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Debut win for Emily as WACers hit the heights – 15 October 2016

Ian Kennedy reports on the HXC at Farley Mount

Our Hampshire League season got off to a flying start at Farley Mount with some very special performances including a WAC cross-country debut win for Emily Shaw (a pretty extraordinary achievement in this company), plus a number of other performances which could be considered lifetime bests!

We didn’t have a full complement of WACers, there were some illness in the camp and a few others were unavailable so the team scores could have been even better.  We were able to include an impressive number making WAC XC debuts, or WAC HXC debuts.  First-timers included Imogen Rawles, Emily Shaw, Sam Hughes, Emma Martin, Hannah Acquah, Sam Shepherd and Gavin Rusling.  Making Hampshire League debuts for WAC were Joe Goodwin, Ben Harwood, Demi Goddard, Ben Martin, Jordan McGregor, John Gale, Jessica Kennedy and Alicia Pawson.  Seven of the latter eight had competed in the first Wessex League race earlier in the month.  The exception was Jess, who cut her teeth in XC in the Wessex League last season.

First out there was Imogen Rawles, Ollie’s younger sister.  She is only just old enough to compete.  Imogen put in an impressive debut with a huge smile on her face – a great start to a day that was about to become even better.  Another debutant, Emily Shaw, stole the show in the under-13s.  Emily’s track performances in the summer, and some schools cross-country wins, suggested that she could hold her own in the Hampshire League, but those performances didn’t prepare us for what we were about to see against such a good quality field.  By the end of the first lap Emily was in control at the front and went on to consolidate her position and take the win.  It was by a comfortable margin too … 16 seconds.  Charlotte Piper can be pretty pleased with her top 30 finish too, her best performance since stepping into the under-13s in the Hampshire League.  Frustratingly this was one of a number of age-groups where we were one runner shy of posting a team score.

In the under-13 boys Ollie Rawles and Joe Goodwin renewed their duel at the head of the WAC team.  Once again Ollie’s greater experience counted in his favour, but these two great friends will help to push each other to steadily improving performances.  Jay Dunn was next in, and he had a much improved run since the season opener at Canford Heath.  Making a Hampshire League debut was Ben Harwood who can also feel pretty pleased with himself … despite overloading in the build up to this race.  The boys were 10th team.

It’s in the under-15 age-group in which we have the most strength in depth.  Our best team performance of the day came from our under-15 girls.  On the back of her victory in the Wessex League, once again the team was led home by Abbie Lovering – who claimed 3rd despite being bottom of age-group!  Next in, and producing her best run since donning a red vest, was the impressive Martha Pawson.  Martha just pipped team-mate Holly Nixon.  This result signified a dramatic upturn in form from Holly since the season’s opener.  The reds continued to cross the line well-placed, with some solid scoring from Beth Kingswell-Farr, Anna Kelliher and Demi Goddard all finishing well-placed within 20 seconds of each other.  Jess Bourne’s greater commitment to training reaped rewards as she claimed 35th and Izzie impressed too, as she’s primarily a speed merchant … but improving endurance is coming too!

The under-15 boys were led home by Ben Martin on his WAC Hampshire debut.  Two seconds split the next WACers home Jack Moss-Willcox (one of his best races yet) and Max Meadwell.  Our next pairing was Jordan McGregor and Sam Hughes who were five seconds apart.  It was great to welcome Jordan back into the team; he’d last raced cross-country for WAC back in 2013 in a couple of Wessex League fixtures.  For Sam this was his very first WAC performance and gives him a solid foundation to build from.  John Gale completed our entry in the under-15boy’s race, the team finished 7th on the day.

We didn’t have a complete team in the under-17 women’s race, but the two runners we did have put in stellar performances.  Grace Copeland was 2nd and Hannah Slater 4th … what a shame we didn’t have a third scorer to claim a team score.  By any measure these are great placings against quality opposition.  The full scale of their achievements on the day is amplified when we bear in mind that both are bottom of age-group!  For Hannah you could argue that this is her finest athletic performance yet, although she did bang in a couple of impressive steeplechase races over the summer.

There were more fine WAC performances in the under-17 men’s race in a field that included a number of athletes who’d claimed England vests.  Tom Bourne took the race to the opposition and was rewarded with an excellent 2nd place.  Joey Kelliher had what was probably his best race ever to claim a top 10 finish also.  These two received solid support from the dependable Elliott Symes.  They were 4th team on the day.

We’ve got real cause for optimism for our women’s team this year.  There’s been an injection of youth and new blood into the team.  Leading Wimborne home on her XC debut for us was Emma Martin, she’s bottom of year under-20 and therefore one of the youngest runners in the women’s race.  Our second runner home was also a debutant.  It was great to see Hannah Acquah in a red vest, let’s hope she’s blazed a trail others will follow.  Hannah is the first woman stationed at Blandford Camp to sign up and compete for us in cross-country … a fine debut it was too!  Next in, and showing steadily improving form was Abbie Hine, once we’ve got Abbie firing on all six cylinders again we’ll see even greater improvements in our women’s team fortunes.  Jess Kennedy was next in, her first race in the Hampshire League, and just six days after her heroics in the Royal Parks Half Marathon.  Here’s a link to how she got on there:

Completing our team in only her second XC race for us, her first in the HXC, was Alicia Pawson.  Alicia has shown her hand; expect runs of total commitment and determination every time she pulls on a red vest.  Our senior women came 10th team.

As he did last season Ryan Walbridge, still an under-20, led the WAC men’s team home.  Last year our men won promotion as Division 3 Champions, and we’ve opened our account in Division 2 in respectable fashion … comfortably mid-table … 6th of 10.  Indeed the day started with presentations of medals awarded to last year’s top three scorers, Ryan, Pete Kingswell-Farr and Steve Wyatt.  Steve will get his medal in due course as he was unable to compete due to tendonitis.  WAC debutant Sam Shepherd (another under-20) made a valuable contribution as second man home.  Sam was a little apprehensive going in to this one, this is the furthest distance he has ever raced.  No worries!  He’s worth his weight in gold as it turns out he’s capable of carrying the team tent on his own!!  There was some jousting for position between Mark Copeland and Pete.  Pete’s fine run put him as close to Mark at the finish as he’s ever been.  Rounding out the men’s team, and racing cross-country for the first time in 30 years (!) was WAC’s (and QE School’s) Gavin Rusling.  Welcome back Gavin, we’re hoping that the next gap between races will be only a little over 20 days as we have our next race on 6 November!

For all sorts of reasons we had a remarkable day on 15 October at Farley Mount.

Results for Wimborne athletes are:

Under-11 girls (65 finishers)
47 – Imogen Rawles – 10:23

Under-13 girls (71 finishers)
1 – Emily Shaw – 12:12
28 – Charlotte Piper – 13:54

Under-13 boys (91 finishers) – 10th team
39 – Ollie Rawles – 12:43
45 – Joe Goodwin – 13:01
58 – Jay Dunn – 13:29
74 – Ben Harwood – 14:09

Under-15 girls (69 finishers) – 2nd team
3 – Abbie Lovering – 17:08
15 – Martha Pawson – 18:18
16 – Holly Nixon – 18:21
20 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 18:46
26 – Anna Kelliher – 19:00
28 – Demi-Marie Goddard – 19:04
35 – Jess Bourne – 19:33
41 – Izzie Kingswell-Farr – 20:00

Under-15 boys (59 finishers) – 7th team
14 – Ben Martin – 16:20
28 – Jack Moss-Willcox – 17:10
29 – Max Meadwell – 17:12
43 – Jordan McGregor – 17:55
45 – Sam Hughes – 18:00
58 – John Gale – 20:38

Under-17 women (41 finishers)
2 – Grace Copeland – 19:52
4 – Hannah Slater – 20:31

Under-17 men (36 finishers) – 4th team
2 – Tom Bourne – 16:13
10 – Joey Kelliher – 17:08
24 – Elliott Symes – 19:02

Senior women (143 finishers) – 10th team
36 – Emma Martin – 26:39 (11th  u20)
65 – Hannah Acquah – 29:01
81 – Abbie Hine – 30:00 (18th u20)
119 – Jessica Kennedy – 34:46|
121 – Alicia Pawson – 35:05

Senior men (263 finishers) – 5th team in Div. 2 and 8th team in Vets Div. 1
98 – Ryan Walbridge – 39:46 (19th u20)
157 – Sam Shepherd – 42:42 (23rd u20)
161 – Mark Copeland – 42:48
177 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 43:24
232 – Gavin Rusling – 47:28




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