With the festive season upon us it was encouraging to see 28 WG&EL young athletes out in action on a cold but bright December afternoon at the Scrubs. We had four new runners and how well they have slotted into our teams. Our return saw four podium places plus another twelve placings in the top 10, which produced some excellent results for us.
Under 11s boys
In the boys race, over 1600 metres, Jimmy Geller took an early lead which he held throughout to make it two wins in three races. James Brigstocke-Williams was never too far behind, placing 4th and maintaining his fine season to date. Nathan Wright was next in 5th place having set two Under 11 parkrun records recently. Poor Ellis Carter, who felt unwell, had the guts to get round in 9th spot to ensure Woodford increased their lead to over 200 points. Sid Cody, fresh from an excellent showing at Liverpool last Saturday, placed a fine 10th place.
Under 11 girls
In the girls race, over the same distance, Kezia Beeton was in a group of 4 runners with just nine seconds covering all four runners. Kezia ended up in 4th place in good company running 6 mins 01 for the 1600 metre course. Larna Morgan shows consistency with another fine showing in 6th place just 20 seconds behind Kezia. Holly Hudson, only a year 5, was 10th 8 seconds behind Larna, with Bronya Overington closing the team in 14th spot. Again the girls hold a 62 point lead over VPH.
Great support for these four was shown by Macy Huthwaite 20th Molly Wain 24th Charlotte Harrington 27th and Rose Grady 30th.A fantastic turnout in this age group.
Under 13 boys
Unfortunately due to illness and injury we only had one starter. Richard Reid, who is coached by Alastair Holford and Alex Bird, had a great race to place a fine 8th from over 50 runners.
Under 13 girls
Hollie McArdell and Zahara Malcolm have both been excellent supporting our club this year. Being a fairly fast course this suited Year 7 runner Zahara, who had her best race ever over the country to place 10th from nearly 40 runners, less than a minute behind the winner. Hollie, who was unwell last weekend, fought hard to place 15th, just 17 seconds behind her team mate.
Under 15 boys
Probably our largest contingent, with Kai Boggon underlining that he is the man at the moment for this age group in leading the green and white hoops in a highly respectable 3rd place, less than a minute behind an athlete who placed 2nd at Liverpool last Saturday in the UK Cross Challenge. Joe Geller, too, is enjoying a great XC season and was 7th, just 20 seconds down on Kai. Next in was Todd Maleary having his best race to date in 8th, 6 seconds behind Joe. To close the team in, Kieran Allgood was 16th. If there were a separate Under 15 boys team race Woodford would have eased home in front. Instead they are up against Under 17s in same race but still placed 4th. Ben Sloan, on his debut for WG&EL, had a fine run for 18th with Hayden Maleary 28th. Sam Sloan, also making his debut and returning from injury, was 31st. Lets spare a thought for Fred Taylor. He placed 50th but is only 13 and always supports his club at all times and is a great club athlete and team player.
Under 15 girls
We had two more debutants, Grace and Claire Malcolm, who have only been with us two weeks. The girls are coached by Richard Thurston, John Stow and Steve Cody, and appear to be really enjoying their running. After placing 1st and 2nd in a recent English Schools Cup Semi Final the girls again took an early lead racing with their Under 17 counterparts. At the halfway stage Grace took a tumble, subsequently losing a couple of spots. With courage Grace was soon up on her feet catching up with sister Claire. As they turned the final corner they were still just ahead but Under 17 runner India Weir from TVH was lurking and India used her 4.34 1500 metre speed to just edge home ahead of our girls who took the top 2 spots in the Under 15 girls race. Their performances impressed many, including their coaches. Wren Jackson had another fine run placing 8th again - like the twins she is a bottom year Under 15 girl. Likewise Georgina Handford placing 25th in the Under 17 race. Millie Finch placed 19th.
All in all a very good day for the youngsters who still sit 3rd from 22 clubs in the Howard Williams Junior Trophy and its quite close with two matches still to go.The atmosphere both with athletes,coaches and parents was excellent and we as a club are clearly moving in the right direction with our youngsters.