XC awards get messy and competitive! – 29 March 2015
Ian Kennedy reports from Camouflage
afternoon of madness and mayhem paintballing at Camouflage near Hurn
brought down the curtain another successful cross-country season for
Wimborne AC. Our athletes are no less competitive when they turn their
hands to other things!
This season has been a thrilling ride for the WAC XC team. The hors
d’oevres were served up during September/October in the form of team
relay events at Rushmore Arena and Wormwood Scrubs. There were some
terrific results at these fixtures, not the least of which was Tom
Bourne recording the fastest time in his age group at Rushmore. If
anything, the under-15s (boys and girls) teams performances at Wormwood
Scrubs around a month later were even better. These results really
raised the profile of Wimborne AC, we were in there mixing it with the
biggest clubs in southern England.
opened our Wessex League account at Avon Heath in early October with
almost 40 athletes competing for us, and our first Hampshire League
fixture was at Farley Mount, where we bagged race winners in both
under-15s races, thanks to Grace Copeland and Tom Bourne.
From then onwards, there were thrills and spills all the way with
Wimborne athletes fulfilling our league fixtures in both Hampshire and
Wessex leagues and competing in the County Championships, South West
England Championships, Dorset Schools Championships, South of England
Championships, South West Schools Championships and the National
season then climaxed over two weekends in March when our elite athletes
were selected to represent
Dorset at the
Championships in Birmingham and the National Schools Championships in
Blackburn. Over the course of the season there had been four opportunities to
and to wear the coveted green county vest. An extraordinary 34 WAC
athletes managed this during the 2014/2015 season. We were the best
represented club by a margin in the Dorset team at both of the big
fixtures at the end of the season.
Having seen around two hours of paintball action we turned our attention
to presentations. There were awards from the two leagues we compete in,
the Dorset County Championships and our club awards.
league awards are based on aggregates which accumulate over the course
of the season. Wessex League awards went to:
U13G – Abbie Lovering,
2nd U15G – Lucy Ballam,
2nd U15B – Joey Kelliher,
2nd U17M – Piers Copeland,
2nd U20M – Ryan Walbridge.
two Wessex League Champions were Grace Copeland (U15) and Jason Sotheran
team performances in the Wessex League saw us finish:
7th – U11G,
1st – U13G,
2nd – U13B,
1st – U15G,
2nd – U17W,
1st – U17M.
Our senior men’s team finished 5th.
From the Hampshire League there were individual medals for:
Lucy Ballam – 5th U15,
Tom Bourne – 3rd U15
and Grace Copeland was U15s Hampshire League Champion.
took place at Canford in December and medals from this event were
presented. We had four County Champions to celebrate –
Grace Copeland (U15),
Tom Bourne (U15),
Jason Sothern (U17)
and Charlotte Bourne (U20).
three of our silver medallists had been denied top spot by their own
team mates – Lucy Ballam (U15), Piers Copeland (U17) and Becca Skeats
(U20). Bronze medals were won by Abbie Lovering (U13) and Joey Kelliher
(U15). Although we didn’t manage a county 1-2 in the under-15 boys, we
did fill four of the top five places!
Turning our attention to the club awards we started by rewarding those
who have committed to race for the team in all the league races. Wessex
Fidelity awards went to: Tom Fuller (U11); Charlie Davies, Anna Kelliher,
Fern and Tom Morrison (all U13); Joey Kelliher (U15), Jason Sotheran
(U17) and Maddie Williams (U20). Hampshire Fidelity awards were won by:
Beth Kingswell-Farr and Zach Fenwick (both U13s); Grace Copeland, Lucy
Anderson, Elise Gill, Tom Bourne (all U15s); Abbie Hine and Piers
Copeland (both U17), and seniors Mark Copeland, Richard Davies and Pete
Kingswell-Farr. Super Fidelitys are presented to the few who competed in
all league races. In 2014/15 these were: Abbie Lovering (U13),
Lucy Ballam and Michael Johnson (U15s) and senior Paul Hine.
Team of the year award was a close fought tussle with particularly
strong claims from our under-15 teams. The rising stars in the under-13
girls team edged it, however. They were Wessex League Champions, and
more than half of the county team at the Inter-Counties were from
Wimborne. The girls who represented us over the winter were: Jess
Bourne, Hannah Fairchild, Anna Kelliher, Beth and Izzie Kingswell-Farr,
Abbie Lovering, Amy Mercer, Fern Morrison, Holly Nixon and Sophia Orr.
Female Rookie of the Year Trophy went to Holly Nixon. She joined right
at the end of the track season, started well and steadily improving as
the season progressed. The corresponding trophy for the males went to
Joey Kelliher. Joey has been with us a little longer, having got a few
track meetings under his belt last summer. It’s hard to see Joey as a
rookie as we’ve seen so much of him (although this is his first XC
season), he rarely missed a training session. Holly and Joey both show a
strong desire to improve coupled with a willingness to put the work in
every week. Their performances have steadily improved over the season.
was a tough call to decide who should be awarded the ‘Most Improved
Runner’ trophies. For the girls the decision went to Lucy Ballam. Over
the course of a season most of us have good and bad races, there was
little evidence of this from Lucy who just looked better pretty well
every time she laced up her running shoes. The only real exception to
this was at English Schools where her decent enough performance for the
team didn’t fully reflect what she was capable of – she’d been off
school sick the day before the trip to Blackburn and still had a heavy
cold and had lost her voice.
‘Most Improved Male Runner’ was probably even more hotly contested. The
verdict went to Matt Yates. He’s been chasing down his team mates all
season and closing the gaps. They’ve been improving too, so he’s been
aiming at moving targets. Matt is probably wishing the cross-country
season could continue for a little longer, but we are hoping he’ll carry
this extra speed onto the track this summer. There were probably around
half-a-dozen others who could make a claim on this title, so well won
This brings us to our ‘Top Cross-Country Runners’ (both male and female)
and I guess there were no surprises here. The early season form of Tom
Bourne and Grace Copeland brought them to the attention of Athletics
Weekly where they were the featured athletes in an article headlined
‘The Wimborne Way’. Click
here for a link to that article.
Grace finished the season as Wessex League Champion, Hampshire League
Champion and Dorset County Champion (in all three she is bottom of
age-group). Tom was also County Champion in his age-group and claimed
third place in the Hampshire League against some top quality runners.
season has been well documented on the club website. ‘Reporter of the
Year’ went to Charlie Davies. He did two cracking reports from the South
of England Championships at
Brighton and the Nationals at Parliament Hill. Charlie is only 12 years-old, they
were beautifully written and required little or no input from anyone
else. Charlie wasn’t the only athlete to post a report, there was
another fine piece from Jason Sotheran on the Inter-Counties at
final trophy of the day is the silver cup – ‘The Jean Frost Trophy’.
This is awarded to someone who contributes to the team overall. The very
fact that we have so many people working together with so much
enthusiasm to achieve the best we can for the club in cross-country
makes selecting a winner a difficult decision. It’s a good problem to
have! This season’s very worth winner is Richard Davies. Richard is one
of a number who wouldn’t think twice about supporting and helping a
squad member in any way he can. He’s a qualified coach, team bus driver,
and thinks nothing of doing whatever it takes to get people to and from
training/races, and he regularly operates one of the groups in the
sessions at Blandford, and much else besides. On top of all that he was
a contender for ‘Most Improved Runner’ too!
that wraps up another successful cross-country season awards. Kerry Mapp
(from our senior men’s team), made this observation at the end of the
presentations, he said something along the lines of when he first
trained with XC squad he found it to be intensely competitive, but also
extremely supportive. That’s a good combination, and as long as we can
maintain that there will be further successes in the future.