Islanders hold their own against cream of Scotland’s athletes

Last weekend saw a selection of the islands’ best young athletes get the chance of a lifetime when they represented Lewis, Harris and Uist at the Scottish Schools Track and Field Championships at Hampden.

The eight-strong Nicolson Institute team and two Sgoil Lionacleit athletes more than held their own over two days against the best of Scotland’s young talent.

Connor MacLean’s medal double, picking up a 1500 metres silver and 800m bronze for under-17 boys, was the pick of the performances as he set new personal bests over both distances. Jenny Mactaggart performed well in the U20 girls’ events. She came very close to medalling in the 100 metres, finishing fourth, and wasn’t far away in the long jump and 200 metres finals.

Another who made finals in his events was Connor’s training partner Michael MacMillan who recorded personal bests the 400m and 800m heats, and who then finished a fine sixth in both finals. U15 Andrew Horne made the finals of the long jump, 100 metres and 200 metres after a qualifying event for his age group in Grangemouth a fortnight back. He finished a fine sixth in the long jump final, but tweaked a muscle in his back which meant he couldn’t take part in his sprint finals

Sgoil Lionacleit pupils Heather MacKinnon (U17 girls’ long jump) and Paul Morrison (U17 boys’ 800m) were delighted to be part of the Hampden experience on the second day. Paul took two seconds off his PB in the 800 metres and just missed out on the final, while Heather was truly inspired by the occasion. After a nervy start she nailed a new PB of 4.90m to finish a fantastic sixth out of 35 athletes.