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Podium for Emily at the ‘Southerns’  – 27 January 2018

Ian Kennedy reports from the South of  England XC Champs

Our U15Gs team placed 5th in the South of England Champs
Holly, Fenella, Emily, Marianna and Daisy

Almost 40 of us headed off to Stanmer Park in Brighton for the South of England Cross-Country Championships. Those of us who have been involved with the WAC XC team for some time have been here before, but as our last time was in 2015, for many it was a new experience. The weather forecast was not promising, but during the early races it did look as if we were going to get away with it … but by the time the Senior Men ran conditions were horrendous!

For some of the team they were competing in their first really big championship race … this is another step up from the South West Inter-Counties, both in terms of numbers and quality of field. In the younger age-groups the field can be ten times the size of a Wessex League race! By the time we get into the under-17s and under-20s the size of the field is much reduced, but is to a very high standard. There are huge numbers in the Seniors’ races – more than a thousand – although WAC’s strength this year has been in the junior age-groups. The first four races on the day were those for the under-13 and 15s and with the shorter distances involved the races follow in quick succession.

The under-15 boys went first, with Ben Martin leading the Wimborne contingent home. This category is the one which has been most badly affected by colds and flu over the winter. Indeed, Seth Lake was a late withdrawal from the team on this occasion. The illness in the camp have led to unpredictable results, with seemingly a different finishing order each times these guys race.

Under-15 boys (232 finishers) ­– 25th team

101 – Ben Martin – 16:17
147 – Charlie Davies – 16:59
155 – Joel Green – 17:06
193 – Ollie Rawles – 17:55
212 – Josh Jack – 18:35
 

Sarah Graham ran an impressive race for 33rd to lead the reds home. Iris Courtney’s performance was particularly impressive as she is ‘year young’. There is a really strong team spirit in this age-group, I’m looking forward to seeing how our U13Gs develop over coming seasons.

Under-13 girls (222 finishers) ­– 18th team

33 – Sarah Graham – 11:50
77 – Iris Courtney – 12:24
143 – Isabella Cox – 13:03
150 – Kate Simmonds – 13:10
157 – Ruby Sargeant – 13:13
189 – Maisie Riley – 13:43
 

Tristan Green is having an impressive rookie year, he had the honour of being first Wimborne. Our U13Bs team are all relatively inexperienced (with the exception of Jay Dunn), all would have gained hugely from taking part.

Under-13 boys (260 finishers) ­– 28th team

95 – Tristan Green – 11:32
141 – Oscar Davis – 11:58
188 – Jago Smith – 12:25
207 – Teddy Mercer – 12:36
244 – Jay Dunn – 13:16

 

Our under-15 girls team delivered one of the high spots of the day. First over the line for us, and claiming an individual silver medal, was Emily Shaw ( a best ever result by a Wimborne AC athlete at these championships). There was fabulous support for Emily from her team-mates which saw the team placed 5th. All the more remarkable when four of our five are ‘year young’ and will be in the same age-group this time next year! Fenella Stanford was the only WACer all day making her club debut … something a baptism of fire. She was none the worse for the experience as five days later she won a schools race on Studland beach!

Under-15 girls (211 finishers) ­– 5th team

2 – Emily Shaw – 14:19
49 – Marianna Sawyer – 15:26
69 – Daisy Baker – 15:41
72 – Holly Nixon – 15:49
182 – Fenella Stanford – 18:09
 

After a spell where we didn’t see him too much, Dan Baynham has returned to action in fine form. He’s a great hill climber so this course really suited him.  The U17Ms team had a very experienced look to it with Elliott Symes and Zach Fenwick seasoned campaigners.

Under-17 men (169 finishers) ­

69 – Dan Baynham – 22:33
140 – Elliott Symes – 25:03
152 – Zach Fenwick – 25:57
 

As mentioned earlier the under-20s races are to a high standard with small fields. For Wimborne we only had a single runner in each of the races. We saw a really solid race from Minty Stubbs in the women’s race and for the men we had Ed Dart giving it his all.

Under-20 women (61 finishers) ­

34 – Minty Stubbs – 26:54

Under-20 men (69 finishers) ­

68 – Ed Dart – 34:52
 

Emulating the under-15 girls’ 5th team finish were our under-17s. Once again a big factor was a strong performance from our first runner home – in this case it was Grace Copeland who came 6th. This is her best result yet at a ‘Southerns’. When her supporting team-mates came in, four of them were in a cluster within 24 seconds of each other.

Under-17 women (115 finishers) ­– 5th team

6 – Grace Copeland – 18:09
63 – Amy Mercer – 20:21
70 – Hannah Slater – 20:41
71 – Anna Kelliher – 20:42
73 – Beth Kingswell-Farr – 20:45
107 – Izzie Kingswell-Farr – 23:23
111 – Yasmin Litchfield – 24:22
114 – Emma Graham – 26:18
 

Jess Kennedy was our only competitor in the women’s race. She’s now competed in consecutive ‘Southerns’, last year’s being at Parliament Hill Fields. Mike Jurd led our four men home, with Rob Rawles and Peter Kingswell-Farr separated by only 14 seconds, and club Chairman Jason Hall completing the team.

Senior women (351 finishers) ­

321 – Jess Kennedy – 50:19

Senior men (740 finishers) ­

580 – Mike Jurd – 1:16:10
667 – Rob Rawles – 1:22:16
671 – Pete Kingswell-Farr – 1:22:30
730 – Jason Hall – 1:31:36
 

It was the girls who stole the show for WAC with excellent individual performances from Emily and Grace, and fine team performances from the under-15 and under-17 teams that they were part of.

As mentioned earlier the weather closed in at the end of the meeting which left us cold, tired, wet but satisfied by a great team effort at Stanmer Park.

 

 
 

 

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