All posts by Sophie Millard

North Somerset AC Off To A Flyer

U13 Girls team in action
U13 Girls team in action

A record 41 Junior athletes represented North Somerset AC at the first Gwent League meeting held in Bridgend on Sunday 12th October. The team was a mixture of debutants (11 athletes were competing for the first time) and more experienced athletes and it was the youngest age group, the Under 11’s, that got the season underway.

Seven U11 boys lined up in a large field of 112 athletes. All ran well in a fast run race with particularly promising performances from Guy Owen who finished in 23rd place closely followed by Dan Whitehead in 32nd place. Louie Brunsdon, Will Maine, Ted Deakin, Adam Smith and Luke Ashurst can all be proud of their debuts and it will be interesting to follow the progress of this group as they gain more race experience.

Gwent1_1MB_(2_of_9)Six U11 girls lined up in a very competitive race and with four top 30 finishes from Charlotte Sidwell 7th, Ruby Owen 12th, Connie Ballentine 15th and Alice Bridger-Moralis 23rd the future looks very bright in this age group. Stephanie Brooks and Matilda Ballentine finishing halfway through another very large field of runners completed the team.

The six U13 boys were an equal mix of experienced athletes and newcomers and it was the 2013 U11 Gwent League champion, Sam Gentry, who led from gun to tape for a very impressive victory. He was followed by newcomer Alex Collins in 12th place and Ollie Lock, making his debut in this age group, in 13th place. Another newcomer ‘Jamie Carroll’ finished strongly in a creditable 25th place. Ryan Burton with a terrific final 300 metres and debutant Daniel Nutting having a sound run completed the team. A top three team prize looks to be realistic target for this age group if they continue to perform well in future races.

The eight U13 girls were also a mix of experienced and inexperienced athletes and it was two of the experienced athletes, Lucy Maine and Rosie Whitehead, who led the team home. Both girls recorded their first top 10 Gwent League finishes with Lucy in 6th place and Rosie in 7th, it promises to be an exciting season for the two girls. Maisie Squire, a newcomer to cross country, was next home in 44th place and with promising performances from the Soper sisters ‘Maddie and Ruby’ with the Smith sisters ‘Lauren and Kerrin’ this age group this looks a team to watch out for in future races.

Only 4 boys contested the always highly competitive Under 15 boy’s race but they produced four highly competitive performances that auger well for the future. Matt Hogg followed up his breakthrough season on the track with a first top 10 Gwent League finish in 5th place. Jaylan Bacon and Callum Smith, both making their debuts in this age group, finished in very promising 17th and 24th positions respectively. Not to be outdone, Euan Campbell produced his best Gwent League finish in 29th position. With some reinforcements from other Under 15 boys in the club this age group could challenge for team honours by the end of the season.

The six Under 15 girls representing the club included four medallists from the previous two years Midland and National Road Relays so hopes were high for some prominent performances. The girls didn’t disappoint in recording five top 20 finishes and a highly promising return to racing following a long injury layoff from last year’s Gwent League U13 individual Silver medallist Olivia Burton.

Alice Davies led the race at a tremendous pace until part way through the second lap before the pace told and she finished a close up 4th. The other girls packed well throughout the first lap before moving through the field on the second lap. Lauren Ashurst recorded her first Gwent League top 10 finish in 9th place closely followed by Hattie Emery in 11th place and, not to be outdone, Sara Flower and Lizzie Plews finished in the top 20 in 17th and 18th positions respectively. Running a superb race after missing most of the track season with injury, Olivia Burton crossed the line fit and well in 25th place.

With four of the girls in their first year in this age group this looks a formidable team for the foreseeable future.

Three boys competed in the joint Under17/Under 20 age group run over a strength sapping 6K and all performed with great promise. First home in 14th place was Joe Gentry who is in his first year in the Under 17 age group. He was followed in 23rd place by David Warnes who was hampered by a foot injury. Debutant Mike Proffitt was close behind in a highly creditable 25th place. These were tremendous performances in what is always a very tough race when the age groups are combined.

James Rodgers in the senior mens race brought his fine form from recent road events into the cross country. He ran strongly from the off and finished in a superb 10th place from a very strong field of over 350 runners in a race that included the South, West and East Wales XC Championships. Triathlete Llewellyn Holmes finished only 30 seconds behind Rodgers with a very impressive 20th place finish, but injuries and unavailability of several top athletes from Steve Holliers senior group was a blow to the team securing maximum points on this occasion.

The final athlete to compete was Angharad Flower who although eligible to compete in the combined Under17/Under20 girl’s race elected to run in the Senior Ladies event and finished in an excellent 90th place.

Congratulations to all the athletes who competed. The next cross country fixture is the Bristol Cross at Ashton Court on 25th October.

Full U11B results: Guy Owen 23rd, Dan Whitehead 32nd, Louie Brunsdon 50th, William Maine 65th, Adam Smith 71st,, Luke Ashurst 73rd, Ted Deakin 111th.

Full U11G results: Charlotte Sidwell 7th, Ruby Owen 12th, Connie Ballentine 15th,  Alice Bridger-Moralis 23rd, Stephanie Brooks 53rd, Matilda Ballentine 70th.

Full U13B results: Sam Gentry 1st, Alex Collins 12th,  Ollie Lock 13th,   Jamie Carroll 25th, Ryan Burton 58th, Daniel Nutting 86th.

Full U13G results: Lucy Maine 6th Rosie Whitehead 7th Maisie Squire 44th Elleanor Atwell 71st Ruby Soper 72nd Madeleine Soper 73rd Kerrin Smith 83rd Lauren Smith 96th

Full Under 15B results: Matt Hogg 5th, Jaylan Bacon 17th, Callum Smith 24th, Euan Campbell 29th,

Full Under 15G results: Alice Davies 4th,, Lauren Ashurst 9th, Hattie Emery 11th, Sara Flower 17th, Lizzie Plews 18th, Olivia Burton 25th.

Full Under 17B results: Joe Gentry 14th, David Warnes 23rd, Mike Proffitt 25th.

Senior Ladies result: Angharad Flower 90th.





National Road Relay Championships results

North Somerset AC athletes perform on the big stage

North Somerset AC athletes made the return journey to Sutton Park, Birmingham on Sunday 5 October to compete against the best from the North and South of England in the National Road Relay Championships. With over 1,000 athletes competing and 40+ in each age group this competition represented a considerable step up from the Midland Road Relay Championships in which the North Somerset AC had acquitted themselves so well.

First up were the Under 13 Girls led out by Lucy Maine. In one of the standout performances of the day Lucy ran an incredible 42 seconds faster than previously and handed over in 20thplace. Rosie Whitehead took over and despite running in the traditionally ‘slower’ 2nd leg and with a stitch, still managed to improve her previous time by 8 seconds and moved the team up to 16th place. Newcomer Maisie Squire, running in this type of competition for the first time, produced a performance filled with promise to finish in 20th position in a field of 49 teams. Lucy’s efforts were rewarded with the 35th fastest time from a field of 158 athletes

Next up were the Under 13 Boys and once again Sam Gentry produced a sparkling first leg handing over in a close up 7th place. Alex Collins took over and running 23 seconds faster than he had at the Midland Championships, moved the team up to 5th position. Not to be outdone, and bottom of the age group Ollie Lock ran 36 seconds faster than he had at the Midland Championships and brought the team home in 6th place in a field of 46 teams. This was a tremendous performance by all three boys with Sam and Alex recording the 12th and 24thfastest times respectively in this age group from a field of 155 athletes.

The action continued unabated as 66 Under 15 Girls teams lined up in the largest field of the day. North Somerset AC entered two teams in this age group with Alice Davies leading off the A team. 14 mins 22 seconds later Alice brought the A team home in 10th Sara Flower took over from Alice and showing great determination handed over to Hattie Emery in 17th place. By now the field was spread out and despite giving chase and closing the gap Hattie remained in a very creditable 17th place.

The B team was led out by Lauren Ashurst who produced probably the finest performance of her career to date, running 40 seconds faster that at the Midland Championships to hand over in 17th place. Lizzie Plews took over and maintained the pace to come home in 30th place. Unfortunately, due to injuries to other athletes we were unable to field a full B team.

Alice and Lauren produced the 21st and 35th fastest times respectively in this age group from a field of 220 athletes.

The Under 15 Boys team were next to go in what is usually the most competitive age group. Matt Hogg ran the first leg 6 seconds faster than previously and handed over in 33rd place. Callum Smith took over and running 31 seconds faster than previously moved the team up to 31st position. On the anchor leg Jaylan Bacon improved his previous time by 9 seconds but such was the strength of this age group the team remained in 31st position from a field of 55 teams.

The last team to go were the Under 17 Boys led out by Joe Gentry who produced a solid first leg to hand over in 37th place. David Warnes ran strongly and moved the team up 6 places to 31st. Mike Proffitt increased the pace, taking 23 seconds off his Midland Championship time to cross the line in 25th place in a field of 49 teams. Both Joe and David were hampered by injuries picked up playing football so overall this was a good performance to end the day.

So no medals, but 12 of the athletes that ran in the Midland Championships two weeks ago improved their times and all gained valuable experience that they can take into the cross country season.

Team and Individual Finishing positions

U13 Girls – 20th out of 49 teams – 158 athletes competed in this age group

Lucy Maine 35th

Rosie Whitehead 53rd

Maisie Squire =102nd

U13 Boys – 6th out of 46 teams – 155 athletes competed in this age group

Sam Gentry 12th

Alex Collins 24th

Ollie Lock =59th

U15 Girls – 17th out of 66 teams – 220 athletes competed in this age group

Alice Davies 21st

Sara Flower 78th

Hattie Emery 62nd

Lauren Ashurst 35th

Lizzie Plews =128th

U15 Boys – 31st out of 55 teams – 182 athletes competed in this age group

Matt Hogg 71st

Callum Smith 123rd

Jaylan Bacon 114th

U17 Boys – 25th out of 49 teams – 171 athletes competed in this age group

Joe Gentry 72nd

David Warnes 96th

Mike Proffitt 95th


As NSAC and NSAA start to focus more and more on combined events, so the number and quality of athletes at these events starts to show.

In the under-15 girls event, the Avon Team showed its class by finishing 3rd overall. Top NSAC athlete was Emma Bakare in her first year of this competition, a 12th place out of 47 indicates a top 3 place next year a definite possibility. She was disappointed on the day, feeling she slightly under-performed in 3 of the 5 events, but posting a PB in the shot, and equalling her pb in the high jump. Esther Leong finished 31st overall. She too, felt disappointed with her day, however posted a PB in the 800m. This is also Esther’s first year in the event, and I am fairly sure she wouldn’t have expected to be competing in this event 12 months ago!

In the under-17 girls event, Ada’ora Chigbo continued to impress with a 5th place finish. Another disappointed athlete who felt a medal was there for the taking. A pb in the 200m was the highlight of her event and a podium finish is predicted for her in 2015

Well done girls, terrific effort!


The Avon Athletic Association 5k Club Road Relay Championships were held on Sunday 31st August by members of North Somerset Athletic Club at Cleeve Cricket Club and 35 teams from the area’s clubs took part.

The route started around the King George V playing fields before winding around the lanes of Cleeve and Lower Claverham before returning to Cleeve along Bishops Road. Despite much rain in the previous week, Sunday was a beautiful day, creating a wonderful atmosphere for the event.

The day was dominated by teams from Bristol and West AC, as might be expected from a club that regularly wins medals at regional and national level, however there were some excellent performances from the North Somerset club who fielded 6 teams on the day.

The Senior Men’s “A” Team, comprising Josh Dixon, James Rodgers, Cameron Coetzee and Stuart Leaney, were in the lead at the halfway point but eventually came in an excellent 2nd place to Bristol and West, and take away the silver medals. James and Josh posted the second and third fastest leg times respectively. And congratulations to the Under 20 Ladies team, comprising of Kate Constable, Ellie Wallace and Katie Grinyer, who won their age category.

The development of the senior endurance team at North Somerset AC is now being widely recognised within the county and is testament to the quality of Steve Hollier’s coaching. Steve himself was running in the 2nd placed Male Over 50 team and his time of 19:15 was only 8 seconds slower than the fastest time in the category.

Many thanks go to Cleeve Cricket Club for the use of their facilities and to all the North Somerset AC members and their families for their support on the day. For a first time event, everything went extraordinarily well, with unanimously positive feedback from the runners, spectators and officials.


Senior Men: 1 Bristol and West AC 1:05:19, 2 North Somerset AC 1:06:46 (Josh Dixon 16:02, James Rodgers 15:56, Cameron Coetzee 18:02, Stuart Leaney 16:45), 3 Bristol and West AC “B” 1:08:20, 6 North Somerset AC “B” 1:12:52 (Alan Baker 17:44, Llewellyn Holmes 18:10, Steve Parker 19:38, Nicolas Saillard 17:20), 15 North Somerset AC Vets 1:23:34 (Steve Dixon 21:55, Phill Brookes 22:01, Steve Hollier 19:15, Jonathan Flower 20:23) (2nd Male Vet 50 team).

Senior Women: 1 Bristol & West AC 54:40, 2 Bristol & West AC “B” 56:48, 3 Westbury Harriers 59:19, 7 North Somerset AC U20 1:02:32 (Kate Constable 21:16, Ellie Wallace 20:15, Katie Grinyer 21:01), 8 North Somerset AC Senior 1:04:04 (Sarah Smith 19:50, Jo Gallagher 22:01, Katie Hooper 22:13), 9 North Somerset AC U20 “B” 1:07:34 (Sara Flower 20:44, Angharad Flower 24:29, Alys Withers 22:21).


Ada’ora Chigbo produced the performance of her life (so far) to win a sliver medal at this year’s Games. After a consistent year where her personal best in the high jump has ‘leapt’ from 1.60m to 1.75m hopes were high of a medal.

Some fantastic jumping saw her produce a 1.72m leap, the same height as the eventual winner. Unfortunately they were split on countback as Ada’ora had knocked the bar off at an earlier height. British coaches are now watching her very closely and anticipation is high that we could be witnessing a very promising career unfold.



NSAC Senior endurance athlete James Rogers can now claim to be one of the top athletes in the area thanks to a third County title.

His victory by over a minute over his nearest rival very impressive. He added the 10mile title to his 10km win and cross-country title earlier in the year. This adds to a whole list of local 10k and 5k victories. James will be running as part of a formidable senior section during the winter at cross-country. It is hoped that NSAC will be challenging Bristol & West and Westbury Harriers for team honours this season.
More details of James’ latest victory can be found here.


The final league event of the season saw NSAC finish the season in mid-table. Not the greatest venue, if we are being honest, and a lethargic approach from all the clubs saw a low number attending. As always some NSAC performances are worthy of mention. Wins as follows;

Rosie Whitehead u13 girls 800m 2;29.90 minutes Grade 2

Sam Gentry u13 boys 1500m 4;55.80 minutes Grade 2

Sam Gentry u13 boys High Jump 1.50m Grade 1

Emma Bakare u15 girls Shot 9.10m Grade 3

Emma Bakare u15 girls 200m 28.10 seconds

Caroline Walder u15 girls Pole Vault 2.82m Grade 3 and Personal Best

Ada’ora Chigbo u17 ladies Long Jump 5.09m Personal Best

Ada’ora Chigbo u17 ladies Shot 12.97m Grade 1 and League record

Brioney Cox u17 ladies Discus 17.35m

Full results can be found here.


NSAC Senior endurance athlete James Rodgers can now claim to be one of the top athletes in the area thanks to a third County title. His victory by over a minute over his nearest rival was very impressive. He added the 10 mile title to his 10km win and cross-country title earlier in the year. This adds to a whole list of local 10k and 5k victories. James will be running as part of a formidable senior section during the winter at cross-country. It is hoped that NSAC will be challenging Bristol & West and Westbury Harriers for team honours this season. For result on James’ latest victory, please visit


No medals but a host of impressive individual performances that should boost the athletes confidence for the XC season.

Figures after names are their times, figures in brackets are their times at the Midland Relays 2 weeks ago.
12 out of 16 improved their times.
11 out of 16 finished in the top half of their age group
4 athletes, Lucy, Sam, Alice and Lauren finished in the top 40 in their age groups

We are starting to get quality strength in depth, we entered more teams than Bristol, Bath, Taunton, Wells and Stroud

U13G 20th out of 49 teams and 158 athletes

Lucy 15.21 (16.03) 35th overall
Rosie 15.43 (15.51) 53rd overall
Maisie Squire 16.63 =102nd overall

Great performances from everyone especially Lucy (44 secs quicker than at Midlands Relays) and Maisie Squire

U13B 6th out of 46 teams and 155 athletes

Sam 14.05 (14.14) 12th overall
Alex Collins 14.23 (14.54) =24th overall
Ollie 15.01 (15.36) =59th overall

Everyone ran out of their skin.

U15G 17th out of 66 teams and 220 athletes

Alice 14.22 (14.36) 21st overall
Sara 15.17 (15.00) 78th overall
Hattie 15.02 (15.01) 62nd overall

A very tough age group

Lauren 14.37 (15.03) =35th
Lizzie 16.00 (16.04) =128th

Lauren produced an unbelievable run

U15B 31st out of 55 teams and 182 athletes

Matt 13.35 (13.41) 71st overall
Callum 14.12 (14.43) 123rd overall
Jaylan 14.07 (14.16) 114th overall

Probably the toughest age group, some of the leading boys looked like men! Solid performances all round.

U17B 25th out of 49 teams and 171 athletes

Joe 13.01 (12.57) =72th overall
David 13.17 (13.07) = 96th overall
Mike Proffitt 13.16 (13.39) 95th overall

Quadkid Success & PBs

The Brewer Games at Cheltenham saw a number of PBs for North Somerset athletes, as well as Quadkids success for U11 athlete Annabel Cunningham.

Abigail Roach led the way improving her 100m time to 13.18s and setting new PBs for the 200m (27.26s) and Long Jump (4.42m). Similarly, Esther Leong improved her Long Jump best to 4.77m and improved on her 75m Hurdles time. In the same event, Sophie Parker set a new club record of 12.02s

In the Pole Vault event Georgia Houston set a new PB of 2.00m but was pipped by Caroline Walder clearing 2.20m.

Katie Parker narrowly missed her own Discus club record by just 2cm, but had a good day throwing consistently in both Hammer and Shot Put.

It was also good to see Ellie Wallace making a winning return to competition after injury in the 800m.

The star performer of the day though was Annabel Cunningham. In just her second Quadkids competition, Annabel performance well in all four disciplines and claimed second place overall. Annabel was pushed and supported all the way by team mate Alysha Forsbrook, but by finishing second in the 600m and winning her 75m Annabel did enough to claim the silver medal.

Cross Country Relay

The ‘Weather Gods’ were not smiling us on, unfortunately. With it raining for just two hours during the whole day, extremely frustrating that it chose one of those hours as the time of the Relays!

The year 7-8 race in particular was met with heavy rainsand wind. Parents and spectators huddled against the Science Block at Clevedon School or under the tent whilst the athletes and officials got stuck in! Over 100 children, dressed in fancy dress or not, enjoyed the event, despite the conditions. Terrific effort by everyone, and a nice end to the Cross-Country season.

Thank you to ‘The Club at Cadbury House’ and ‘Promotional Peaks’ for supplying goodie bags and pennants for the fastest leg Athletes. As always, much appreciated!

The full results can be seen here and Fastest Leg runners as follows;

Year 2-4 Boys – Guy Owen 2;58

Year 2-4 Girls – Naomi Holt 3;19

Year 5-6 Boys – Oliver Lock 4;25

Year 5-6 Girls – Ellie Redman 4;56

Year 7-8 Boys – Adam Major 5;27

Year 7-8 Girls – Lucy Maine 5;42

The best fancy dress prize went to the ‘Pretty Incredibles’. A photo is in the Gallery section!

The wackiest name prize was given to ‘Queen Bees in Onesies’

Another successful event, thanks to all helpers, athletes and supporters!

Sportshall under-13 girls medal in Manchester

Avon Girls team produced their best ever effort finishing second in a close battle with Surrey in the National Sportshall finals in Manchester.

NSAC members made up 5 of 12 strong team, with each of them returning with a medal.  The Under-13 Girls team managed by Susan Jones excelled with four UK titles in the Field events.

Avon U13 Girls

The Obstacle Relay team of Harriet Emery (Backwell), Sophie Parker (Backwell) combined with Caroline Walder and Holly Jones (Backwell) to take a magnificent second place

Nina Nemi (Colston Girls) took the Vertical jump with 66 centimetres. The versatile Anna Loughlin (Colston Girls) won the Shot with 10m 43 with Ellie Shale (Backwell) third with 9 metres 64 centimetres. Her school mate Caroline Walder broke the Ulster and Welsh records with 90 speed bounces and the impressive Emma Bakare (Backwell) won the Triple Jump with a massive 7metres 66 centimetres which also would have been a record in Ulster and Wales. Emma also took third place in the 2 Lap race with 21.4 seconds.

Harriet finished eighth in the 6 lap just ahead of Lottie Rudd (Bristol Grammar School) in eleventh place of the 22 starters. Lottie combined with Nina Nemi in the paarlauf for fourth place.

Charlotte Roberts (Colston Girls) took fourth place in the Triple Jump with a great 6metres 86 centimetres. Tia Jackson (Downend) was a wonderful 11th in the long jump with 2 metres 22 centimetres and Sadie Thomson Quance (Redland Green School) took ninth place in 21.9 in the 2lap race.

Labelle Davila (Writhlington() produced a 48 centimetre vertical jump, Nia Thomas White (RGS) jumped 2metres 21 centimetres in the Long jump and Lucy Oliver threw a fine 8 metres 84 centimetres in the Shot.

The 4×1 lap relay team finished fourth with the 4 x 2 lap relay fifth to leave Avon’s girls second by 50 points.

Fred North & Henry Cox win gold.

U13 boysAvon Under-13 Boys team including Fred North and Henry Cox won their event and have now won a record breaking seven United Kingdom titles since 1994: The greatest number in Sportshall history.



1. AVON 1340

2. SURREY 1210




2. AVON 1208



Millard wins South West Coach of the Year Award

Congratulations are now in order for NSAC/AA Head Coach who has deservedly been selected by the South West Regional Council as the winner of the 2013 Development Coach of the Year award for the South West as part of the England Athletics National Awards and Hall of Fame programme.

The recognition from England Athletics is long overdue and for all Chris’s achievements with North Somerset Athletics Club and Academy. The Club which Chris started in 2004 with 4 athletes now spans the whole county at 7 venues and 15 training events a week. The club now has over 600 members and successfully competing in regional and national leagues.

Chris will receive his award at a Ceremony at the Mercure Hotel, Exeter on Thursday 5th December 2013.

CEO of England Athletics, Chris Jones will be attending the evening to present awards to the winners.