UCD Meet Sees Kent, Harris, and Gleeson Achieve European U18 Standards

June 20, 2024

Michael Kent (DMP AC) obtained the U18 qualifying standard in the Long Jump at last night’s UCD meeting. Additionally, Noah Harris (Parnell AC), who had already qualified in the 3000m, managed to squeeze in the 1500m standard too. Meanwhile, Cillian Gleeson (Celbridge AC), who like Harris already had the 3000m time, bettered his personal best to run 8.20 and moved into number 8 in the European U18 ranking lists for 3000m. The fixture, which was well supported, afforded athletes another welcome opportunity to race on home soil.

The advent of the world athletics ranking system and a quota system for qualifications for major championships has changed the face of athletics competitions worldwide and especially in Europe. Qualification times and race ranking points must be obtained in official world athletics calendar events. The effect of these changes can be seen in the migration of many of our domestic top athletes to Europe for the summer racing season. From France to Poland to Scandinavia, our top athletes can be found competing any day of the week in one of a plethora of world athletics certified races. This has left a bit of a void on our domestic racing scene, with many races lacking the field qualities that may have existed years ago.

Things have started to change a little. We have two good Irish Milers meets, a British Milers meet, and in three weeks' time there will be the AAI games. These serve as magnets for those who, for one reason or another, need to race on home soil. Another good competition is the UCD track and field, which was held last night at the new track in UCD and attracted a decent caliber of athletes.

There were some very good races with some fast times recorded. Our U20 and U18 athletes did especially well. Take Michael Kent of DMP AC for example. The Wexford teenager has already competed for Ireland several times. Last night at the UCD meeting, he jumped 7.11m, a new personal best by over 9cm. In doing so, he qualified for the European U18 Championships in Slovakia. Kent had been teetering on the brink of qualification several times over the past month. A wind-assisted 7.02 at the Leinster Juniors in Carlow last month was his previous personal best. Last night’s jump was no surprise, and there is more to come.

The 3000m was won by Irish International Hugh Armstrong, who clocked a time of 8.18 minutes. Behind him, Cillian Gleeson (Celbridge) chopped seven seconds off his personal best that he set last month. Gleeson had already qualified for the European U18 championships. His time last night in UCD moved him from 21st position to 8th in the U18 European ranking list.

Also on that 3000m ranking list is Noah Harris (Parnell AC). Noah ran 8.16 in Belfast last weekend, again bettering the qualification standard. Harris is currently ranked 4th. At the UCD meeting, he opted for the shorter race – 1500m – where he ran a new personal best of 3.50. This is not only a personal best but also the 1500m qualifying standard. This moved Noah from 63rd into 8th place in the 1500m rankings. Should he opt to run the 1500m, this could create a problem for Lorcan Forde-Dunne, as he will now be the third fastest of the three qualified athletes. Only two can compete at U18 Europeans. The 1500m was won by U20 athlete Cormac Dixon (Tallaght AC), who recorded a new personal best of 3.47:68

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