SOUTHAMPTON AC’s under-13 and under-15 athletes were within a whisker of making history over the weekend.

Bidding to become the first team to successfully defend the UK Youth Development League title, they fell agonisingly short in the national final at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium.

Having led throughout the competition, Southampton eventually wound up third, just 7.5 points adrift of winners Sale Harriers and 4.5 points behind runners-up Blackheath & Bromley.

Those three were a class apart from the other five in the country’s leading team competition for young athletes.

Southampton excelled in the technical events, dominating in the field and over the hurdles.

A-string victories were recorded by Wilf McKenzie (sprint hurdles), Callum Gregson (U15B high jump), Oliver Thatcher (U15B shot put), Bradley Jenvey (U15B javelin pb), Lara Scott (U15G high jump), Anna Merritt (U15G hammer & discus), Billy Goodridge (sprint hurdles PB), Grace Colmer (sprint hurdles pb & high jump pb), Olivia Austin (shot put) and Jasmine Larsen (javelin).

With the exception of the hurdles, wins were much harder to come by on the track with Ben Brown (U13B 1500m) being the sole winner.

B-string victories came courtesy of Gregson (sprint hurdles pb), Harry Thompson (U15B high jump), Bradley Jenvey (shot put), Ettie Hammond (U15G sprint hurdles), Jess Bennett (U15G hammer pb), Travis Scottow (U13B shot put), Ruben Ormesher (U13B javelin), Gracie Jenvey (U13G shot put) and Megan Hulbert (U13G javelin).

There were a plethora of other podium finishes as the club demonstrated its strength in depth across all events.

Also taking home A-string medals for the red and white stripes were Jack McDonald (3rd U15B 300m), Tommy Brammer (3rd U15B 1500m pb), Riley Woodman (3rd U15B long jump), Thatcher (3rd pole vault PB), Bradley Jenvey (2nd hammer pb), Ben Vaughan, McDonald, McKenzie, Finley Ryves (3rd U15 boys sprint relay), McDonald, Gregson, Woodman, Ryves (2nd 4x300m relay), Tabitha Proudley (2nd U15G sprint hurdles), Lucy-Jane Matthews (2nd U15G shot put), Francis Moore (3rd U13B shot put & 2nd javelin pb), and Colmer (long jump).

B-string podium finishes were achieved by McKenzie (3rd 100m), Gregson (3rd long jump), Vaughan (pole vault), Emily Eades-Scott (3rd U15G 100m), Jasmyn Allen (2nd U15G 200m), Isabelle Hinkley (3rd U15G 1500m), Stephanie Moore (high jump), Goodridge (long jump), Poppy Shroff (3rd U13G long jump) and Gracie Jenvey (high jump).

Other young athletes who put in tremendous performances and contributed valuable points were: Harry Crosby (U15B 800m), Nolan Holloway (U15B 1500m), Zak Withey (U15B hammer & discus), Lana Blake (U15G 200m, long jump & sprint relay), Maisie Jeger (U15G 300m PB shot put & 300m relay,) Grace Griffiths (U15G 300m & 300m relay), Chloe Errington (U15G 800m), Elisha Parham (U15G 800m pb), Madeline Cooper (U15G 1500m pb), Shannon McCosh (U15G pole vault), Lucy Odell (U15G javelin), Henry Brooks (U13B 100m, 200m & relay), Lewis Drake (U13B 200m pb), Lars Feyerabend-Powell (U13B 800m), Theo Abbt (U13B 800m), Alistair Higgins (U13B 1500m), Aidie Purse (U13B high jump pb & sprint hurdles), Zak Balcombe-Betts (U13B relay), Amy Wall (U13G 75m 150m pb & relay), Katie Glasspoole (U13G 75m pb), Katie Youp (U13G 800m), Celia Brabazon (U13G 1200m) and Eve Emm (U13G 1200m).

Result: Sale Harriers 602 points, Blackheath & Bromley AC 599, Southampton AC 594.5, Edinburgh AC 536, Swansea Harriers 484.5, Preston Harriers 477, Havering AC 470, Cardiff Archers 451.