November was a winning month for BUAC, UoB’s Athletics and Cross Country club, Joe Liddicot finds out more about their success
Athletics is a sport that never stops, as Summer turns to Winter, outdoors goes indoors, and cross country runners emerge from their hibernation. Birmingham University Athletics Club (BUAC) have had a busy few weeks, storied by success and, as ever, vociferous support.
On track, BUAC travelled south to Cardiff for their first match of the season this week (Wednesday 30/11). They battled it out against Cardiff Met, triumphing thanks to stellar and selfless performances across the board. The victory marked a second successive win in the annual indoor competition in the South of Wales.
Sprinter Joe Foster, a third year student currently balancing a year in industry with his training commitments, remarked that Wednesday’s event “sets us (BUAC) up for a good year”. Individually, Foster had a fantastic afternoon. Besting his PB in the 60m and 300m, winning the A race in the latter event, an effort that tallied key points onto the Lions’ total for the day.
Esteemed hammer thrower Sam Clifton won man of the match for his committed performances in unfamiliar disciplines. He competed in the 60m, long jump and shot put on Wednesday, collecting invaluable points for Birmingham and displaying a crucial winning attitude.
Grace Majer earned herself woman of the match thanks to brilliant performances in the 60m, 300m and women’s relay – which the Lions won. The first year student from Canada made an instant impact in her first event with Birmingham, and will be hoping to carry her good form into 2023.
Irrespective of the strong performances on track, it is the atmosphere on the sidelines that truly indicates the camaraderie and positive energy within the club. Over the last few years BUAC has become renowned for its passionate support – which is widely regarded as the best in the University athletics scene – and Wednesday was no different. All athletes donned the famous tricolour face paint, while Foster went the extra mile in dyeing his Movember moustache in the iconic red, yellow and blue tints of UoB. It is not spurious to suggest that the frenzied support on the sidelines plays a large role in the success of the athletes competing. Lions roaring on fellow Lions to give an extra push, laughing in the face of lactic.
Off the track and onto the grass, BUAC’s cross country athletes have enjoyed a similarly positive month. The squad headed to Mansfield early in November to compete in the National XC Relays. The junior women’s team propped up the podium with an excellent 3rd place finish, while their male counterparts achieved a strong 6th place in the event. The senior teams finished 18th and 21st respectively, they face a different challenge altogether in these events. Competing against some of the biggest names in the cross country scene, and are regularly among the youngest in the senior age group.
A week after Mansfield, BUAC XC kicked off their campaign in the Birmingham League, a series of four races against various universities and clubs in the Birmingham area. The Lions enjoyed their best start to the competition in years. Mia Atkinson won the women’s race, and was joined on the podium by Elsa Palmer, who finished 3rd. Right behind them came Rosie Hamilton-Jones and Abby Rex, 4th and 5th respectively. An immense effort by UoB’s women to fill out four of the top five spots and prove their credentials in the Birmingham League.
For the men, there were similarly impressive performances. Michael Ward and Tomer Tarragano earned 2nd and 3rd respectively, while Brett Rushman and Elliot Moran also secured top ten finishes. In that race, half of the top 30 finishers were either BUAC or ex-BUAC, highlighting the constant stream of talent coming through the UoB athletics programme.
One of the biggest events of the season came at the end of November as the cross country club travelled up to Liverpool for a highly anticipated race. The top six in both the junior and senior races would earn a place in the GB squad at the European Championships in December. Will Barnicoat comfortably won the junior race and subsequently secured a seat on the plane to Turin for the Championships. Joining him will be Tomer Tarragano, who finished 4th place in the u23 category to earn himself the privilege of representing Great Britain in Turin. Meanwhile, Axel Christensen, the Danish fresher, finished 7th in the senior race despite being a junior – proving his talents as the reigning U20 European XC champion. Whether it be on track, on grass, or on the sidelines, BUAC has enjoyed an exceptionally strong start to the 22/23 season. And there’s no doubt that there will be more to shout about in the new year.
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