Written by Susanne Dietrich
Surrey County Cross Country Championships – a start into 2017 with the glitter of medals
This year, the SCAA XC Champs were once more over at Lloyd Park. The park presented itself at its very best, for Lloyd Park’s ever-muddy standards, that is. The hill that I had marked as steep and slippery on the map very much lived up to expectations, and the top part of the course, even though only slightly undulating, just sucks the strength out of the legs. It is a championship course. And we had true championships; the very best in Surrey were there.
Our U13 boys were the first to test the course; they had 3km in front of them. They were led home by Max Dickson in 10:56 min and 37th place, followed by Michael Webb-Bourne in 11:48 and 68th place. Next were Dominic Fellows and U11 Charlie White, who in a blistering sprint finish came home in 11:58/72nd and 12:15/75th place, respectively. We closed with Matteo Leforestier and Sebastian Chang who also had very strong finishes and took 77th (12:22) and 83rd (12:44) place. The team came 9th.
In our U13 girls’ team, our 4th team member was unwell on the day, and so we couldn’t field a scoring team. Nonetheless, Alix Baccardax finishing in 12:25/47th place, Poppy Parry finishing in 13:04/58th place and Esme Cerilli, despite breathing problems, finishing in 15:27/ 78th, showed that they are tough cookies indeed.
Next up were the U17 and U20 men with 2 laps of 3km to do, twice up the hill. U20 Neil Wellard had a perfectly paced race, and he was the one maintaining strength and speed best on the 2nd lap. Where others slowed, he kept his speed. And in 18:27 he won the U20 gold. Our U17 squad was led home by Zak Wort in 19:54/9th, followed by Sam Shaw in 20:29/14th, Sol Harris-Woodfin in 21:14/18th, Gabriel Lewis in 21:51/29th and George Chaplin in 22:26/33rd. This great team effort earned them a fantastic team silver.
Then the senior women, out on a 2x 4km course. Our U20 Phoebe Law had opted to run this rather than the U17/U20 race to qualify for the next races higher up. And she showed that no selector can overlook her. She was in the leading group of three ¾ round the course, and then marshals on the course reported her leading alone. She came down into the finish with a clear gap of 100m – and with 29:09, scored a decisive win.
Back to the junior teams. The U15 boys had 4km to do, rather long compared to races earlier in the season. Oliver Haines-Francis coped best, finishing in15:00/31st. Matt Hall had an outstanding 2nd half of the race and an even better finish, overtaking some 5 or 6 runners and coming in with 15:03/32nd, just behind Oliver. Next were Jack Dickson in 15:15/39th, followed by Jack Stracey, in 15:30/ 45th, who also overtook a few in his final sprint. We closed with Mack Downey in 15:41 in 51st and Eric Williams in 15:41/52nd, who had suffered from a stitch but bravely made it round. The team was 6th.
In the U15 girls’ race, Imogen Busa was our only contestant, and in a plucky run, she finished in 20:56/54th place.
In the 5.7km U17/U20 women’s race we were back to having a scoring team (as here, U17-U20 score together). One of the best if not the best race this season saw Rebecca Keddie finish 25:42/14th, followed by Kathryn Bartle in 26:29/21st and Ellie Jennings in 28:00/40th (16th U20); the team came 7th.
And finally the senior men – 3x4km!!! Matt Atkins beat many a younger competition and completed the course in 44:51/37th, still having the power for an awe-inspiring finish. Michael Huntley followed in 50:02/106th, our team captain Matt Hyett in 51:54/127th and Steward Dickson showed his boys, finishing in 52:05/129th. With a field of 209 runners and the last coming home in 78:16, our men will have a few things to celebrate.
Well done to all who came out right after the festive break! Cobwebs are clearly off, and I hope you are all looking forward to the next Surrey League race on 14 January and then the very prestigious Surrey Schools’ champs on January 28th January 21st. For the sprinting-jumping-throwing inclined, next Sportshall match in Guildford will be on 22 January. For more fixtures, please see the K&P website.
Your young athletes’ XC TM Susanne Dietrich
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