Wimborne Athletic Club

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Trading red vest for green ones! – 12 March 2016

Ian Kennedy reports from Inter-Counties XC Champs

Girl power, Dorset-style!  The under-13 girls came fourth.
Left to right: Fern Kimber, Maddy Herbert, Heidi Taylor, Demi Goddard, Abbie Lovering,
Ashia Wilson, Holly Nixon and Emilie Castagna.

It’s the busiest time of the year for Dorset’s best cross-country runners.  This year has been even crazier than usual, with three major championship races over consecutive weekends – the Nationals on 27 February, the English Schools on 5 March and the Inter-Counties on 12 March.  Two of our young athletes have competed in all three of these – Abbie Lovering and Michael Johnson, while a third, Demi Goddard, is set to join WAC at the end of this month.  That is a punishing schedule, but all three have come through unscathed and will get a brief respite before embracing the track season.

For Inter-Counties day, those of us travelling up on the morning had to drive through some mist and fog, but come race time, conditions were close to perfect.  Wimborne AC provided the largest number of athletes to the county team from a single club; we were particularly strong in the age-groups from under-13 through to under-17.

At the Inter-Counties Championships the Dorset team competes against the other English counties plus North, South, East and West Wales and Scotland East and Scotland West.  If population were the only factor, Dorset would be placed 37th overall, as will be seen from the results, in every instance where we fielded complete teams we did better than this.

The best team result of all came from our under-13 girls.  They claimed 4th place.  The team was led home by two WAC athletes – Abbie Lovering and Holly Nixon.  These two have had a fantastic last couple of weeks, signing off their cross-country seasons in style.  Abbie claimed another top 10 finish, to go with the one she got at the Nationals, whilst Holly was just outside the top 20.  They received excellent support from a squad of very promising young Dorset athletes with Emilie Castagna and Heidi Taylor (both PAC) claiming the other scoring positions.

The under-13 boys’ team finished 35th.  It was led home by two Poole AC runners – Liam Openshaw and Ben Martin.  The remainder of the team was made up entirely of Wimborne athletes.  Bragging rights amongst them went to Charlie Davies, although he was given the same time as his team mate Tom Fuller, with Max Meadwell, Jack Moss-Willcox and Josh Jack completing the team.

There was a strong Wimborne presence in Dorset’s under-15 girls’ team (4 of the 8), and the team was led home by WAC’s Grace Copeland.  For Grace this race also formed the final stage of the British Cross Challenge.  Her performance here ensured her place on the podium as runner-up in that competition.  The other point scorers for Dorset were Maddy Johnson (DAC), Lola Brown-Araujo (PuR) and WAC’s Hannah Slater.  Hannah was the first of three WAC athletes making their Inter-Counties debuts – the others being Caitlin Rogers and Amy Mercer.  The Dorset team came 20th.

The under-15 boys’ team came 27th, with the PAC pairing of Jed Skilton and Ben Lewis leading the way.  Next in was Wells City’s Luke Baker, and the final points position went to one of those on his third consecutive week of racing, WAC’s Michael Johnson.  Next in, on his Inter-Counties debut, was Elliott Symes, with Zach Fenwick the final WAC runner making the team.

The outstanding individual Dorset performance of the day was Serena O’Connor’s (PR) in the under-17 women’s race.  Serena climbed onto the podium, having come third.  This was another of the age-groups where the team performed particularly well – they came 11th.  Our other point-scorers were Bridget Dence (BAC), Minty Stubbs (WAC) and Emma Martin (PAC).  Minty’s run was remarkable, as she had started from 7th place in the pen, and so overhauled four of her own Dorset team mates amongst more than 100 others.  WAC also had Maddie Williams and Lucy Ballam in this age-group.

Second only to the under-13 girls with regards to team results was a strong-looking under-17 men’s team.  This team was led home by WAC’s Piers Copeland.  Piers has had a quiet cross-country season as he has concentrated on the indoor track meetings, and with some success … he has an England vest to show for it!  Great support for Piers came from county champion Dominic Willmore (PR), WAC team mate Tom Bourne and Sam Brown (PR).  Just outside this impressive quartet of point-scorers was WAC’s Joey Kelliher.

The under-20 women’s team was badly hit by withdrawals prior to the race, and as a result we only fielded three athletes.  However, the team did include Dorset’s top two in the age-group.  County Champion Lissie Hood (PAC) led the way for Dorset, with Mary Butler who has closed the gap considerably between the pair of them since those championships.  Completing the team was one of Mary’s training partners at Sherborne Girls, Alice Wharton.

The under-20 men’s team was the only one not to include any Wimborne athletes. Andy Smith (PR), Daniel Trickett (PAC), Fergus Johnson (IC) and Tom East (PR) were the scorers here, with Poole AC’s Niall Instone also representing the county.

The senior women’s team was led home by the BAC pairing of Nikki Sandell and Heidi Tregenza (who had returned from injury after a motorcycle accident).  Becky Neal (PAC) and Wimborne’s Sarah Orr claimed the other scoring positions.  Completing the team was BAC’s Joy Wright.

In the men’s race Jamie Grose (PAC) was first Dorset in.  The other scoring positions were claimed by Mike Gates (PAC), Steve Claxton (PR) and WAC’s Ryan Walbridge.  Ryan, although classified as an under-20 for every other cross-country race this season, found himself bumped up into the senior men’s race with the longer distance.  The team was completed by David Willcox (LMS).

All in all, more than 60 athletes represented Dorset on the day.  We had one podium – for Serena (plus another one for Grace in the British Cross Challenge), and a top 10 finish for Abbie.  Fourth place for the under-13 girls’ team was a fantastic result, and there were very good performances from the under-17 teams too – our men were 8th and women 11th.






Under-13 Girls (4th overall)
8 – Abbie Lovering (WAC) – 12:55
22 – Holly Nixon (WAC) – 13:08
47 – Emilie Castagna (PAC) – 13:25
91 – Heidi Taylor (PAC) – 13:46
109 – Ashia Wilson – (PAC) – 13:53
159 – Fern Kimber (PR) – 14:13
237 – Maddy Herbert (DAC) 14:44
297 – Demi-Marie Goddard (PAC) – 16:06

Under-13 Boys (35th overall)
99 – Liam Openshaw (PAC) – 12:42
156 – Ben Martin (PAC) – 13:00
193 – Charlie Davies (WAC) – 13:13
195 – Tom Fuller (WAC) – 13:13
228 – Max Meadwell (WAC) – 13:23
237 – Jack Moss-Willcox (WAC) – 13:25
253 – Josh Jack (WAC) – 13:32

Under-15 Girls (20th overall)
37 – Grace Copeland (WAC) – 18:13
46 – Maddy Johnson (DAC) – 18:21
109 – Lola Brown-Araujo (PuR) – 18:58
158 – Hannah Slater (WAC) – 19:27
161 – Izzy Taylor (PAC) – 19:28
191 – Caitlin Rogers (WAC) – 19:47
241 – Amy Mercer (WAC) – 30:20
246 – Lita Short (PR) – 20:25

Under-15 Boys (27th overall)
41 – Jed Skilton (PAC) – 16:55
52 – Ben Lewis (PAC) – 17:01
179 – Luke Baker (WCH) – 18:03
203 – Michael Johnson (WAC) – 18:14
262 – Elliott Symes (WAC) – 19:06
280 – Nathaniel Willmore (PR) – 19:26
290 – Zach Fenwick (WAC) – 19:54

Under-17 Women (11th overall)
3 – Serena O’Connor (PR) – 20:00
43 – Bridget Dence (
BAC) – 21:48
91 – Minty Stubbs (WAC) – 22:43
110 – Emma Martin (PAC) – 23:00
169 – Flora Johnson (DAC) – 24:02
238 – Maddie Williams (WAC) – 26:04
DNF – Lucy Ballam (WAC)

Under-17 Men (8th overall)
27 – Piers Copeland (WAC) – 20:04
47 – Dominic Willmore (PR) – 20:20
54 – Tom Bourne (WAC) – 20:28
66 – Sam Brown (PR) – 20:36
148 – Joey Kelliher (WAC) – 21:40
199 – Michael Biss (WCH) – 22:30
205 – Andrew Dumbrell (DAC) – 22:42
237 – Brandon Meredith (
BAC) – 23:49

Under-20 Women
46 – Lissie Hood (PAC) – 24:13
51 – Mary Butler (WAC) – 24:26
137 – Alice Wharton (SG) – 29:26

Under-20 Men (15th overall)
69 – Andy Smith (PR) – 30:42
73 – Daniel Trickett (PAC) – 30:49
83 – Fergus Johnson (IC) – 31:07
101 – Tom East (PR) – 31:41
150 – Niall Instone (PAC) – 35:15

Senior Women
140 – Nikki Sandell (BAC) – 35:23
143 – Heidi Tregenza (BAC) – 35:26
226 – Becky Neal (PAC) – 38:40
230 – Sarah Orr (WAC) – 39:01
234 – Joy Wright (BAC) – 39:24

Senior Men
60 – Jamie Grose (PAC) – 41:29
200 – Mike Gates (PAC) – 45:39
234 – Steve Claxton (PR) – 47:21
245 – Ryan Walbridge (WAC) – 47:55
256 – David Wilcox (LMS) – 49:28

BAC – Bournemouth Athletic Club
DAC – Dorchester Athletic Club
IC – Imperial College
LMS – Lytchett Manor Striders
PAC – Poole Athletic Club
PR – Poole Runners
PuR – Purbeck Runners
SG – Sherborne Girls
WAC – Wimborne Athletic Club
WCH – Wells City Harriers      



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