id1594-Surrey County Cross Country Champs 2014

Written by Susanne D   

The persistent Atlantic low pressure system did its best to clear the hills of Denbies Vineyard of all flora and fauna, and only the bravest came out for the 2014 Surrey County Cross Country Champs.

We had lost a few athletes to flu and chest infections, as it happens this time of year, and we lost more on the day to the hostile conditions, as it also just happens. Yet, most of our athletes got round a course that in my (SD’s) innocence I had advertised as firm underfoot and that now could only be described as devious and evil. The only consolation was: Lloyd Park would have been so much worse!

Here are the results:

U13 boys.

Sam Shaw, arguably our most reliable force this season, did it once again and finished a fantastic 5th. U11 Olly Wilson showed that he’s got plans for the future when he came 15th. Eric Williams who just joined the club and ran for Tiffin School came 31st. Strong runs by Morrison Cleaver (55th), Finlay Hardwick (57th) who pipped Benjamin Collier (58th), U11 Benjamin Taplin (76th) and Gregor Hooke (77th) closed our team score, and, as hoped, we ended up with a top-10 position, namely 5th. Well done, lads!

U13 girls.

Darcey Bourne went one better than Sam and finished 4th, and, given that she’s got another year in the U13 age group, there surely is more to come. Next was Kathryn Bartle who with a strong run and an even better sprint finish claimed 30th place. Another great finish saw Hannah Lester (44th) just in front of Annabel Hobday (45th), and we closed with Amy Counihan (60th), U11 Darcy Mason (65th) and our sprinter Lucy Tunnacliffe (71st). The girls earned themselves another top-10 team position and came 6th; again: well done!

U15 boys.

The U15 athletes had to do two loops round Denbies, and when they came past the finish for the first time, we couldn’t believe our eyes. The unmissable tuft of ginger associated with our Josh Hall was in the leading group! A nervous wait, and then the athletes came home, with Josh in an unassailable second place - a fantastic silver medal! Next were Harry Reynolds in 32nd place, Chris Cecil in 43rd and George Chaplin in 67th, and the team also finished 6th – good stuff!

U15 girls.

Our U15 girls’ team was possibly the most depleted, and a lot was asked from our four runners, but they gave it all: 1st year in the U15 age group, Mollie O’Sullivan brought the team home in a strong 8th place; Rebecca Keddie came 48th, Alexandra Shaw 59th and Gaby James 62nd. Their great effort saw them clinch a top-10 finish as they came 8th. So: well done again!

U17 and U20 men.

We didn’t quite manage to field teams in these age groups, but our runners were marvellous. With another year to run as U17, Neil Wellard came a great 10th and Matthew Stevens finished 30th. Likewise, Sam Vassal, 1st year U20, had a very fine run and finished 22nd. Another very well done!

U17 and U20 women.

The rules allow the U17 and U20 women to score together for the team results, and we only had U17s to represent the club. Yet our athletes were totally unimpressed by this age disadvantage. Phoebe Law was the overall winner of the race and, of course, the U17 gold medallist and Surrey Champion. Laura Cook was 15th on the U17 list (23rd overall) and Ellie Arnfield was 23rd U17 (32nd overall). Their great effort led to our best team result of the day as they won a fantastic bronze!

And finally: the Seniors.

Delaying her return to Harvard Uni for a few days, U23 Molly Renfer came an unbelievable 4th in the women’s race, and our master athletes Nicky Atkins finished 79th and Debbie Raymond 96th in a field of 149. In the men’s race, James Robertson came 49th and Peter Wilkins 204th in a field of 247. Well done to all.

Finally, a ‘well done’ to all families and friends who came out in support of our athletes, and who put themselves forward to help with handing out the numbers, distributing the biscuits, putting the tent up and taking it down again. Clearly, without you, it would not have been possible to support the athletes and make the day what is was: something to be proud of.

Your

Senior women’s TM Debbie Raymond,

Senior men’s TM Matt Hyett and

Young Athletes’ TM Susanne Dietrich

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