Written by SD
Success breeds success
Downs Cross Country League Match No 3 on 24 February – clean sweep for K&P
On Sunday, a half-term diminished crowd gathered on the Epsom Downs horse race course to witness the 3rd of the 4 Downs League Young Athletes’ Cross Country matches. It was so bitterly cold that not only the spectators, but also the runners struggled to keep warm. And many a runner came back from the race with toes and fingers hurting from the biting frost. But, nonetheless, due to the absolute bravery and determination of our squad, the force was once more with Kingston and Poly. Given the extreme weather, none of us expected any PBs, but quite a number of our athletes achieved this regardless, with U11 Sacha Kennedy (minus 67 sec), twin sister Leonie (minus 49 sec), U13 Eleanor Bibby (minus 43 sec) and U13 George Chaplin (minus 32 sec) being our most improved athletes. Moreover, we won in all age groups. In fact, we did a clean sweep.
Jorge Beltrao set the stage by winning the U11 race (2 km) in a new PB of 11.08 min. Olly Wilson, also in a new PB, came 4th in 11.27. Darcy Bourne and new runner Daniel Merighi battled it out in a breathtaking finish, with Darcy taking 6th and Daniel 7th, both in the official time of 11.32. Darcy was again the 1st girl home, Sacha Kennedy was 4th (14th overall in new PB 12:45) and twin sister Leonie 5th girl (15th overall in new PB of 12:48). Hannah Lester came 18th (7th girl) in 13.18, new runner Lydia Louw 24th (9th girl) in 13:47, Florence Henderson 26th (11th girl) in 14:13, Hettie Arnfield 36th (20th girl) in 16:00, and novice Ella O’Sullivan earned herself spikes by completing the course in 39th position (23rd girl) in 16:05. In the overall individual rankings (must do all races), Jorge’s great run moved him up to joint 2nd place and Olly is 4th. Darcy undisputedly leads the girl’s tables, Sacha is 5th, Leonie 6th, Flo is 8th. And due to the fantastic team effort, the team won the match and remains in the top spot. Epsom & Ewell is 12 points behind and surely will mount a challenge is the last match; the other teams are well behind.
In the U13 competition (2.5km), Sam Shaw emulated Jorge’s success and won the race, also with a new PB (12:07 min). Excellent runs from Michael Brazil (12:23) and Aaron Bruce (12:29) secured 2nd and 4th place, and Mollie O’Sullivan in 5th place (12.40) was again 1st girl. Ben Paton, in a determined sprint and new PB of 13:00, held on to 7thplace, George Chaplin, also pushing his PB (13:21), finished 10th, Rebecca Keddie came 14th (14:15, 4th girl), Gregor Hooke 15th (14:28), Finlay Hardwick 16th (14:31), James Hinton 18th (14:41), Mica Powell 19th (14:51, 6th girl), Kathryn Bartle 20th (14:58, 7th girl), Annabel Hobday 21st (new PB in 15:00, 8th girl), Sophie Free 22nd (15:13, 9th girl) and Eleanor Bibby 25th (new PB in 16:09, 12th girl). Sam heads the boys’ rankings, Ben is 3rd and Fin 4th; likewise Mollie tops the girls’ table, with Rebecca 3rd and Kathryn 4th. The team won the match with ease, and a cosy cushion of 75 points separates us now from the other teams.
The U15 race (2.5km) was a real nail biter. Rob Spalding (Croydon) and our Neil Wellard and Harry Reynolds came down the hill in a tightly knit group. With some 300m to go, Neil made his move and overtook - maybe a bit too early, since Rob was able to switch to a faster gear, too. Harry however timed his sprint to perfection and won the race in 11.09; Neil finished 3rd and Josh Hall, first time out on the Downs, had a superb run and came 4th (11:52). We knew that to win, we needed at least another top scorer, and our runners duly delivered. George King threw himself into a blistering finish for 10th place (12:51), Joe Lavender came 13th in 13:04, Lucy Fletcher 14th (13:22, 2nd girl), Ellie Arnfield 17th (14.45, 4th girl) and Gaby James 19th (17:33, 6th girl). On the leader board, Harry, Neil and Rob are joint 1st, and they will have to battle it out in the last match. Lucy leads the girls, with Ellie 4th and Gaby 5th. Since we had both the quality and quantity of runners, we not only won the match, but also pulled away from the other teams, and are now 42 points clear of the next.
So what is the outlook for the final march on 10th March? Well, if you guys all come, I believe we will be able to make this XC season the best ever and lift all team trophies, further garnished by a nice bag full of individual medals (I’ll have to retire after that…). So I very much would like to ask you to mark Sunday 10th of March in your diaries and come out for a jubilant conclusion of our youngsters’ great 2012/2013 Cross Country campaign. Until then – many thanks to all our runners, but also to parents, families and friends your fantastic support!
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