Alexandra Palace on Saturday provided the usual horrible weather we have come to expect - freezing cold, rain, sleet and even a bit of snow. This didn’t put our Young Athletes off one little bit and their performances did the club proud.
The U11 race, boys and girls running together (above) for one 1500m lap of the wet and muddy field, featured 77 runners from 15 different clubs and was hard-fought from the off. Many of our young runners toed the line together, apart from Sid Cody and William Bayley, always together (right) and happy to mix it in the middle of the pack. The girls, as usual, seemed to have got the best start and led off a big group of Woodford Green runners as everyone settled into the race. At the halfway mark a healthy stream of green and white packed the top half of the field after disappearing from sight around the back of the cricket ground, so the many supporting parents were happy to see so many Woodies leading in the final 400m home.
First home and celebrating his 3rd win of the year, and overall Individual Champion was Jimmy Geller (below left) 6’30”, with Luca Gormley 2nd and James Brigstocke-Williams 3rd both within 10 seconds of their clubmate. Nathan Wright closed the Boys ‘A’ scoring 4 in 11th place.
Sid Cody ran very well again for 13th, William Bayley came 25th and Dylan White, a very valued member of the team, unfortunately pulled out with an injury. With just two scorers they still managed to keep the Woodford ‘B’ team in an impressive 7th.
For the Girls A team's scoring 4, Kezia Beeton (below right) had a fantastic race, placing 8th overall and 2nd girl, just 7" off the 1st girl in 6’51” and, by beating her rival from Victoria Park, she finished joint first in the Individual points table. Larna Morgan was our second girl home and with a determined sprint ran down a St Marys’ girl to take 4th girl spot in the last 40 metres. Molly Matheron, as our 3rd girl home, was pleased to have bettered her 4th girl on her last Met League outing at Claybury, and closing the girls ‘A’ team was Bronya Overington, who prefers a longer distance but kept smiling and was pleased with 40th and, more importantly, 12th girl home.
We were fortunate to have so many Woodettes running as a ’B’ team, too. Holly Hudson placed 13th girl, Isobel Matheron, in her first ever Met league, was 24th girl and Alice and Emily Caton closed the ‘B’ team in 25th and 27th girls respectively.
As a result, the Boys team won the Team Championship with 718 points, some 377 points ahead of the next team, and our Girls won their Team Championship with 558 points and a victory of some 65 points.
It's important to remind our youngsters that these wins have come from great performances by a whole team of 11 boys and 16 girls over 5 races, and that every race and every performance counts.
In the U13 Girls race, Holly McCardell, a real Met League stalwart for the club who has turned out for every race, was feeling quite under the weather but didn’t want to give up her consecutive appearance record, and she will be pleased that her persistence has taken her to 6th place in the individual championship.
In the Junior Women’s race, Grace Malcolm had a fantastic run, placing 2nd overall and first in her U15 category, covering the hilly, muddy 4k course in just 17:17, one second behind the U17 winner! Our next young women home were Wren Jackson in 12th (6th U15) and Louise Gilbert in 13th. These young ladies' wonderful efforts secured 2nd place on the day and Woodford Green finish 6th in the table which, considering there have been only 5 U15 and 2 U17 young women, is outstanding.
Finally, in the Junior Men’s race we had several usual runners missing, but the 6 young men that turned out for the club didn’t disappoint. Kai Boggon was very happy with his 8th place and 3rd U15, just 54 seconds behind the U17 leader. Next home Kieran Allgood, running with renewed vigour after his recent English Schools call-up, was really pleased with 18th and 10th U15, just behind him in 19th (11th U15) was Sam Sloan. Hayden Maleary closed the Woodford ‘A’ team in 35th (24th U15). Finally, Rhys Edwards 42 (31) and Fred Taylor 61 (48) scored for the ‘B’ with gutsy performances.
Woodford Green finish the season 3rd in the Howard Williams Trophy, with 81 points to the winners 94, however they have the most wins at 11, and as the teams strengthen from the bottom winning it outright is a real possibility in the future.