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Athletics: Kemnay’s Alix Still frustrated despite improving indoor pentathlon best

Alix Still, centre, in action.
Alix Still, centre, in action.

Kemnay’s Alix Still, 21, improved her pentathlon personal best score when finishing fifth in the Atlantic Conference Championships at Blacksburg, Virginia.

However, the Virginia University student wasn’t happy with her overall performance as she feels she’s capable of much better.

She accumulated 3,978 points, a small improvement on her previous best set in the same competition last year, and it keeps her in second position on the indoors Scottish all-time best performers list.

But she was keen to crack the Scottish indoor record of 4,096, which has stood since 2002.

Still’s best performance came in the 60m hurdles in which she achieved a personal best 8.55secs. She cleared 1.65 in the high jump, 5.86 in the long jump and 10.54 in the shot, before finishing off with a 2:21.40 800m.

She said: “I’m going to be completely honest with you, I was not too happy with my performance. There were some good things to take away like getting a hurdles PB and having a consistent long jump.

But, overall, I was pretty disappointed. I was really shooting to break 4,000 points at the least, but my main goal was that Scottish record. I knew that I was capable of it, but something on the day just did not click.

“I think the one event that I was most disappointed in was my 800. I usually have a good idea of how to run a 800m and I was aiming to go under 2.19 as that would have allowed me to break 4,000.

“But I hit lactic very early and just could not hold the pace. Obviously I was disappointed with my shot put, too, but that has never been a strong event for me.”

Alix Still.

Despite her harsh self criticism, Still acknowledges she has made remarkable progress since moving to the US a few years ago.

She said: “Overall, I look back and I am proud of myself. Yes I had goals that I did not reach, but if you had told me four years ago I would be scoring 3,900 I would have laughed.

“My main takeaway from this competition was that sometimes I need to re-evaluate my training and find places where I am lacking and that I need to focus on.

“To think that this felt like a ‘bad’ competition is a good thing, because it means there’s a lot more in the tank.”

The result brings an end to Still’s indoor season as she did not qualify for the US national college championships, so she will now focus on trying to achieve a Scotland Commonwealth Games qualifying standard outdoors in the heptathlon.

She said: “I unfortunately did not qualify for the NCAA. Getting one of the top 16 spots is crazy this year as the girl who got the final place scored 4,093.

“However, not going to NCAAs gives me extra time to take a break, but also to get back into some solid training before the outdoors start. I think my first one is a small competition on March 19.”

Aberdeen AAC boys win team silver

Aberdeen AAC’s youngsters were the club’s top achievers in the Lindsays Scottish cross country championships at Falkirk’s Callendar Park.

The under-15 boys’ squad of Rhys Crawford, 11th, Thomas Reynolds, 14th, Finlay McKay, 18th, and Oscar Chirnside, 20th, earned team silver medals behind the powerful Renfrewshire club, Giffnock North.

Finlay Mckay, right. of Aberdeen AAC.

And Aberdeenshire runner Millie McClelland-Brooks, who represents Glasgow School of Sport, was the north-east’s only individual medallist, when pocketing silver in the under-15 girls’ 4.3k.

These were to be the only medals heading back to the north-east from the winter season’s premier event, although there were a number of other fine performances.

Aberdeen AAC’s Scotland international Naomi Lang bounced back from an Achilles injury to take fifth position in a high quality women’s 10k won by Mhairi MacLennan (Inverness Harriers). Former Robert Gordon University student Scout Adkin (Moorfoot) was runner-up.

Scout Adkin, Mhairi MacLennan and Morag Millar – the women’s top three at the national cross country championships 2022.

Aberdeen twins Kirsty and Caitlin Purcell, representing Edinburgh University, can count themselves unlucky to miss out on a medal after finishing fifth and sixth respectively in the under-20 women’s 6.8k.

Their club won the team title, but only three runners score and the Purcells were, remarkably, only the fourth and fifth counters for the student side which won all three individual medals.

The battle for local supremacy in the senior men’s 10k was won by Aberdeen AAC, who finished eighth in the team competition with rivals Metro Aberdeen ninth.

Michael Ferguson led the way for AAAC when finishing 20th from a field of 624 and he was backed by Aaron Odentz (39th),Thomas Dalgarno (47th), Fearghas Thomson (71st), Steven Murray (89th) and Eoghan MacNamara (129th).

Scotland ultra distance international Kyle Greig was Metro’s first man home in 56th. He was followed by Jim Tole (57th), Scott Macleod (84th), Martin Mueller (98th), Allan Christie (99th) and Kenny Garden (119th).

However, the leading north-east finisher was Aberdeen University’s Tom Graham-Marr, who finished 11th. He also helped his club, Central AC, win the men’s team title for the 11th season in a row.

Fraserburgh’s Israel Noble was eighth in the under-13 boys’ 3.2k race, while Aberdeen AAC’s Adam Brown was eighth in the under-20 men’s 6.8k.

Scottish age group indoor 800m and 1500m champion Hannah Taylor (Aberdeen AAC) was 10th in the under-17 women’s 6.2k.