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WAC’s Four XC County Champions – 15 December 2013

Reporting from the Junior County Champs & WXC League at Canford.

The final Wessex League cross-country meeting of the season took place in the beautiful grounds of Canford School. For the second year in a row, the meeting doubled as the County Championships for the under-13 through to under-20s age-groups (the seniors County Championships will double up with the Hampshire League race on 11 January). At the time of writing final results have yet to be made available, so the information here is based on latest information to hand.

This picture sums up the conditions on the day – our 15s on the start line

With Wessex and County Championship being run concurrently, most runners in the appropriate age-groups counted in both competitions. The exceptions were those who regularly take part in the Wessex League who are eligible for other counties (Hampshire, Somerset, etc.) plus a few Dorset runners who did not enter the County Championships.

Race 4 of the Wessex League was our turn to be host club for the meeting. So, for a couple of us, it was an early start checking the course. We receive fabulous co-operation from Canford School and Canford Leisure Centre. Groundsman (and WACer) Kerry Mapp and his team had marked up the course the previous day. There were some minor issues to attend to, there was little wind and no rain, and the red team tent was easily erected.

Races were to start at midday, and by the time the marshals meeting was held at 10.30 the weather was starting to take a turn for the worse. The marshals were made up of WAC members, and their friends and families, from right across the club, with a significant contribution made by our roadrunners adding to our regular resources from the cross-country team as well as some key officials affiliated to other clubs. By the time the races got underway we were enduring cold, blustery, and very wet conditions, making the race officials’, and of course the competitors’, task somewhat more of a challenge! The course itself had been altered slightly from last year due to an industrious group of badgers whose sett had undermined an embankment that we had previously run along – a deviation was necessary.

As is the tradition in the Wessex League, the first race start was the combined u17, u20 and seniors’ start for both men and women. The u17 and u20 categories would also include County Championship runners. For most categories it was a 4.7k race, but the u20m and senior men had an additional lap to do, making their race distance 7.9k. At stake for the County Championship runners were places in the Dorset team in the Inter-Counties Championships in March. A good performance would put down a marker for selection, a top 4 championship finish would guarantee it.

We got off to a great start, the first runners to cross the line were the under-17 men and they were led home by a red vest, that of Ryan Walbridge, Wimborne’s first County Champions on the day. Our other under-17 man on the day was Josh Downie, his 5th place in the championships means he’s got a nervous wait to see if he’ll win selection for the County. For Wessex League 2013 honours it was a closely fought competition for team medals with Dorchester & Weymouth all season. Wimborne AC came out winners by the narrowest of margins. Individually the Wessex League Champion for the season was our own Jason Sotheran (unfortunately he was injured, so didn’t compete in this meeting), with County Champion Ryan second and Josh 6th in the averages.

In the under-17 women’s race, the first Wimborne runner, and bronze medallist in the County Championships was Abbie Hine. Ella Hearne finished 5th, so like Josh she’s waiting to see if she’s done enough to win County selection, as is 6th place Charlotte Bourne. Completing the WAC team was Becca ‘Scooter’ Skeats in 8th place. In the Wessex League final standings our under-17 girls’ team has dominated. The girls are Wessex League Champions, and as individuals Abbie is Wessex League Champion, with Ella 2nd and Charlotte 3rd.

We’ve really struggled to get complete women’s team out for cross-country races this season. This meeting, with a call on man/womanpower for marshals as well as runners, was no different. We had only one runner, Rachel Gladdis, who was making her first Wessex League appearance of the season (12th). Our best-placed women runner in the Wessex League season averages was Lisa Keay (14th). Lisa competed at both Salisbury and Ham Hill. The team finished 4th in the season’s averages. (3rd for the women’s vets)

Two red vests, two County Champions – Callum and Ryan in action

The under-20s/senior men, having done the longer (7.9k) trip were next home. Leading them in, with a well-judged race, was Wimborne’s Callum Kennedy, giving WAC its second County Champion of the day. Next in for WAC, making his 2nd Wessex League appearance this season was Mark Copeland (20th). Kerry Mapp, who’d made such a big contribution to helping stage the event, was next in for Wimborne (31st), with Pete Kingswell-Farr next 33rd. Also coming in close together were Richard Davies and Glyn Davies in 45th & 46th respectively, and they completed our men’s team. The team finished 5th in the Wessex League averages (4th for the vets). Best place in the averages was Iain Donnelly (14th), with Pete, Daryl Davies, Paul Hine, Richard, Mark, Glyn and Ian Kennedy 21st, 27th, 29th, 31st, 38th, 50th and 52nd respectively.

The Wessex League has seen steadily increasing numbers for the second successive season. The number of runners competing at Canford in 2013 was 230, compared to 200 last year. In the case of the under-11s race, with it’s shorter race distance, and therefore more congested finishing funnel, it must be time to separate the boys and girls and run two races instead of one. What with the worsening weather conditions and the congestion, this made it a difficult race for our officials. Most of the anomalies, which have delayed the publication of the final results, were in the under-11s category. The Wimborne boys’ team was 4th on the day, led home by Ben Butcher (9th) with good support from Derry Sowinski-Brown (10th), with Jack Moss-Wilcox and Charlie Davies 17th and 18th. For the girls (3rd team on the day), first in was Abbie Lovering (6th), with Lily Gallimore, Ava Keay, Lucy Tipping, Lydia Hughes and Aimee Figg (14th, 15th, 18th, 20th & 26th) all contributing. Our boys’ team finished 2nd in the season’s average. Individually our best-placed runner was Max Meadwell (2nd), with Ben, Charlie, Derry, Jack and Jordan Macgregor, 7th, 18th, 13th, 24th and 30th. Our girls’ team finished the season in 3rd place. Best placed was Abbie in 6th, with Ava, Lydia, Aimee, Chloe Fleming and Lily (11th, 14th, 17th, 20th and 26th).

With the under-13s race – there was a return to County Championship, as well as Wessex League competition. In the boys’ race we took two of the medal positions in the County Championships (silver & bronze), Liam Murphy-Parry and the fast-improving Michael Johnson, with Elliott 4th in the Championships also guaranteeing his county selection (finishing positions on the day along with Wessex League runners were 2nd, 4th & 6th), Tom Morrison was 23rd with Robert Hughes 29th. The team finished the season as Wessex League Champions, with Liam the Wessex League Champion for 2013. Elliott was 4th in the averages, with Tom, Robert and Michael 13th, 18th and 24th respectively.

Our hottest favourite for a County Champion must surely have been Grace Copeland in the under-13s, she didn’t disappoint, and became our third County Champion of the day thus far. Just outside the automatic qualifiers (5th, 6th, 7th & 8th) for the county vests were Jessica Bourne, Bethanie Kingswell-Farr (amongst the Wessex runners they were 9th, 12th, 13th & 14th). Hopefully at least some of them will win County selection. Completing our Wessex League team were Daisy Gallimore (19th), Elise Gill (22nd) and Isabelle Kingswell-Farr (23rd).  Our u13 girls’ team finished the Wessex League in 2nd place on the day and also in the season’s averages. Individually Jessica and Beth were 5th & 6th in the Wessex League averages, with Fern and Hannah 10th & 11th, Elise 15th and Daisy 21st.

The under-15s race started at just after 1.00pm – we’d had a busy hour! For the boys, the first red vest home was Piers Copeland. Wimborne AC now had four County Champions, and the Copeland family had two! Tom Bourne was on hand to claim the silver medal too. Matt Yates and Sam Davies, who’ve put in great shifts this cross-country season came in 11th and 12th, with Tom Boulton (who is returning from a long lay-off in 17th). Despite our biggest hitters in this age-group not always being available (Piers only did one Wessex race, and Tom Bourne two), and the loss for rest of the Wessex season of Joe Miles through injury, our u15 boys finished the season as Wessex League Champions. The contributions of Matt Yates and Sam Davies (who were the best-placed WAC runners in the season’s aggregates at 7th & 8th) was absolutely crucial. Piers finished 10th in the averages.

On a day when we had plenty of performances to savour, there was still more to enjoy. The fast-improving Lucy Ballam claimed some big scalps in the County Championships in her first season of XC competition.  Lucy bagged a County bronze medal, and by doing so guarantees her selection for the Inter-Counties in March. Maddie Williams put in another gritty performance and finished 12th. Lucy finished top of the WAC averages in 4th place, with Pippa Hine and Lisa Henderson placed at 15th & 16th for the season.

The racing was done – some of our best athletes have booked their places in the County team for the Inter-Counties Championships in March, while others will be looking to races elsewhere to earn those green vets. Forty-three WAC runners competed, and we also had a red army of volunteers on marshalling duties. The meeting wrapped up another successful Wessex League season for the club. A big thank you to all those who have supported the team’s efforts over the season, and especially to all those marshals, stuck out on the course in quite horrid weather conditions at Canford.

WAC results

Under-17 men (10 runners) – 2nd team

1 – Ryan Walbridge – 14:42 – XC COUNTY CHAMPION
5 – Josh Downie – 16:16 – 5th in XC County Champs

Under-17 women (8 runners) – 1st team

3 – Abbie Hine – 17:22 –
County Champs Bronze medallist WESSEX LEAGUE CHAMPION
5 – Ella Hearne – 18:18 ­– 5th in XC CCs
6 – Charlotte Bourne – 19:03 – 6th in XC CCs
8 – Rebecca Skeats – 21:08 – 8th in XC CCs

Senior women (20 runners)

12 –  Rachel Gladdis – 21:48

Senior men (48 runners) – 5th team, 4th veterans team

1 – Callum Kennedy – 25:50 – Under-20 XC COUNTY CHAMPION
20 – Mark Copeland– 30:12
31 – Kerry Mapp – 32:37
33 – Peter Kingswell-Farr – 33:02
45 – Richard Davies – 39:31
46 – Glyn Davies – 39:47

Under-11 boys (30 runners) – 4th team

9 – Ben Butcher – 4:48
10 – Derry Sowinski-Brown – 4:54
17 – Jack Moss-Wilcox – 5:11
18 – Charlie Davies – 5:12

Under-11 girls (30 runners) – 3rd team

7 – Abbie Lovering – 4:59
14 – Lily Gallimore – 5:30
15 – Ava Keay – 5:30
18 – Lucy Tipping – 5:35
20 – Lydia Hughes – 5:35
26 – Aimee Figg – 6:07

Under-13 boys (33 runners) – 1st team

2 – Liam Murphy-Parry – 11:21 –
County Champs Silver medallist WESSEX LEAGUE CHAMPION
4 – Michael Johnson – 11:30 – XC County Champs Bronze medallist
6 – Elliott Symes – 11:42 – 4th in XC CCs
23 – Tom Morrison – 13:04 – 11th in XC CCs
29 – Robert Hughes – 13:38

Under-13 girls (23 runners) – 2nd team

1 – Grace Copeland – 11:34 – XC COUNTY CHAMPION
9 – Jessica Bourne – 13:41 – 5th in XC CCs
12 – Bethanie Kingswell-Farr – 13:54 – 6th in XC CCs
13 – Fern Morrison – 14:23 – 7th in XC CCs
14 – Hannah Fairchild – 14:47 – 8th in XC CCs
19 – Daisy Gallimore – 14:57
22 – Elise Gill – 17:07 – 9th in XC CCs
23 – Isabelle Kingswell-Farr – 18:16 – 10th in XC CCs

Under-15 boys (19 runners) – 1st team

2 – Piers Copeland – 13:17 – XC COUNTY CHAMPION
3 – Tom Bourne – 13:27 – XC County Champs Silver medallist
11 – Matt Yates – 15:13 – 10th in XC CCs
12 – Sam Davies – 15:35 – 11th in XC CCs
17 – Tom Boulton – 16:20 – 14th in XC CCs

2013 under-15 Wessex League Champion Jason Sotheran was unable to compete on the day

Under-15 girls (21 runners) – 6th team

3 – Lucy Ballam – 15:16 – XC County Champs Bronze medallist
12 – Maddie Williams – 16:01 – 11th in XC CCs


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