SOUTHAMPTON AC’s 15-year-old rising star Lucy-Jane Matthews has surged to the top of the European Under-18 women’s 100m hurdles rankings.

It follows a winning performance in the senior girls’ heptathlon at the Somerset Schools Championships held at Millfield School.

Lucy-Jane, who attends St Edmunds school in Salisbury, was up against women two and three years her senior. But she took the opportunity to compete over the U18 specifications to be contested at the European Youth Championships in Hungary in early July.

In her very first race over the distance, she recorded a rapid 13.69 seconds in the first of the seven events, the 100m hurdles.

It places her in the UK all-time U18 age-group top ten, top of the European rankings and eighth in the world - albeit very early in the season.

The time is also inside the 13.80 qualifying standard set by UK athletics for the European Youth Championships. The GB team, made up of young athletes born in 2001 and 2002, will be selected in June.

Lucy-Jane went on to take the heptathlon title with a score of 4,979 points, which also included personal bests in the 200m and 800m.

“It was great to come away with the win in my first heptathlon, but even better to achieve a European Youth Championships qualifying standard in the hurdles so early in the season,” she smiled.