A rather cloudy but dry day greeted our squad of 45 young athletes to this flat parkland course which contained a muddy section midway through the races. It turned out to be a superb day for us, with the club maintaining the lead in the Howard Williams Junior Trophy, leading by four points with just one match to go. We also maintain our leads on the Under 11 and Under 13 Girls plus Under 13 Boys and Junior Boys with one match remaining.
Under 11 Boys
Unfortunately for us, we were without the services of Eden McNicholas (on a camp), who was in top 3 in last two matches, but despite this we still had six toe the line (photo above, Ian Brigstocke-Williams). Flynn Scrivener led the team home in a good 16th spot. Edward Brigstocke-Williams also had a very good run placing 18th. Rhodri Morgan had a great debut placing 20th with Hector Clark 22nd, improving four places from Uxbridge and closing the team for 4th place. Leo Everitt, who had been unwell over Christmas, was brave and claimed 34th, with WASP member Daniel Bergerthal, also in his first race in 37th. The team lie in 5th place.
Under 11 Girls
We were without the services of Abigail Reid (sitting exam), who had placed top 3 in last two matches. Despite this we still had an excellent turnout (photo above, by Richard Wain). Holly Hudson led the team home in a fine 2nd spot, not too far behind the rampant Abdirahman who skated the Middlesex Champs the week before by nearly half a minute. Molly Sherrin was close at hand in 4th spot, with a great run from Rosemary Kelly placing 7th. Closing the team in 14th place was Isabelle Kyson, just back from a trip to Far East with her highest place so far. The other four girls, who ran well enough to place the B team in 7th place, were Rose Grady (21) Molly Wain (22) Alice Caton (25) and Megan Dudley (44). Nearly 55 started. We are over 110 points clear in this age group and the B team are in an excellent 4th overall.
Under 13 Boys
Our team was boosted by having Jacob Hardy on the start line. Since Jacob won the Essex Schools Year 7 1500m last summer he has been plagued with ankle injuries caused by growth spurts. In recent weeks this has eased and he was rewarded with an excellent 1st place. Jimmy Geller, coming off Scout Camp, pushed Jacob all the way and can be happy with an excellent 2nd place, just three seconds behind his clubmate. Next in was Hertfordshire athlete Evan Johnson, having a fine run for 7th spot. One should mention here that poor Nathan Wright, who was lying in 5th spot with 800m to run, was attacked by a loose dog and forced to drop out. We hope that all is well with our lad who is having an excellent season. So Sid Cody, having recently set a parkrun PB over Xmas, was 22nd and closed our team, who won the race. Right on the heels of Sid was track lad Jay Russell (23) with Luca Gormley (24). Reuben Fabian should feel happy with 30th, as should Ronan Edwards with 34th and Ben Savidge in 37th. Rafferty Groat put 25 runners behind him with an excellent 45th, smiling at the finish. Overall, the team have a big lead.
Under 13 Girls
We had five runners out for us this time, when the girls increased their overall lead to 60 points but finished 2nd on the day, just two points behind VPH. The girls knew this was going to be a tough fixture but they beat the host club TVH, who now lie second overall. Zahara Malcolm, fresh from three 300s and placing 6th in the final of the SEAA Indoors the previous Sunday, led the team home in 3rd place. The fast improving Miya Maeda grabbed her highest placing yet of 6th, and there was yet another fine run from bottom year Kezia Beeton in 7th. Larna Morgan was also prominent at 2k when the dreaded stitch took its toll though she was brave enough to place 22nd. Emily Scofield should be praised for getting round in 44th spot as she continues to recover from a nasty flu bug.
Under 17 Men
Joe Geller (top photo, by James Geller) had an excellent race to claim his first Met League victory after an excellent showing with his 2nd place in the Under 17 Essex XC the week before. This should give him the confidence to try and win the Essex Schools XC next Saturday. Joe was our only starter as the Maleary boys are recovering from nasty throat infections and Thomas and Videsh were both running for their school.
Under 15 Boys
Kai Boggon had a great run to head a field of 55. Kai ran most of the way with Joe Geller until the final few hundred metres. In 4th place was Herts County Champion Ben Sloan who had another great run. The sprint finish of the day (photo above, by Estelle Savidge: Sid to the left) was fought out with Sidnie Ward using his 800m speed to edge home just ahead of Kieran Allgood, the duo placing 5th and 6th. Sam Sloan also excelled too with 12, whilst Liam Waldron deserves praise running with back trouble but still finished in 27th. Again I must give huge credit to Fred Taylor who was 54th. Fred faithfully supports WG&EL and has done so for a few years now. He is a great lad and was seen politely chatting to parents after his race.
The Combined team hold a massive lead of over 150 points and easily won on the day.
Under 17 Ladies
Siena Taylor has been really good and despite extra school pressure has upped her training and was rewarded with a fine 9th place.
Under 15 Girls
The three girls that raced should feel proud of themselves when you have International school runners heading the field. From a starting field of 45 Ellen Savidge enjoyed her best Met League race with 21st, and she is bottom year too. Another great club athlete, Georgina Handford, was 29th. Wren Jackson takes my pride of place because, after twisting her ankle early on, she persisted in finishing and trotted home in 27th. Wren will now seek physio to help her back very soon. Another returning from injury is Hollie McArdell who started but was forced to retire mid-race when her leg gave way.
So we now head to the final fixture in great spirits and one thinks it will take some doing to prevent our youngsters claiming five trophies at Trent Park next month. Before that the South Of England Championships are in two weeks time, and it will be interesting to see how our teams will fare. The main reason we are in this great position is the superb togetherness that exists with both parents and athletes - and long may this continue.