Wimborne Athletic Club

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Grace is a  South-West XC Champion – 5 January 2014

Reporting from the South-West Championships at Killerton.

Grace on her way to becoming a South West XC Champion

We’ve been looking forward to the South West Championships, but the week leading up to the event was an anxious one. With heavy rainfall and numerous flood warnings issued for south-west England, would the event be on? If it was on would be able to get there? Thankfully the rain stopped around lunchtime on Saturday and the threat of flooding was reduced. In fact the night before the race was a clear one, which brought a different potential hazard … ice! As morning broke we were greeted with a spectacular sunrise. We weren’t to know it, but we also witnessed the worst flooding of the day immediately around Wimborne. The sharp drop in temperature overnight meant that the battery on the minibus was flat and jump leads were required before we could set off.

Having hit the road, we encountered few delays, the rain and wind was due to return around 10am, which was the time we were aiming to be at Killerton. We just about got the tent up before the first serious rain fell, thankfully the wind was less strong than forecast. Killerton House was a new cross-country venue, and it’s a beautiful setting for a race. It does have a couple of mighty hills on the course, add to this Devon’s sticky red clay there was no doubt this was going to be a severe test. On arrival the terrain was in surprisingly good condition, it didn’t take too long before the course and the area around the start/finish turned into a gloopy mess!

The event started with the under-11s races. It was great to see some of Dorset’s youngest cross-country runners (and their parents) make the commitment to travel a much longer distance than usual, especially with such uncertain road conditions. The boys went first with Ryan Symington of Poole Runners (PR) the best-placed Dorset runner (4th) replicating the form he’s shown in the Wessex League in the past three months. Just 10 seconds back was Max Meadwell (8th) who has been the star of Wimborne’s under-11s Wessex League team over the winter. In fact, the next four Dorset athletes were all Wimborne-based with Charlie Davies (20th), Jack Moss-Wilcox (29th) and Max’s younger brother Gus (34th). There were less Dorset girls in the under-11s race, but high-flying Abbie Lovering was first Dorset runner home (6th) with Libby Howse and Indy Silcox (both PR) coming 15th and 23rd respectively. In the under-11s race the runners had worn their club colours, for all the remaining races county vests would predominate.

The championships races commenced with the under-13 girls’ race. Wimborne’s big hope for a South West Champion was Grace Copeland. It was a competitive race with the front three – Grace, Sophie Jones of Taunton and Laura McNab of Team Bath – breaking away. Laura took a terrible tumble (this was to become a recurring theme throughout the day) and subsequently she lost ground on Grace and Sophie. Grace claimed her win with a winning margin of nine seconds – a very good start to Dorset’s day. Maddy Johnson of Dorchester AC (DAC) was next Dorset in (18th), in fact both the Copeland and Johnson families were set to enjoy days to remember as older siblings would race later. The next four Dorset runners were all Wimborne AC, led by Jessica Bourne (29), Bethanie and Isabelle Kingswell-Farr (32nd & 42nd) and Fern Morrison (44th). Completing the team were Emily Jeffries of Poole AC (PAC) (45th) and WAC’s battling Elise Gill (53rd) fighting all the way to the line.

In the under-13 boys the top two at the Dorset County Championships reversed positions here, with Dorset’s best being Wimborne’s Liam Murphy-Parry, just six seconds ahead of Jed Skilton (PAC). There was a strong run from Poole Runners’ Ben Wedlake who finished four seconds ahead of WAC’s Michael Johnson (20th & 21st). Then it was Harrison Jones of Wells City Harriers (WCH) who was 32nd. Oliver Howse (PR) and Elliott Symes (WAC) were next in – 37th and 40th respectively. The team was completed by Tom Morrison (WAC) and Nat Willmore (PR) – 51st & 60th. The U13Bs Dorset team had given a good account of themselves, but finished just outside the medal positions.

Leading the under-15 girls team home was Bournemouth AC’s Bridget Dence (BAC) – 6th. Rachael Jeffries  of Poole AC made up for a disappointing run in the County Championships when she wasn’t 100% fit, and was our next finisher (14th). The Dorchester pairing of Flora Johnson and Shelby Cross (18th & 22nd) were next, ahead of the Wimborne pair of Lucy Ballam and Maddie Williams (25th & 32nd). Completing the team were Olivia Foyce (DAC) and Natasha Jones (WCH) – 35th & 46th. This was another age-group where we narrowly missed out on medalling as a team.

We were back in the medal positions in the next race (under-15 boys). Piers Copeland (WAC) ran superbly, finishing third to claim his bronze medal. With Wimborne’s Tom Bourne also in the top 10, and Ash Parker (PAC) and Dominic Willmore (PR) in the top 20 we were able to claim silver medals in the team competition. Michael Biss 28th (WCH) – Andrew Dumbrell 38th (DAC) – Alex Jeffries 45th (PAC) – Sam Davies 47th (WAC) – Matt Yates 50th (WAC) – Hugh Ireland 54th (DAC) and Tom Boulton 59th (WAC) completed the county’s representation in this age-group.

The next race was run out of age-group order – it was the seniors. The men went first and the, almost, 9k they had to run would have been a severe test over the hilly terrain and heavy ground. First in for Dorset was WAC’s Callum Kennedy in 27th (he was 8th under-20). The other points scorers for the team were Mark Copeland (WAC), rounding off a great day for the Copelands, and Neil Biss (WCH). Next in was Iain Donnelly (WAC) who had pulled on a Dorset county vest for the first time. Dorchester AC made a major contribution to the men’s team with Adam Gough, Clint Cornick, Nick Ireland and Nigel Furness all competing, alongside Simon Arnold (WCH), Pete Kingswell-Farr (WAC) and Pete Cornes of Poole AC.

Iain Donnelly – a great servant to the club, having completed his last event
for us as a first claim WAC runner as he has now moved out of the area

In the women’s race we had but one solitary runner – the indefatigable Maddy Vaughan-Johncey of Poole AC who came in 73rd.

We had two races to go – the under-17s, with the men going first. We packed three into the top 10 here – 7th Andy Smith (PR), 8th Fergus Johnson (DAC) and Ryan Walbridge (9th). With Jason Sotheran (WAC) some 20-odd seconds back in 14th it was enough for Dorset to claim the bronze medal for the team. The Dorset team was completed by Liam Ackerman (DAC) and Josh Downie (WAC).

The final race of the day was the under-17 women. Lissie Hood of Poole AC ran really well to claim the county’s final medal of the day – a silver medal for second place. The remaining point scoring positions for the county were all claimed by WAC athletes – Abbie Hine (14th), Ella Hearne (17th) and Charlotte Bourne (20th). The team was completed by Leanne Symington (PR) in 22nd and Becca Skeats (WAC) in 28th.

The racing was done and it was time to pack up, everything seemed to be covered in sticky wet red clay. It had rained for most of the day, but the high winds forecast didn’t really materialise until we were on our way home. Dorset had seen some very good individual performances  - in particular the three top 3 finishes from Grace and Piers Copeland (WAC) and Lissie Hood (PAC) … and then there were the team medals for our under-15 boys and under-17 men, with near misses for team medals from the under-13 boys and under-15 girls. In the senior categories it was disappointing that we had only one woman competing – Maddy Vaughan-Johncey, and our men’s team only had two runners in it who weren’t veterans, which was always going to make it very difficult to be competitive against counties who are able to field a full team of 20/30 year-olds.

Dorset results

Under-11 girls (24 runners)

7 – Abbie Lovering (WAC) – 6:00
15 – Libby Howse (PR) – 6:36
23 – Indy Silcox (PR) – 7:06

Under-11 boys (42 runners)

4 – Ryan Symington (PR) – 5:16
8 – Max Meadwell (WAC) – 5:26
20 – Charlie Davies (WAC) – 6:??
29 – Jack Moss-Wilcox (WAC) – 6:27
34 – Gus Meadwell (WAC) – 6:58
41 – Toby Singh (PR) – 10:48
42 – Charlie Singh (PR) – 10:5?

Under-13 girls (53 runners)

1 – Grace Copeland  (WAC) – 11:53 – SOUTH WEST XC CHAMPION
18 – Maddy Johnson  (DAC) –14:??
29 – Jessica Bourne (WAC) –  14:34
32 – Bethanie Kingswell-Farr (WAC) –  14:4?
42 – Isabelle Kingswell-Farr (WAC) – 15:34
44 – Fern Morrison (WAC) – 15:38
45 – Emily Jeffries (PAC) – 16:01
53 – Elise Gill (WAC) –  18:55

Under-13 boys (64 runners)

14 – Liam Murphy-Parry  (WAC) –  12:21
17 – Jed Skilton (PAC) – 12:27
20 – Ben Wedlake (PR) – 12:34
21 – Michael Johnson (WAC) – 12:38
32 – Harrison Jones (WCH) – 12.59
37 – Oliver Howse (PR) – 13:09
40 – Elliott Symes (WAC) –  13:13
51 – Tom Morrison (WAC) –  14:01
60 – Nat Willmore (PR) – 14:35

Under-15 girls (50 runners)

6 – Bridget Dence (BAC) – 17:52
14 – Rachael Jeffries (PAC) – 18:49
18 – Flora Johnson (DAC) – 19:09
22 – Shelby Cross (DAC) – 19:21
25 – Lucy Ballam (WAC) –19:3?
32 – Maddie Williams (WAC) –20:42
35 – Olivia Foice (DAC) – 21:09
46 – Natasha Jones (WCH) – 22:12

Under-15 boys (60 runners) – U15Bs TEAM – SILVER MEDALLISTS

3 – Piers Copeland (WAC) –  15:54 –  SOUTH WEST BRONZE MEDALLIST
10 – Tom Bourne (WAC) –  16:26
17 – Ash Parker (PAC) – 16:39
18 – Dominic Willmore (PR) – 16:4?
28 – Michael Biss (WCH) – 17:45
38 – Andrew Dumbrell (DAC) – 18:26
45 – Alex Jeffries (PAC) – 19:06
47 – Sam Davies  (WAC) –  19:09
50 – Matt Yates (WAC) – 19:27
54 – Hugh Ireland (DAC) – 19:36
59 – Tom Boulton (WAC) –  23:34

Senior men (136 runners)

27 – Callum Kennedy (WAC) – 34:3? (8th under-20M)
85 – Mark Copeland (WAC) – 40:32
88 – Neil Biss (WCH) – 41:21
95 – Iain Donnelly (WAC) – 42:11
97 – Adam Gough (DAC) – 42:23
110 – Clint Cornick (DAC) – 43:53
111 – Simon Arnold (WCH) – 44:1?
116 – Peter Kingswell-Farr (WAC) – 45:??
117 – Nick Ireland (DAC) – 45:16
129 – Nigel Furness (DAC) – 48:08
134 – Pete Cornes (PAC) – 53:04

Senior women (81 runners)

73 –  Maddy Vaughan-Johncey (PAC) – 34:12

Under-17 men (33 runners) – U17M TEAM – BRONZE MEDALLISTS

7 – Andy Smith (PR) – 22:13
8 – Fergus Johnson (DAC) – 22:14
9 – Ryan Walbridge (WAC) – 22:21
13 – Jason Sotheran (WAC) – 22:49
22 – Liam Ackerman (DAC) – 24:48
25 – Josh Downie (WAC) – 25:15

Under-17 women (28 runners) – 1st team

2 – Elisabeth Hood (PAC) – 22:4? – SOUTH WEST SILVER MEDALLIST
14 – Abbie Hine (WAC) – 25:14
17 – Ella Hearne (WAC) – 26:3?
20 – Charlotte Bourne (WAC) – 27:31
22 – Leanne Symington (PR) – 27:4?
28 – Rebecca Skeats (WAC) – 31:56

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