Written by SD
Medals and plaques galore
K&P the dominant force in the young athletes’ Downs Cross Country league 2012/13
Sunday 10th March, with Siberian winds sweeping the Epsom Downs, we assembled for the final race at the young athletes’ 2012/13 Downs Cross Country League. It was Mother’s day, but our K&P mothers had swapped their cosy lie-in with the rather un-cosy Downs to give our young athletes the chance to contribute to what we hoped would be the most successful XC season ever. We started into this match in the lead, but we also knew that the other clubs would throw all they have at us to overhaul the point score. But our runners had set their mind to winning, and at the end of the day, our success was never in danger.
Jorge Beltrao led the U11 team home with a superb win and a new PB (11:04), followed in 2nd place by Darcy Bourne (11:07; 1st girl). Darcy not only ran a new PB, but also set a new U11 girl’s course record. Olly Wilson secured 6th place in 11:32, Leonie Kennedy came 13th (12:57; 3rd girl), and Sacha Kennedy with a brave run despite being seriously under the weather came 18th (13:40, 6th girl), followed by Hannah Lester in 20th place (13:49, 8th girl). The team closed with Jessica Hilton (25th/ 11th girl; new PB in 14:15), Lydia Louw (26th/ 12 girl; 14:20); Jack Westley (28th/ 15th boy, 14:31), Florence Henderson (32nd/ 14th girl; 15:13) and Ella O’ Sullivan (38th/ 19th girl; 16:14). Our runners won the match, and this secured the win of the U11 trophy, 16 point ahead of Epsom, and more than 100 points ahead of all others. Jorge, who had tremendously improved over the season, won the individual silver, and Darcy was the unbeaten 1st girl in all races, winning individual gold.
In the U13 race, Sam Shaw with another strong run led the team home in 2nd place (12:09). George Chaplin, further improving his PB set at the last match, finished 4th (13:05), immediately followed by Ben Paton in 5th (13:10), Mollie O’Sullivan in 7th (1st girl; 13:25) and Rebecca Keddie in 10th place (2nd girl; 13:53). Sophia Free smashed her previous PB by a massive 58 seconds to finish 11th (3rd girl; 13:58); then, in close succession, came Finlay Hardwick (13th; 14:11), Gregor Hooke (14th, 14:12) and James Hinton (15th; 14:13). In 17th place, Kathryn Bartle set a new PB in 14:17 (5th girl), as did Mica Powell in 18th place (14:19; 6th girl). Annabel Hobday, coming back from injury, finished 20th (8th girl; 15:30), and finally, Eleanor Bartle and Eleanor Bibby battled for their places in a blistering sprint finish, with Eleanor Ba. in 16:39 (25th, 11th girl) having just a bit more petrol in the tank than Eleanor Bi. (16:43; 26th, 12th girl). The team was the undisputed winner of the race and the undisputed winner of the trophy, 94 points clear of all the others. Sam won the individual gold jointly with Ryan Galvin from Sutton, and Ben took bronze. In the girls it was a K&P 1-2-3, with Mollie taking gold, Rebecca silver and Kathryn bronze.
Finally came the much anticipated U15 race. Neil Wellard, Harry Reynolds and Rob Spalding (Croydon) went into the race on equal points, and therefore, whoever wanted to win, had to win this race. 300m to the finish, Rob had a clear lead, with Neil and Harry 20m behind – surely too much a gap to close…? Not as far as Neil and Harry were concerned. With 10m to go, it was only a battle between our two, and on this occasion Harry, equalling his PB (11:07), had his nose in front of Neil (11:08). The spectators had just recovered from this excitement, when Josh Hall, also equalling his PB shot across the finishing line in 4th place (11:52), and then our team score was settled with George King (10th; 12:50), Joe Lavender (11th; 12:53), Lucie Fletcher (13:48; 14th, 2nd girl), Ellie Arnfield (14:51; 16th, 4th girl) and Gaby James (16:18; 17th, 5th girl). The team bagged the match win and, with 72 points clear of everybody, we took the third trophy – a K&P clean-sweep! Harry and Neil of course had earned themselves the individual gold and silver, and Lucie, missing out on the gold only by back-count, took the individual silver.
And so, your proud TM can announce that our Mother’s Finest took all team trophies and 10 out of 18 possible individual medals. How on earth did we do this? The winning formula is simple: a real commitment of our young athletes to the sport they love and a fantastic support by families and friends, not to forget tireless work of race organisers and officials in the background.
Here are all who contributed to the Downs League success this season: U11 Jorge Beltrao, Darcy Bourne, Olly Wilson, Daniel Merighi, Sami Allan, Sacha and Leonie Kennedy, Hannah Lester, Lydia Louw, Florence Henderson, Jessica Hilton, Jack Westley, Darcy Mason, Hettie Arnfield, Ella O’Sullivan, U13 Sam Shaw, Mollie O’Sullivan, Michael Brazil, Aaron Bruce, Ben Paton, Finlay Hardwick, George Chaplin, Rebecca Keddie, James Hinton, Gregor Hooke, Sophia Free, Kathryn Bartle, Mica Powell, Annabel Hobday, Eleanor Bartle, Eleanor Bibby, and U15 Neil Wellard, Harry Reynolds, Josh Hall, George King, Joe Lavender, Lucie Fletcher, Elle Butcher, Peter Betts, Ellie Arnfield, Gaby James.
What’s next? The summer (haha) track and field season is almost upon us, and we would love to take our strength forward into the girls’ U11-17 LilyB, boys’ U11-15 Ebbisham and the 2 new mixed U13-U20 National Youth Development Leagues. Race distances will be shorter, race speeds will be much sharper. But having seen the speed our athletes carried in their sprint finishes, I’d say we have nothing to fear.
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