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Abbie and Grace star at King’s Park – 5 December 2015

Ian Kennedy reports from Hampshire League Cross-Country

Abbie Lovering had her best race so far at King’s Park

Gusty conditions welcomed the red army at King’s Park for race 3 in the Hampshire League.  It was an earlier start than usual, with the addition of two under-11s races a full hour earlier than the regular Hampshire League programme.

For the second meeting in succession our U11 girls’ team was led home by Katie Warrack, she had great support from Katie and Lucie Simmonds.  For the boys, our first runner was Joe Healey who was placed 8th (his best run for some time), and our team was completed by Freddie Warrack and Jamie Slade.  A big thank you to Bournemouth AC and Team Dorset who combined forces to stage these extra races enabling our youngest runners to compete.

The regular programme commenced with the under-13 girls race.  What a start!  Abbie Lovering went in to the race with sky high confidence after an emphatic win two days earlier in the schools PEDSSA races.  Subsequent events showed this confidence was justified.  Abbie was in the lead group in the early part of the race and cannily stayed off the very front when running into the fierce headwind.  Once the girls got to a point near some bushes where there was some protection from the weather she made her move.  There was still probably around 1k to go, so from here onwards it was about total commitment all the way to the line.  Four runners had broken away at the front of the field and Abbie was taking the race to them.  Her bravery was almost rewarded with a race win, she had to settle for 2nd place just a second behind Charlie Parsons of AFD.  This is far and away Abbie’s best XC race so far.  Whilst all this drama was going on at the very top of the race, Holly Nixon was quietly having the race of her life too.  Holly claimed 6th place, all the more remarkable as she was completely out of action from May to October … clearly there is much more to come!  Our third place runner was Charlotte Piper in 36th, this meant that all three of our point scorers had recorded their highest ever Hampshire League finishes.  Ella Jeffery completed our team, and for Ella it was a race of consolidation after a series of steadily improving results.  These fine performances brought us 4th place for the team on the day, only AFD, Reading and Southampton were ahead of us so we’d taken some big scalps.

The under-13 boys is another age-group that has provided real excitement at the races this year, and so it was again.  Great friends Max Meadwell and Charlie Davies were scrapping it out inside the top 10 for the honour of being the first WACer home.  Max took it by two seconds.  Our third point scorer was Josh Jack who had reduced the gap on our first guys home since the last race at Yeovil.  Next in was the pairing of Ollie Rawles (fresh off the back of an excellent race in the PEDSSAs) and Matt Lissenburg.  Matt’s been training with us for a while but he wasn’t signed up as a WACer until 1st December.  It was worth the wait, Matt ran in this race having only just turned 11, so he has another two years in this age-group … watch this space!  Ned Simmonds completed the U13 boys’ team.  The team finished the day placed 8th.

One of our strongest age-groups this season has been our under-15 girls, and this continued at King’s Park.  Grace Copeland delivered our second 2nd place of the day in what was quite possibly her best performance of the current XC season so far.  Hannah Slater was next red home in 12th, her best placing yet in an HXC race.  We’ve got strength in depth in this age-group so we’re never quite sure which order our girls will come in.  The honour of being the final point scorer this time went to Beth Kingswell-Farr, she had to work very hard for it though, as Caitlin Rogers wasn’t too far away!  Anna Kelliher would normally be in the mix with these too, but on this occasion she got off to an unusually slow start, only to tear through the field in the later stages.  She didn’t quite catch the two team-mates ahead of her.  Izzie Kingswell-Farr completed the U15 team. It had been a fantastic team performance, we finished 3rd team, with only Southampton and Portsmouth ahead of us.

With ‘Desperate’ Dan Baynham temporarily out of action with a broken wrist (speedy recovery Dan) we had only two runners in the under-15 boys’ race.  First home with his third top 20 finish of the season was Michael Johnson.  Elliott Symes had easily his best HXC of the season so far for his 24th place.

In the under-17 women’s race, Lucy Ballam’s fine season continued with another top 10 performance.  Team-mate Maddie Williams is having one of her best winters ever, and she produced a season’s best finish for 12th here.  Our only finisher in the under-17 men’s race was Sam Davies with a typically gutsy performance.  This race brought our first disappointment/setback with Joey Kelliher pulling up with a hamstring problem.  Fortunately he stopped as soon as he realised that things weren’t right, and his smart thinking gives him a better chance of being fit for the County Championships … we have our fingers crossed for him.

The senior women’s team was led in by Abbie Hine (40th) looking resplendent with red and black ribbons in her hair.  Sarah Orr (who was a race winner in the last Wessex League meeting) was competing in her first Hampshire race of the season, and she was next home.  The final team-scoring place was claimed by Jess Kennedy on her Hampshire League debut.  This is the first time this season we’ve recorded a women’s team score, and it was a very respectable one, 13th of 20.

The senior men’s team was once more led home by Ryan Walbridge and good support came from Steve Wyatt, Mark Copeland, Pete Kingswell-Farr and Simon Hayter.  Spare a thought for Paul Hine though.  He’d started the season targeting a ‘Super Fidelity’ award (for competing in every Hampshire and Wessex race).  Those hopes were scuppered here as he was another to fall to a hamstring problem.  Hopefully he won’t be out of action for too long.  Our men’s team is in Division 3 of the Hampshire League, we out-performed our rivals in the division at King’s Park to go four points clear at the top of the table.  Two more solid performances in the remaining fixtures should secure our promotion into Division Two next season.

All in all, a fine day’s work at King’s Park, as we head off to the County Championships.

Full results from the Hampshire League will be found at: http://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/events/hxcl.html

Results

U11 girls – 31 runners

14 – Katie Warrack – 10:00
20 – Kate Simmonds – 10:24
24 – Lucie Simmonds – 10:29

U11 boys – 31 runners

8 – Joe Healey – 8:48
19 – Freddie Warrack – 9:49
24 – Jamie Slade – 10:22

U13 girls – 57 runners – 4th team

2 – Abbie Lovering – 11:54 – 4th in standings
6 – Holly Nixon – 12:26
32 – Charlotte Piper – 13:45
48 – Ella Jeffery – 14:52

U13 boys – 8th team – 60 runners – 5th team

8 – Max Meadwell – 11:26 – 7th in standings
9 – Charlie Davies – 11:28 – 10th in standings
36 – Josh Jack – 12:24
43 – Ollie Rawles– 13:01
44 – Matt Lissenburg – 13:13
59 – Ned Simmonds – 15:29

U15 girls – 3rd team – 59 runners – 3rd team

2 – Grace Copeland – 14:58 – 2nd in standings
12 – Hannah Slater – 16:15
22 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 16:41
22 – Caitlin Rogers – 16:48
27 – Anna Kelliher – 17:12
48 – Izzie Kingswell-Farr – 18:47

U15 boys – 50 runners

17 – Michael Johnson – 14:28
24 – Elliott Symes – 14:57

U17 women – 34 runners

7 – Lucy Ballam – 15:58 – 7th in standings
12 – Maddie Williams – 16:35

U17 men – 34 runners

27 – Sam Davies – 23:02

Senior women – 13th team – 127 runners

40 – Abbie Hine – 25:20 (16th U20)
48 – Sarah Orr – 25:41
118 – Jessica Kennedy – 33:09

Senior men – 1st team Div. 3, 7th Vets team Div 1 – 32 runners

58 – Ryan Walbridge – 35:27 (14th U20)
94 – Steve Wyatt – 37:14
130 – Mark Copeland – 39:13
147 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 40:40
165 – Simon Hayter – 42:04

 


 

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