Angus Harrington, Men’s Captain 2021-22
18 Dec 2021
Report of the Men's Freshers Varsity Match
November is not a typical time of the year to be doing athletics. Generally, you won’t see a sprinter or field event athlete training in fewer than 3 layers past September and the slightly hardier souls of the distance runners tend to be playing in the mud by that point. However, despite this, 25 Cambridge men strolled into Wilberforce Road on Saturday 6 November, with one task. The team had no gaps and even a surplus in some events, remarkably including the Pole Vault. However, following two Summers of disrupted competition, many were a little rusty when it comes to a head-to-head battle on the track or field.
In the sprints, we had Henry Lawes doubling in the 100 and 200, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively. He ran a strong 12.0 seconds in the 100, which in the middle of Winter shows he has promise for the outdoor season in the new year. Harry was backed up in the 100m by second year engineer, Satoki Shimamune (12.4) and Alex Kusztyk in the 200m (26.5), both John’s boys.
The 400m yielded a high-quality race, with the 3 athletes that finished, recording times only separated by 1.4 seconds. Rather unsurprisingly an Oxford man failed to complete the distance, citing a slight injury, however more likely finding a full lap a bit too much for him or hitting the shandies too hard the night prior. Isaac Parker a 51 man at his best, came round in first place in 53.2 and Lucca Martins, a man who hasn’t trained for 400m for several years, backed him up with a strong third in 54.6.
The middle-distance group has come on leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, with athletes now training under Phil O’Dell, including Irish Olympian Shanahan and England international J Dempsey to name but a few. This year’s fresh cohort continued this trend. In the 800m we had fresher Adam Dray and fresh-ish master’s student Cillian Doherty, both with PB’s a hairs width outside the blues standard of 1:53. Adam ran a tactical masterpiece, pipping in front of a former 1:50 man from Oxford. Cillian, who was suffering from a chest infection, valiantly made it round in a close 3rd. Adam then took a short cool down jog, or maybe another warmup, before toeing the line in the 1500 just 45 mins after and winning again. Alex Burns backed him up although was reportedly in cross-country mode and finished the 3.75 laps confused as to why it was already over.
Speaking of cross-country, two men Alex Beeston and Tom Spencer (former international mountain runner), had to be persuaded to churn round the tartan over the 3000m, instead of some mud and hills. They struggled against 2 strong Oxford runners but were both commendable performances.
Hurdles is often a struggle to fill in this match, however we had a full suite of athletes. 1st year James Elderfield, who has been training to get over the full adult 110m height recently, sailed over the conveniently lower U20 hurdles to get a strong win. He was backed up nicely with a 3rd by Modern Pentathlete Ben Turner, who was running in spikes for the first time. Harry Antill, off the back of his recent great court run victory, stormed to 1st place in the 400mh in trainers, his first time ever running this event, and even gave the Oxford boys a little wave as he crossed the line. Tall man Tom Fryers backed him up.
Our heavy throws were handled nicely by 4 men. Doing 3 we had Alex Blake-Martin who won the discus with 29m and came 3rd and 4th in the Shot and Hammer respectively, both tight competitions. Fresher Kerem Mumyakmaz rectified his self-confessed disappointing performance in cuppers the week before with a close win in the Hammer, drifting it out over 27m. James Goh, doing the discus high Jump double, finished 3rd in the discus with 27.96m. Finally, James Carey put in a nice putt with 8.16m.
In the jumps section, we had Seb Mobus and Pawel Grab doing both of the horizontal jumps. They finished 1st and 2nd in the Long Jump, with both nearing 6m with 5.73m and 5.68m respectively. Pawel snuck 2nd off the Oxford man on countback. Their dominance wasn’t quite mirrored in the triple jump placing 2nd and 4th but scoring strongly together overall. The High Jump competition was dominated by Cambridge, with Ashir Sharjeel winning in 1.68m and James Goh in second with 1.63m. The Pole Vault was controlled by experienced man, Lucas Mordue in 3.20m. We had two men new to the event, Kyle van der Spuy and Jacob Watts, both recording 2.20m backing up in 3rd place.
The Javelin was one of the last events to come in. At this point the scores were very tight, and so every place mattered. Launching the shaft out to a huge new PB, Dom Wells crushed the competition with 47m, possibly the turning point for our team overall. Aussie Alex Myhill threw well with 39m but was marginally pipped by the Oxford lads and so finished 4th.
The first relay was the 4x100m. Our team of Henry Lawes, Satoki Shimamune, Lucas Mordue and Alex Kusztyk faced a tall order. The chemistry in the team was potentially still building in the squad, however the boys got the baton round in a close second.
Oxford appeared to still have dreams of an overall men’s win leading into the 4x400m, however those dreams were a) mistaken and b) shortly crushed by our team, who put the nail in the coffin with a win, leading to our big overall victory of 100 points to Oxfords 89. The baton was carried around by Cillian Doherty, Isaac Parker, Alex Kuszytk and Adam Dray. Adam received athlete of the match, as this win cemented his 3rd gold of the day.
This FVM win puts the already strong men’s team in a great position leading into the new year. I hope you are all as excited as I to see a great season of athletics, and hopefully a lot of teary Oxford athletes.