Wimborne Athletic Club

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Girl Power at Popham – 3 December 2016

Ian Kennedy reports from the Hampshire League

Under-15 girls, strength in depth: Abbie, Izzie, Martha, Beth, Holly, Anna and Demi

The day was dry and cool for this year’s trip to Popham in the Hampshire League.  It’s a really good venue for spectating races, and although there are no major climbs, it is still quite a demanding course.  A number of our key people were unavailable, and by our recent standards we only had a modest number of runners competing.  This affected our ability to field complete teams in some age-groups.  Amongst the few teams we did have, there were some impressive performances, and what was the performance of the day came from a race where we only had one athlete.

The first action for WAC was in the under-13 boys’ race.  We had a healthy six red vests on the start line for this one.  Tom Fuller, currently on a run of good form, led our boys home.  Next in was Joel Green, an impressive performance as Joel is only just returning from injury.  Our under-13 double-act, Ollie Rawles and Joe Goodwin, were next over the line.  There is so little between these two highly committed young athletes, on this occasion only two seconds!  Next was Ben Harwood, with a very respectable performance.  He ran the following day too, coming second in the Moors Valley Junior Parkrun.  Also on the start line was Jay Dunn.  Jay probably covered 75% of the course, but he was definitely a little out of sorts and had to pull up.  Jay’s a resilient character and he’ll bounce back.

The under-15 girls are our strongest age-group in cross-country this season.  Even though there were a few of our talented squad unavailable, we still had a formidable looking team.  A typically determined performance from Abbie Lovering saw her claim 5th place on the day.  In the averages, after three races, she is placed 4th.  There was very spirited competition for the right to be next red home.  That accolade eventually went to Anna Kelliher, but she had to come from behind to catch both Martha Pawson and Holly Nixon, both of them ran well.  We had another pairing in 31st and 32nd places, Demi Goddard and Beth Kingswell-Farr, they were split by a single second.  Izzie Kingswell-Farr completed the team.  This competition within the squad is having a fantastic impact on the overall team performance.  The girls were in buoyant mood post-race.  It had been a fine performance, 3rd on the day, and sitting pretty in the league in 2nd place, and it was also Holly’s birthday, so there was a spirited rendition of Happy Birthday to You followed by well-earned cake inside the team tent!

For the under-15 boys, Ben Martin was first WACer, but didn’t quite maintain the high standards he’d set in his first two Hampshire League races.  Having said that he lies an impressive 12th in the league averages.  The only company Ben had was from Jack Moss-Willcox … so no team score.  Jack was 36th on the day.

Compared to the ‘crazy gang’ atmosphere of the under-15 girls, Hannah Slater was out there on her own in the under-17s race, but she produced what was the WAC performance of the day.  Hannah is drawing a steadily improving curve on the graph.  One particularly appealing aspect that impresses is the quiet confidence with which she gets the job done.  Hannah recorded a fine 3rd place on the day, and is 3rd in the averages.

There were just two WAC runners in the under-17 men’s race.  Joey didn’t quite hit the heights he’d managed in the first two Hampshire races this season, but he was still first WACer home.  His partner in crime in this age-group was Matt Yates.  Matt has been concentrating on biathlons in recent months, but he’s returned to cross-country in very fine form indeed.

The WAC senior women’s team has engendered a fantastic esprit de corps and this is paying dividends.  The team was led in by Emma Martin who seems to race better each time she laces her shoes up.  She currently lies 7th in the season’s averages in a very competitive under-20 age-group … but it’s not just Emma who has caught alight.  Every one of our women’s team – Abbie Hine, Hannah Acquah, Jessica Kennedy and Alicia Pawson – all recorded their highest personal finishes of the season.  This had a knock-on effect on the team score.  The 6th place recorded for the team on the day is our best ever in the Hampshire League.  Combining the 6th place, with the healthy scores of 10th and 8th from the first two races puts us in 6th place in the league.  When you look at the size of the clubs above us in the league – Aldershot, Farnham & District; Winchester; Reading; Southampton; Bournemouth – it really gives an idea of what an achievement this is.

It felt very odd watching a men’s race with only two red vests in it.  The ever-dependable Ryan Walbridge and Pete Kingswell-Farr did the honours for WAC.  We can’t afford another low turnout like that in the next race or else our position in Division 2 could be in jeopardy.

We missed quite a few athletes at Popham, but where we did field complete teams they did score well: with the under-13 boys 5th, under-15 girls 3rd, and our senior women 6th.

Results for Wimborne athletes:

Under-13 boys (76 finishers) – 5th team
17 – Tom Fuller – 11:13
25 – Joel Green – 11:35
36 – Ollie Rawles – 11:51
40 – Joe Goodwin – 11:53
57 – Ben Harwood – 12:19

Under-15 girls (57 finishers) – 3rd team
5 – Abbie Lovering – 14:41
14 – Anna Kelliher – 15:20
16 – Martha Pawson – 15:23
18 – Holly Nixon – 15:30
32 – Demi-Marie Goddard – 16:19
33 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 16:20
50 – Izzie Kingswell-Farr – 18:10

Under-15 boys (52 finishers)
22 – Ben Martin – 14:07
36 – Jack Moss-Willcox – 14:50

Under-17 women (31 finishers)
3 – Hannah Slater – 21:01

Under-17 men (41 finishers)
12 – Joey Kelliher – 18:05
17 – Matt Yates – 18:49

Senior women (123 finishers) – 6th team
21 – Emma Martin – 24:18 (6th U20)
52 – Abbie Hine – 26:29 (15th U20)
55 – Hannah Acquah – 26:37
96 – Jessica Kennedy – 30:17
107 – Alicia Pawson – 32:56

Senior men (191 finishers)
66 – Ryan Walbridge – 37:43 (16th U20)
134 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 42:12

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