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WACers at Prospect Park, Reading – 16 January 2016

Ian Kennedy reports from Hampshire League Cross-Country

Our U15Gs waiting on the start line - Hannah, Izzie, Elise, Beth and Caitlin

The fourth Hampshire League race of the season saw, by recent standards, a slimmed-down red army.  One of the reasons for this was no doubt the huge turnout we had just two days earlier in the Dorset County Schools Championships at King’s Park.

The first red vests in action were those of our under-11 boys – Freddie Warrack and Thomas Jeffery.  Freddie improved significantly over the performance he’d put in at the previous meeting to achieve his best result of the season – 12th.  Thomas Jeffery also improved on his only Hampshire League race this season.

Our under-13 girls are always exciting to watch, with SW England Champion Holly Nixon, and County Champion Abbie Lovering leading the team home.  Holly was ahead of Abbie … a turn-around from their positions in the County Schools race just two days earlier.  Our twin spearhead is receiving ever-more support from two runners who are both in the lower end of the age-group – Charlotte Piper and Ella Jeffery.  These two look better and more confident each time they compete.  Stepping into the under-13s race for the first time was Katie Warrack.  She’s just reached her 11th birthday.  This race provided valuable experience for Katie, and the extra distance did not faze her.  Overall the team scored a fourth place finish.  Abbie is 3rd in the season’s averages with Holly 8th.

We only had three runners in the under-13 boys’ race.  So everyone was going to be needed for the team score.  Charlie Davies’s fine season continued here.  He was first red in; his 9th place finish equalled his best in the Hampshire League this season.  Charlie currently lies 8th in the season averages.  Tom Fuller was next home, 30th.  Tom was slow off the start, but looked very good in the second part of the race, making up many places.  Scoring in the important 3rd place for the team was another runner, Joe Healey, stepping up from the under-11s having also recently reached his 11th birthday.  Good experience for Joe as he (and Katie) are both competing at Parliament Hill in two weeks time.  With only one runner in the team top of age-group, coming 4th team was a remarkable achievement.

Our under-15 girls’ team are champions of South-West England, and three of the four who won that championship were in attendance at Reading.  Hannah Slater had the honour of being first red across the line, but she certainly had to work for it.  The fast-improving Caitlin Rogers has been working her way up through the field in recent races.  Hannah led all the way until briefly in the final few yards.  Then from somewhere Hannah found something extra.  These two crossed the line so close together that they were awarded the same time.  Capturing the valuable final scoring position was Beth Kingswell-Farr; we were 4th team on the day.  Next in was Izzie Kingswell-Farr having her best Hampshire race this season.  Completing our team was Elise Gill in her first HXC race this term.

Our under-15 boys Michael Johnson and Elliott Symes have been ever-presents in the Hampshire League this year.  For Michael it was his best HXC race of the season, after what has been a pretty remarkable eight days for him.  The previous Saturday he’d PB-ed over 800 and 1500m at his first indoor meeting, and on Thursday he put in a fine performance at the Dorset Schools Championships.  Elliott also had a good race, only once this season has he had a higher finish position than he attained here.

It was in the upper age-groups where the team was particularly sparsely-populated.  In the two under-17s races we only had one runner.  This was Maddie Williams, she had a very good day at the Schools Championships two days earlier and her good run of form continued here.  Maddie equalled her season’s-best finish in the Hampshire League – 12th.

Although we had no under-17 men at Reading, it didn’t mean that they were all taking the weekend off!  Piers Copeland was saving himself for the South of England Indoor Athletics Championships at Lea Valley.  Piers, despite being bottom of age-group, led his race there from start to finish and is now South of England Indoor Champion for u20 1500m.

We’ve had terrific turnout in the women’s race compared to previous seasons, but this time around we had just the one runner … Abbie Hine.  Abbie was 45th overall and 13th under-20.

The men’s team was also depleted.  Ryan Walbridge, as he’s done all season led our men home.  This may well have been Ryan’s best performance of the season; it certainly gave him his highest finish in an HXC race this term, both in the overalls and the under-20s category.  The dependable Pete Kingswell-Farr was next home, but he was kept honest by team-mate Mike Jurd making his WAC cross-country debut.  Our final finisher was Paul Hine.  We started to get concerned about Paul as he dropped many places on the final lap.  He’d developed a calf strain but did manage to finish.  Also on the start line had been Richard Davies, but unfortunately Richard pulled up with a hamstring problem on the opening lap.

The final Hampshire League race of the season will take place at Dibden Inclosure in the New Forest on 13 February.  We’re looking forward to this one, as it is a new venue for us.

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


U11 boys – 28 runners

11 – Freddie Warrack – 11:19
23 – Thomas Jeffery – 12:31

U13 girls – 66 runners – 4th team

4 – Holly Nixon – 11:34 – 8th in standings
5 – Abbie Lovering – 11:39 – 3rd in standings
29 – Charlotte Piper – 12:51
43 – Ella Jeffery – 13:33
64 – Katie Warrack – 15:24

U13 boys – 60 runners – 4th team

9 – Charlie Davies – 11:05 – 8th in standings
30 – Tom Fuller – 12:00
52 – Joe Healey – 13:19

U15 girls –58 runners – 4th team

12 – Hannah Slater – 13:14
13 – Caitlin Rogers – 13:14
26 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 13:46
45 – Izzie Kingswell-Farr – 15:09
58 – Elise Gill – 18:08

U15 boys – 52 runners

12 – Michael Johnson – 14:09
29 – Elliott Symes – 14:57

U17 women – 33 runners

12 – Maddie Williams – 16:59

Senior women – 117 runners

45 – Abbie Hine – 24:02 (13th u20)

Senior men – 166 runners

40 – Ryan Walbridge – 32:29 (9th u20)
112 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 37:52
117 – Mike Jurd – 38:17
161 – Paul Hine – 49:56

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