAC could achieve this year’.
Featured image: Zoë Thresher