Oxford could claim victory over the Tabs last week in the annual indoor Varsity Field Events and Relay (FEAR). The Dark Blue’s best athletes had trained for half a year to take on Cambridge in 6 track events and 8 field events on Saturday at the Lee Valley athletics centre in London.
On the day Oxford won the men’s track, drew the men’s field and women’s track, and lost the women field, overall winning a majority of the individual events in a convincing showing.
The Oxford men walloped the Tabs 5-1 on the track with wins in the 60m, 60m hurdles, 4×200, 4×400 and 4×1500. Isaiah Adekanmbi led the 60m squad with a lightning quick time. A strong quartet consisting of George Gundle, Adam McBraida, Ralph Eliot and Sam Wareham dominated Cambridge in the 4×200, blasting their way to a new match record. A 4×400 consisting of George, Ralph, Sam and Craig Morten then went on to blitz the Cambridge team by 9 seconds.
The field was slightly less successful. The men tied 4-4, meaning Cambridge retain the trophy they won last year. However, there were wins in the High Jump, Long Jump, Javelin and Discus, and some truly spectacular performances were recorded. Aidan Reynolds jumped the blues standard in the high jump helping Oxford edge a very tight contest in the event. The best was still to come from Aidan, as he blew away the competition in the javelin with an incredible throw which placed him 3rd on the Oxford all-time list. Sam Trigg jumped the blues standard in the Triple Jump, and Andrei Klein pole-vaulted an impressive personal best; both narrowly missing out on victory against an inspired Cambridge squad.
The women boasted some equally incredible performances on the day, drawing 3-3 with the Tabs on the track. Women’s captain Nadine Prill opened set a blistering match record in the 60m which was crucial to the squad of 4 winning by a combined tenth of a second. Prill then partnered with Connie Thurlow, Nadia Odunayo and Elle Gatehouse to pip the Cambridge team in the 4×200. Nadine, Connie, Montana Jackson and Rose Penfold then wrapped up a clean sweep of the sprint events with victory in the 4×400.
There were some great performances in the women’s field match as well, the squad unluckily going down 3-5. Despite this Maria Harper outclassed the rest of the field in the pole vault, clearing a personal best and helping Oxford claim the event. Katie Holder, multi-eventer extraordinaire, competed in 9 events in the track and field and was key to Oxford’s victories in the pole vault, shot and javelin.
It was a day of incredible drama and excitement where many events came down to the tightest of margins. Collectively, the Dark Blues improved on their performances from last year in 19 of the 28 events and won the events 15-13 to mark a huge triumph for Oxford Athletics.
(Thanks to Men’s Vice Captain Vartan Shadarevian for the match report.)