Wimborne Athletic Club

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WAC XC Awards Night  – 27 March

The last event of each cross-country season is our annual awards night. This year it was held at the Cuthbury, the home of Wimborne Town Football Club. We had an excellent turnout from our juniors, almost all those who took key roles in our season were there on the night. Having staged the awards ceremony after a skittles match last year, we moved speedily into the age of technology by setting up a Wii on the big new screen in the club. With a dancefloor and four Wii handsets working simultaneously it was great fun for those taking part (and those watching!). Apart from the dancing we also cued up golf and bowling games too.

After an hour and a half of Wii activity it was time for the awards. We started off by rounding off some unfinished business with Wessex League awards. As reported elsewhere we claimed an enormous medal haul at Kings Park at the final race of the season. Many WACers claimed their team trophies that day (under-13 girls – Wessex League Champions, Senior Men – Wessex League Champions, Veteran Men – Wessex League Champions, Women – 3rd, but a few who didn’t claimed theirs then, received theirs on awards night. We still have a few more to distribute and this will be done at the first opportunity.

You don’t win team prizes without serious commitment from team members so there is an award, the ‘Fidelity’, for those who compete in every race in each league (Wessex and Hampshire) and a special award for those who manage to compete in every race in both leagues, the ‘Super Fidelity’. Those who earned Fidelity Awards in the Wessex League were Pippa Hine, Abbie Hine, Piers Copeland, Ryan Walbridge, Paula Hine and Mark Copeland; and in the Hampshire League we had Tom Boulton, Chloe Morris, Jeff Hinsley and Ian Kennedy. Super Fidelity was achieved by Gerry, Lynn and Sharon Hutchings.

Followers of the club website will know that all cross-country team races are written up and reported on. An award was presented for ‘Cub Reporter’ to Callum Kennedy for his write-up of the Hampshire League race at Farley Mount. Thank you to all who contributed in this area, keep it coming.

Female Rookie of the Year went to Maddie Williams. Maddie only signed up with us in December, although she started training with us a little earlier than that, a very good race in the Dorset County Championships saw her selected to represent Dorset in the South-West Championships in Devon. Maddie was also selected for Dorset in the Inter-Counties Championships in Nottingham. A terrific rate of progress.

Male Rookie of the Year went to Tom Boulton. Tom’s first competitive league XC race was the first Hampshire League race. Tom’s performance in the Dorset XC Championships was impressive, 3rd under-13. He was one of two rookies in the under-13 boy category who won selection for Dorset at the South-West Championships and then the Inter-Counties, Jamie Brash also achieved this feat.

The next awards were for the ‘Most Improveds’. So many of the squad have made fantastic progress over the season, so this was a very close one to call. The female trophy was awarded to Chloe Morris. When you turn up week-in, week-out at training with the mindset and commitment that Chloe shows, you will see gains and rewards. The male trophy was won by David Long. It’s interesting to look back at a report that David wrote for the club website on the South of England XC Championships at the end of the previous season. At the time he was just finding his feet again after a very tough time with injury. It’s been a pleasure to watch him progress over this winter and leave all those frustrations and setbacks far behind him. David had raced in a 10k road race earlier in the day, so wasn’t there to collect his trophy. As if to underline his improving form though, the morning’s 10k was a new PB of 36:30.

The next award presented was to Top Female runner. This was won by Abbie Hine. Abbie came second under-13 in the Dorset County Championships, naturally that performance ensured her selection for the Dorset team where she competed in the South-West Championships and the Inter-Counties. Abbie also progressed through the qualifying rounds of schools cross-country to make it all the way to the National Schools Cross-Country Championships in Nottingham. Abbie’s season wasn’t without a few setbacks though – it’s important to listen to your body, and not to race when you are not well!

The top male runner award went to Wimborne’s own Dorset Champion (u13) – Piers Copeland. Aside from winning the County Championships, Piers became the first Wimborne AC athlete to win an individual trophy in the Hampshire League. He claimed 5th place. It is possible he might have managed even better than that, as an unfortunate fixture clash between schools and league cross-country races meant that he was unable to compete in one of the Hampshire League events. As County Champion Piers was nailed on for selection for wearing one of the green County vests. Having put in some great performances in schools cross-country he was denied a place at the ‘Nationals’ as he is not yet old enough to compete in that event.

The final trophy of the night is the Jean Frost Trophy. This is awarded in recognition of commitment to the cross-country team. It is not always awarded to a runner, it can also go to a supporter, helper or coach. This year it was presented to the Hutchings family – Gerry, Lynn, John and Sharon. Quite apart from the fact that Gerry, Lynn and Sharon all won ‘Super Fidelitys’, they have made a huge contribution not just to this season but previous ones. Gerry, Lynn and Sharon were all runners-up in their age groups in the Wessex League this year (perhaps they can go one better next time). Lynn provided the spearhead for our senior ladies team in both leagues. Sharon, having won the top female trophy for the previous two seasons, had another good year. The near ever-present attendance at the Saturday mornings of Gerry, Lynn and John has been a great asset to us. The number of juniors taking part in those sessions has really taken off over the past 12 months and the senior Hutchings family members have played a key role helping our coaches and that has been really important to all of us. Thank you.

The 2010/2011 season has been our most successful yet. The bar has been raised by our younger athletes in particular. Level of competition for the club awards is at it’s higher ever standard. Spare a thought for Ryan Walbridge – we have never before had a runner that has got all the way through to the National Schools Championships (for the second year in a row) and yet not win one of the club’s end of season awards – Ryan had been edged out of the Top Male category by Dorset Champion Piers Copeland.  The team’s improving strength in depth is shown by a record number of our juniors (10) who were selected to run for the County – Tom Boulton, Jamie Brash, Piers Copeland, Abbie Hine, Sharon Hutchings, Callum Kennedy, David Long, Chloe Morris, Ryan Walbridge and Maddie Williams.

One factor that should work in our favour for next season is that most of our junior athletes were in the lower half of their age-groups this time around. As long as they continue to show the same level of commitment and passion towards their running, the rewards should be greater for them this time next year. As the season progressed new faces started to appear at training and some of them got to race too. In the younger age groups, we have some showing real promise, perhaps exemplified by Grace Copeland who had competed in, and won, a 500m race on the track at Crystal Palace earlier in the day as part of a swim/run event.

The continuing success of the Endurance group relies on an awful lot of support in order to work. Thank you to all who have contributed in any way shape or form. I would particularly like to thank coaches, Ed Arnold, Jon Braund, Jeff Hinsley, Dan Moody and Nick Solomon for their continuing commitment to the cause.

That wraps up the 2010/2011 cross-country season, it’s been a terrific experience … now, it’s summer, must be time to get on the track!

Keep on runnin’


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