Written by Les H for Susanne D.
Sunday 9th March 2014- the decisive Young Athletes’ Downs League Cross Country Match
Oh, the Downs. Glossed in sunshine and birdsong, the sweet fragrance of spring in the air. And for the 1st time in living memory, it even was true! Even better, the perfume of spring was intermingled with wafts of Frank’s freshly baked German marble cake made from finely ground prime Carrarra marble, and that was what we really all had come for!
The Under 11’s earned themselves a slice with Olly Wilson leading the team home in 2nd place, followed by Louis Orlovac in 8th, Tom Wilson in 11th, and Gemma Watts, our 1st girl, in 21st place. Next were Michael Webb-Bourne in 24th, a very brave Ben Taplin battling a cold in 26th, Florence Polwin in 27th and Zoe Shepherd in 28th, and we closed with Aaron Marlow in 32nd (new PB by 32sec), Jessica Lilliwhite in 42nd, Tom Williams in 44th and Samuel Hall in 45th place. The team finished a strong 2nd not far behind Epsom, and high-level and consistent running over the season (must have done all four races) earned Olly an individual silver medal and Gemma an individual bronze – well done!
I shall pull forward the Under 15s. Mollie O’Sullivan earned herself the title “Queen of the Downs” as she was the 1st girl in all four races. She led our time home in 6th place overall, followed by George Chaplin in 9th thanks to a massive new PB by 40sec. Lucie Fletcher was 12th (3rd girl), and she took the individual bronze. It was great to see Rebecca Keddie coming back to her usual self, finishing 15th (6th girl) with a new PB by 18sec. A fine run (new PB by 34sec) saw Alexandra Shaw finish 18th, and she was followed by Gaby James in 21st and Jessica Westley in 23rd place. Individually, our runners excelled, but there is no denying that, as our top male runners were once again not available, we were not in the position to defend last year’s title. Yet our team still finished 2nd, only 20 points behind the leaders Sutton and outclassing Croydon in 3rd – given the circumstances a very commendable achievement.
Our Under 13s however were the class act, a cut above the rest. The race was once again dominated by Sam Shaw who won himself the individual gold in yet another PB and the remarkable time of 11:49 min. Matthew Hall was next in 4th, (new PB by 26sec); an unbelievable strong Annabel Hobday came 7th (2nd girl, new PB by 41sec), Kathryn Bartle finished 9th (4th girl, new PB by 2sec) and Hannah Lester 10th (5th girl). Not far behind were Amelia Bell (12th, 6th girl), Jack Westley (13th, new PB by 1min:7sec!) and Hettie Arnfield (17th, 10th girl). In the girls’ rankings it was a close call, and Annabel won silver with 1 point ahead of Hannah. The team was the undisputed winner, 136 points ahead of 2nd placed Stragglers and 152 points ahead of Epsom in 3rd. A truly amazing result!
The Epsom Downs races were also the battle ground for our own K&P club champs: runners had to contest at least two races, and they were ranked on the best time achieved. And here we go: In the U11 boys’ category, Tom Williams was 9th, Samuel Hall 8th, Aaron Marlow 7th, Max Dickson 6th, Michael Webb-Bourne 5th, Louis Orlovac 4th, Benjamin Taplin 3rd, Tom Wilson 2nd and older brother Olly Wilson 1st. Jessica Lilliwhite came 5th in the U11 girls’ group, Florence Polwin 4th Jessica Hilton 3rd, Zoe Shepherd 2nd and Gemma Watts 1st. Amongst the U13 boys, Jack Westley came 5th, Daniel Merighi 4th, Matthew Hall 3rd, Jorge Beltrao 2nd and Sam Shaw 1st. Same age group for the girls, and Hettie Arnfield came 5th, Amelia Bell 4th, Kathryn Bartle 3rd, Hannah Lester 2nd, and with her last run, Annabel Hobday took 1st. In the U15 age group, only two boys did two or more races, with James Hinton coming 2nd and George Chaplin 1st. The girls’ champs were highly contested, and Gaby James finished 5th, Alex Shaw 4th, Rebecca Keddie 3rd, Lucie Fletcher 2nd, and Mollie O’Sullivan came 1st. The rankings will be double-checked as only club members with subscriptions paid are eligible (any cheques to quickly slip past us???). And a medal / trophy ceremony will be held at Kingsmeadow in due course; for details please check the club website.
This leaves me to thank the Downs’ Sponsor Horton Dental Practice for making the races possible (and approving of the cake…), and all our families, friends and K&P helpers for their continued support.Another well-done to all of our athletes, and I am a looking forward to a strong summer track and field season.
Your XC TM Susanne Dietrich
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