Wimborne Athletic Club

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Dorset County XC Championships  – 10 December – Ferndown 

Piers is County Champion as WAC claim two team wins.

This year’s cross-country county championships took place on the King George V Playing Fields and the heath at Ferndown. The conditions were good, and the very flat nature of the course tended to favour those runners with outright pace over those who excel by using their strength in the mud and up the hills. Although Wimborne were well represented, overall the number of race entrants was disappointing, although most of the county’s top cross-country runners were present.

The biggest field on the day was in the first race, the under-13 girls. We had three runners, two of them – Grace Copeland and Bethan Burley – were the youngest racers out there. Grace got involved in a terrific tussle with Bridget Dence of Bournemouth AC for first and second place, with just three seconds separating these fine athletes at the finish line. Maddie Williams (6th) was our next runner home after yet another excellent run and Bethan’s 14th place ensured that we took second placed team, just one point ahead of Poole Runners (Poole AC were first team).

There was a particularly disappointing number of runners in the next race, under-13 boys. Half the field was made up of Wimborne runners. Piers Copeland claimed the title of Dorset Champion in this category, with Tom Bourne making it a 1-2, pretty much as the formbook would suggest based on Hampshire League results. It was very nearly a WAC 1-2-3 with Tom Boulton being outsprinted in the last 400m and so having to settle for 4th place. Tom’s position gave the team a score of 7 points, clear winners of the team prize. Ryan Long’s terrific progress continues as he claimed 6th place.

The under-15 girls race was the second in succession where we had more runners than any other club. This was despite losing Sharon Hutchings, who would have been a podium contender, to illness. The race was won by Emma Butterworth (Poole AC) with Tara Chittenden (Dorchester AC) second. Our own Abbie Hine claimed the final position on the podium. Chloe Morris, who won at this venue a few weeks ago in a schools cross-country race, was 8th, with the fast-improving Ella Hearne giving her a good run for her money (only one second separated these two at the finish). Next in was Charlotte Bourne. Charlotte was carrying a cold, but the nature of the course probably didn’t play to her strengths. Scooter completed the Wimborne contingent. Our girls had won the team prize.

In the under-15 boys race we only had one athlete – Ryan Walbridge. There was some quality in this field. Ryan had beaten most of the runners out there during the season, so his expectations of claiming a podium position were not unreasonable. The race was won by Andy Smith, but the surprise package here was the dramatic return to form of Louis Kellaway. Tom East came third which made it the full set for Poole Runners on the podium. A frustrated Ryan had to settle for fourth place.

In the under-17 girls race we had no competitors, but it was dominated by Dorchester AC. The win going to Hilary Hansford. The under-17 men’s race had just seven competitors in a very strong field. The front three broke away early, this group splitting on the final lap. Ben Westhenry of Weymouth St Pauls took the win ahead of the Poole Runners pair of Ben Wilson and Dan Mulryan. WAC’s Callum Kennedy and Josh King of Bournemouth formed the next group, with Josh getting the better of Callum on the final fast and flat section on the approach to the line.

It was a nice touch to see the medallists being presented with their medals on a podium.  Perhaps surprisingly, the six Dorset champions came from six different clubs – U13G - Bridget Dence (Bournemouth AC), U13B – Piers Copeland (Wimborne AC), U15G – Emma Butterworth (Poole AC), U15B – Andy Smith (Poole Runners), U17W – Hilary Hansford (Dorchester AC) and U17M – Ben Westhenry (Weymouth St Pauls).

WACers times and results were:

Under-13 Girls (20 finishers) –2nd team

2 – Grace Copeland – 11:25
6 – Maddie Williams – 12:07
14 – Bethan Burley – 13:50

Under-13 Boys (8 finishers) – 1st team

1 – Piers Copeland – 10:18
2 – Tom Bourne – 10:57
4 – Tom Boulton – 11:33
6 – Ryan Long – 12:24

Under-15 Girls (11 finishers) – 1st team

3 – Abbie Hine – 14:27
8 – Chloe Morris – 15:26
9 – Ella Hearne – 15:27
10 – Charlotte Bourne – 15:46
11­ – Rebecca Skeats – 16:55

Under-15 Boys (13 finishers)

4 – Ryan Walbridge – 15:29

Under-17 Boys (7 finishers)

5 – Callum Kennedy – 20:43


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