Written by SD
Susanne's reflections on another typical cross-country morning on the picturesque Downs.
2nd Downs Leagues XC match on St. Nicholas’ day 6th December 2009 –
Chocolate Santas, great runs by our K&P squad, and another comprehensive win by our U15s.
With a torrential downpour an hour before the first race, anxious parents were inquiring whether the races would take place. But, XC races almost always do… And so athletes started to gather on the Epsom Downs at 10:30, to see whether a run or rather a swim laid ahead of them.
The U11 were to start first, with 43 runners almost as big a field as the last time. Yet, disappointingly, quite a few of our U11 athletes failed to show up. So it was left to Gian Hobbs, Mollie O’Sullivan and in her first outing in a XC race, Stephanie Mitchell, to carry the K&P colours. Gian had a terrific run and led the team home in 16th place (10th boy), just behind Josh Webb who represented his school team from Hinchley Wood Primary. A smashing run brought Mollie to 18th place (7th girl), and she is now 5th in the overall girl’s rankings. Stephanie had a brilliant run, too, finishing 32nd (11th girl), ahead of Nina Gibbins (34th / 13th girl) who also ran for Hinchley Wood Primary. Being penalised for not having a complete team, our team score was, unfortunately, lamentable. We are still in fourth place, but with a score of 167 points quite far behind third-placed Hinchley Wood PS (76 points), 2nd-placed Sutton & District (73 points) and leading Epsom and Ewell (70 points), and in danger of being overtaken by Long Ditton and St. Mary’s School (190 points). Hopefully, though, we are clear of Holland Sports (249 points), Hurst Park Primary (332 points) and Thames Turbo (339 points). Yet whatever the team score, this should not take anything away from our U11s who came out on the day to show their speed, endurance, and power of will - they were fantastic!
For the U13 race, the skies began to turn blue. Yet the wind was picking up, suggesting it was not the day for PBs. However, a brilliant team effort brought us to second place on the day, with 41 points just 2 points behind the winner Croydon! As a result we climbed up the leader board to 3rd place overall. Joe Mallet, going from strength to strength, brought the team home in 5th place (4th boy). Joe Lavender, being a regular U11 runner last season, showed that he can cope ever so well with the longer U13 course, and finished 10th (9th boy). He was closely traced by Oliver Phelps, who had a much better paced run than last time and came 12th (10th boy). Ella Shaw is the runner to celebrate a new PB. She finished 14th (4th girl), just ahead of Laura Cook (15th / 5th girl), new member Laura Dunkling (16th/ 6th girl) and Amy Gooch (21st / 8th girl). Overall, Joe Malett is 4th in the boys’ rankings, 1 point behind the 3rd. In the girls rankings, Laura Cook is 3rd, and Ella Shaw just 1 point behind in 4th. We are blessed with quality and quantity in our U13 contingent, and they certainly will go very far indeed!
Last, the U15 race. Our team won the 1st match, and the pressure was on to hold on to first place. And so they did. Multi-eventer Kiran Richards, inspired by his great run at the Kingston Borough XC Champs, brought the team home in 3rd place. Jenny Miles came fourth – 1st girl home! She was followed by Nikolaj Schubert (5th/ 4th boy), who in turn led Matthew Stevens (6th/ 5th boy). Alex Bartle improved her previous time by 8 sec and finished 8th (3rd girl), and Dominika Wrobel finished 11th (5th girl). With 18 points, we comprehensively won this match, and are now 19 points ahead of Croydon (37 points), Holland Sports (38 points), Epsom & Ewell (40 points) and Sutton (46 points). Jenny leads the girls’ rankings, and Alex is 3rd; Nikolaj is third in the boys’ list, with Matthew Stevens 4th (note: to stay in the rankings, you have to participate in all matches…).
Over and all, a great “thank you” goes to all who came out on the day and delivered absolutely fantastic runs, accompanied with great team spirit. Many thanks to all the families who came out in support, too. I hope that all will feel lifted by the experience that we can beat the odds - anything is possible! So – go and try yourself in the Surrey League race next Saturday, or the Surrey XC Champs on 9th January (contact TM Susanne Dietrich if you are available).
Well done to our unstoppable youngsters – you were terrific!
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