Wimborne Athletic Club

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XC Double Header  – 7 February 2015

Ian Kennedy reports on the HXC and South West Schools Championships.


The under-15 boy’s get away from the start – Elliott and Matt amongst them

The previous Hampshire League meeting had been at Reading where, with almost 30 athletes, we recorded some terrific performances. At King’s Park it felt quite spooky as the number of athletes we had, even with the introduction of an under-11s race, was very small. The reason for this was a fixture clash with the South West Schools Cross-Country at Chippenham, which denuded us of much of the talent normally available to us.

An under-11s race was on the card with an 11.15 race time, and race entries on the day opened at 10.00. This meant an earlier arrival for me than usual, needless to say, there were few people about at that time. Getting the big red tent up on a windy day when we are there in numbers isn’t too tricky, but … I managed to get the frame up with not too much bother, but as soon as I tried to get the canvas over it I was in trouble. Norman Wisdom couldn’t have made it look any more difficult. The canvas kept filling up with wind and the guy ropes became entangled with each other. Fortunately an early arrival was Sarah Healey (with Joe – set to make his WAC XC debut in the under-11s race). I’m not sure if she ever got her camping badge with the Girl Guides, but I’d happily sign it off for her on the evidence of what I saw on Saturday! So the tent was up and we awaited the arrival some more WACers.

With the final Hampshire League meeting taking place so close to home I was hoping for significant number of under-11s to give it a go. Unfortunately this didn’t materialize and by race time we had just three ready to race. Joe, along with Ollie Rawles and Charlotte Piper. Although we didn’t have many to cheer on, those that were there gave us plenty to cheer about. The boys’ and girls’ races were run concurrently, with Joe leading our red vests home on his debut (for 13th), Ollie was just four seconds and two places behind him, having run alongside Charlotte for most of the race until a sprint in the latter stages. Charlotte finished 3rd girl, a big improvement on where she was at the start of the season in similar races in the Wessex League (11th and 12th)… a deserved reward for her for the way she has applied herself since stepping up and working with the older athletes at Blandford on Thursdays. It really was a very encouraging start to proceedings with three good performances.

The under-13 girls race has been one to watch for WACers this season, with steadily improving performances being recorded as the season has progressed. The improving form of our girls inevitably led to most of them being selected to represent Dorset and we were only able to field one athlete … Fern Morrison. Fern put in a solid performance to finish 53rd. In the season’s averages Abbie Lovering (bottom of year) was our top U13 girl in 14th, with Beth Kingswell-Farr 18th, with Fern registering at 42nd.

Not effected quite as badly by the fixture clash were the under-13 boys. We had two athletes here – Fern’s brother, Tom, and Zach Fenwick. Zach’s been missing from training recently with a heavy cold and still sounded a bit croaky. Because I wasn’t sure how fit he really was I suggested he take it steady off the start line – I didn’t notice that he paid to much attention to me! Zach led the reds home coming in the top half of the field in 21st, with Tom coming in 30th. Although Zach got the better of Tom at King’s Park, positions are reversed over the season with Tom finishing 24th in the averages and Zach 29th.

We’ve seen some stellar performances from the under-15 girls this season, as individuals and as a team. Inevitably this led to both Grace Copeland and Lucy Ballam being selected to run for Dorset. Meanwhile, Lucy Anderson was elsewhere competing in triathlon to great effect and in the process has qualified for Triathlon National Finals … well done Lucy! All of this left just Elise Gill to represent us in this race … Elise came in 62nd. The form of Grace and Lucy Ballam over the Hampshire League season has been such, that although they didn’t compete in the final race of the season they were amongst the medallists, with Grace as champion (and don’t forget she is in the lower half of the age-group) and Lucy 5th. As Lucy Ballam has become such an integral and important team member it’s quite easy to forget that this is her first full year of cross-country competition, she’s made fantastic progress. Lucy Anderson was 17th in the season’s averages with Elise 50th.

We had a couple of decent athletes in the under-15 boys race he didn’t make it this year for county selection – Matt Yates and Elliott Symes. Both claimed their highest finishing positions in the Hampshire League this season. Tom Bourne, who was on county duty, claimed a medal for 3rd place in this age group in what has been a very good season for him (including two race wins). Also showing well in the end of season averages were Michael Johnson (22nd) and Matt (23rd).

In the two under-17s races almost everyone of our regular racers were representing Dorset. This left just Tom Boulton who came in 29th. Piers Copeland finished 12th in the season’s averages (he is in the lower half of the age-group). Our best-placed athlete overall in this age-group over the course of the season was Abbie Hine, 7th under-17 woman.

In the senior women’s race it was great to see Sarah Orr back in action – her first XC race of the season. It was a performance worth waiting for too – 36th. Charlotte Bourne was easily in the top half of the field as well – coming in 54th. Charlotte finished the season 33rd in the overall women’s averages, and 12th in the under-20s averages. It was really great to see Sophia Orr at King’s Park (just as a supporter) too. She’s missed the whole of the cross-country season (as has Callum Kennedy) and we look forward to welcoming both Sophia and Callum back to competition when they are ready.

The final race of the day was the men’s, and our team had an unfamiliar look to it. Steve Wyatt was racing XC for the first time this season, Simon Hayter was making his WAC XC debut and Kerry Mapp was making his Hampshire League debut. These three were supplemented by Paul Hine and me  – Paul and I have got plenty of history with the HXC! The team was led home by Steve, with Simon and then Kerry, Paul and me claiming the final team places. Two of our runners claimed end of season averages Pete Kingswell-Farr (85th) and Paul Hine (95th), they were 39th and 51st respectively in the veterans’ lists.

As a team our senior men have struggled this year – despite a valiant effort from Ryan Walbridge who led the team home each time he ran. The problem we’ve had is that we don’t have enough younger men when the teams we are competing against do. Over the season we had 25 race finishes in the men’s category, but of those only three were recorded by someone under 40 (each time it was Ryan). In the veteran men’s league table we finished 6th in Division 1 (there are 10 clubs in that division, and another 24 clubs in Division 2). However, in the overall men’s category we were relegated from Division 2 into the basement division. Having worked our way up through the divisions in earlier years we’ve got something to work towards next year!

WACers results were:

Under-11 girls (29 finishers)

3 – Charlotte Piper – 9:12

Under-11 boys (24 finishers)

13 – Joe Healey – 9:04
15 – Oliver Rawles – 9:08

Under-13 girls (58 finishers)

53 – Fern Morrison – 14:45

Under-13 boys (47 finishers)

21 – Zach Fenwick – 12:24
30 – Tom Morrison – 12:44

Under-15 girls (62 finishers)

62 – Elise Gill – 22:37

Under-15 boys (39 finishers)

18 – Matt Yates – 14:54
26 – Elliott Symes – 15:43

Under-17 men (29 finishers)

29 – Tom Boulton – 29:39

Senior Women (119 finishers)

36 – Sarah Orr – 25:10
54 – Charlotte Bourne – 26:32

Senior Men (206 finishers) 8th team in Div. 2

82 – Steve Wyatt – 37:16
120 – Simon Hayter – 39:48
143 – Kerry Mapp – 41:54
163 – Paul Hine – 43:58
199 – Ian Kennedy – 51:42

Full results for the Hampshire League will be found at



Meanwhile at the South West Schools Championships at Chippenham


Dorset’s victorious Inter Boys team

Age groups in schools XC races differ from those in athletics clubs XC races – one advantage of this is that if you are a junior, somewhere you will be competing top of age-group. The age groups are named ‘Minors’, ‘Juniors’, ‘Intermediates’ and ‘Seniors’. These equate to under-12, under-14, under-16 and under-18.

Last year there were 13 WAC runners competing in the South West Schools Championships, 12 months on it had risen to 17.

The first six runners from each team contribute to the team score and these are shown in brackets next to the results below.

There were eye-catching performances from Abbie Lovering and Holly Nixon in the minor girls – first and third for their county.

WAC’s minor boys got a county 1-2 with Miles Willcox and Max Meadwell.

Michael Johnson was a county scorer in the Junior Boys, as was Lucy Ballam in the Inter Girls.

Dorset won the team prize in the Inter Boys with three WACers scoring team points. The team was led in with a fine performance from Piers Copeland, with Tom Bourne and Joe Kelliher also scoring for the county.

In the Seniors Abbie Hine was another county team scorer. While in the Senior Boys Jason Sotheran was first Dorset home, with Ryan Walbridge third Dorset.

WAC results from Chippenham

Minor Girls – 67 runners – Dorset team 3rd

7 – Abbie Lovering – 10:06 (1st Dorset)
18 – Holly Nixon – 10:34 (3rd Dorset)

Minor Boys – 66 runners – Dorset team 4th

16 – Miles Willcox – 9:36 (1st Dorset)
20 – Max Meadwell – 09:41 (2nd Dorset)
47 – Charlie Davies – 10:07

Junior Girls – 69 runners – Dorset team 4th

54 – Bethanie Kingswell-Farr – 13:14

Junior Boys – 66 runners – Dorset team 2nd

19- Michael Johnson (5th Dorset)
44 – Dan Baynham

Intermediate Girls – 66 runners – Dorset team 2nd

28 – Lucy Ballam (5th Dorset)
51 – Maddie Williams

Intermediate Boys – 66 runners – Dorset team 1st

3 - Piers Copeland (1st Dorset)
16 – Tom Bourne (5th
27 – Joe Kelliher (6th Dorset)
60 – Sam Davies

Senior Girls – 59 runners – Dorset team 2nd

29 – Abbie Hine (6th Dorset)

Senior Boys – 54 runners – Dorset team 3rd

4 – Jason Sotheran – 24:43 (1st Dorset)
20 – Ryan Walbridge – 26:34 (3rd Dorset)

Full results can be found at http://wiltsschoolsathletics.org/Blog


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