Shaftesbury Barnet Athletics Club members David Stone, 11, and Jessica Hurley, 14 have been named the winners of the 2013 Daniel Sacks Memorial Awards for Outstanding Young Athletic Achievement.
Stone started his athletics career in dramatic fashion while still in primary school. He won his first competitive races, the Hertfordshire under-11 Cross Country Championships and the Barnet Schools under-13 Cross Country Championships, by large margins.
He then suffered the setback of a three-month lay-off following a toboggan accident. He resumed competition with his first track race in July, and that month recorded 4:42.34 for 1,500m, ranking him 11th among UK under-13’s. A week later he ran his first 800m event, and recorded 2:22.7 for 65th in his age group.
In road relay races following the end of the track season, Stone consistently recorded the fastest relay splits of the competition, and ended the season unbeaten over any terrain, at any distance above 200m. In reviewing his first year in the sport, Stone simply said: "I knew I loved running, but I was a little surprised at how well I performed in races".
Jessica Hurley also enjoyed a successful season — giving great service to her club. Competing 11 times over 800m, her fastest performance was 2:23.04 in placing second at the Hertfordshire County under-15 Championships. She also demonstrated her versatility at other distances and in the field events. She recorded a match-winning 43.74 for 300m in the Eastern Young Athletes League, to rank 70th among UK under-15’s, as well as 5:07.0 for 1,500m and 4.54m in the long jump.
Hurley reflected: "I was pleased with my year because I kept cutting my 800m time and I also learned I had speed when my club put me in for a 300m race. I'm still an under-15 next season and my ambition is to make it to the England Schools finals."
It has been a year of solid achievement by several other young athletes. Another outstanding talent to emerge is Lia Radus, 12. In her first competitive year, she won several events in the Eastern Young Athletes League, and recorded 2:36.3 for 800m and 5:11.0 for 1,500m, ranking her 54th in the UK under-13 age group. Radus also recorded a remarkable 19:39 for a 5km park run.
Pole vaulter George Grant, 15, raised his personal best regularly as the year progressed, reaching a height of 3.51m in September to rank 36th in the UK under-17 division.
Jamie Cohen, 14, continued his progress in both middle-distance events and the high jump, in which he raised his best to 1.63m. Cohen won six gold medals in the JCC Maccabi Games in Orange County, California.
Anna Barnett, 14, was Kent County and Kent Schools discus champion and placed second in the Kent County Hammer Championships.
Natan Bloom, 15, cut his 800m and 1,500m times to 2:09.49 and 4:24.55 respectively, while Rebecca Hurley placed 3rd in the Hertfordshire Schools 300m hurdles Championship.
The highlight of the year came in July at the Maccabiah Games. Three fine, young sprinters — Adam Muscat, Daniel Gubbay and Jack Reece — were rewarded by winning junior relay bronze medals in Tel Aviv: Speed-endurance athlete Aaron Spalter was unlucky to miss out due to injury. The fourth member of the relay squad was javelin thrower James Bongart, 17, who won the silver medal in his main event with a new personal best of 53.31m.
Two junior British athletes won gold medals in the Maccabiah: Ellie Edwards, 17, took gold in the 200m as well as bronze in the both the 100m and relay, while Sam Shindler-Glass took gold in the 800m and silver in the 1,500m. Shindler-Glass had already cut his personal best for 800m by more than five seconds to 1:56.90.
In the senior events, triathlete Oliver Ziff finished a brave seventh in the 5,000m, run in hot and sultry conditions. Nick Davis placed seventh in a top-quality 400m final, in which Donald Sanford set an Israeli record to beat last year’s Olympic finalist, Australian Steve Solomon.
Unable to compete due to persisting injury, Richard Goodman served as Junior Track & Field team manager. Now fully recovered, Goodman won a team gold medal in the European under-23 Cross-Country Championships in December.
Jennifer Simmons enjoyed a successful season over 400m and 400m hurdles, ranking eighth in the UK Under 23 division and placing fifth in the British Universities Championships in the latter event.
Nathaniel Lane, a prolific competitor over the distance events, was again overall winner of the 12-race Run Wales series. Lane, 37, placed third in the Welsh 5,000m track championship and won both the Welsh M35 10 km road title and the Welsh M35 Half Marathon title.
David Peters reinforced his position as one of the country’s top M40 middle-distance athletes by winning the British M40 Indoor 800m title. Peters ranked fourth and second respectively over 800m and 1500m outdoors.
Roger Bruck, the 74-year-old elder statesman of Jewish athletics, ran and jumped his way to new M70 personal bests and to several more gold medals, including five at the Southern Counties Veterans Championships. Those five performances secured for Bruck the Norman Martin Trophy for the Best Over 70 Performance of the