Nearly 70 young athletes assembled at Claybury where the weather was more like a mid-summer's day rather than autumn. Temperatures were close to 25 degrees, while a strong southerly wind blew across the course.
We started the defence of the Howard Williams Junior Trophy in fine style, winning 5 of the 6 age groups, and taking 5th in the Junior Women’s age group, which is a big improvement on last year. Our B teams were 6th (U11 boys) ,6th (U11 girls), 3rd (U13 boys), 2nd (U13girls) and 7th (Junior Men). Praise must go to our WASPS section who provided a large number of U11s which hugely contributed to the wins for both age groups.
Photos (by Mark Easton - available to buy)
The U13 Girls, whose A and B teams finished 1st and 2nd
Under 11 boys
Eleven runners toed the line from the starting field of 45. Gregor Samson, who had been out injured for a while prior to the race, led the team home in 9th spot. Just behind Gregor was Flynn Scrivener in 10th after some fine runs in our schools races. Next, in 13th, was Oliver Brown who also had a fine series of schools races. Closing the team in was Kumar Yuven in 19th place. The following boys played a big part in our B team placing 6th: 20, Godwin Nkeban; 26, Jean-Marc Harriett; 28, Auden Cole; 29, Rhodri Morgan; 30, Mico Edwards; 31, Gideon Akande; 32, Jude Purser; and 41, Zain Javad. A great turn-out!
Under 11 girls
We hold a 1 point advantage over VPH after the first race. Isabelle Kyson led the team home in 4th spot, closely followed by Amana Oguntaga who had an excellent run in her first outing with us, placing 5th. Recovering from illness, Molly Sherrin was 6th, and closing the team was WASP member Eliza Bridges in 15th. The following girls all ran well to help our B team to 6th place: 18, Megan Allin; 23, Lexie Goban; 26, Caitlin Hancock; 27, Alicia Percy; and 30, Maria Kiwanis. There were around 35 starters.
Under 13 boys
The U13 Boys squad - also winners
We hold a 20 point lead over Herts Phoenix, while our B team lie 3rd. Jimmy Geller, now fully recovered, won again, this time by 22 seconds. In 3rd spot was Nathan Wright, who had raced twice for his school the two preceding days so a remarkable run for him. Reuben Fabian 5th and Luca Gormley 6th also had fine races. James Brigstocke-Williams has moved to Colchester, but returned to support us as a 2nd claim member and led the B team home in 8th spot, with other fine runs from William Kok (16), Sid Cody (17) and Ben Savidge 18th. The other lads who supported the club were Ronan Edwards (27), Thomas Kok (32), Rafferty Groat (36), Evan Johnson (42) and a special mention for Daniel Bergenthal in 47th. 50 started in this race so a great showing from our lads.
Jimmy Geller (left) and Nathan Wright set the pace
Under 13 Girls
We hold a 47 point lead over the second team which just so happens to be our B team - such strength in depth!
Abigail Reid had instruction from her coach not to take charge until the second lap. Having raced for her school on both Thursday and Friday, she executed the instruction to great effect to win by 100 yards in a new record for the 3k course. Behind Abigail was new member Tilly Major, who made a fine debut in placing 3rd and was closing down on the Hillingdon runner. Right behind Tilly was Kezia Beeton, our West Essex Junior Girls champion, in 4th spot. Rosemary Kelly, our West Essex Year 7 champion, ran a blinder for 5th to close our team in. Larna Morgan led our B team home in 9th spot and was unfortunate to have a stitch during her the race. Behind Larna fine runs from Emily Caton (14), Macy Huthwaite (16) and Emily Millward (21) saw us place 2nd, behind our A team. The other girls who ran deserve much praise: Bronya Overington (28), Rose Grady (33), Alice Caton (40) and Molly Wain (41). There were over 50 starters.
Under 17/15 boys
We hold an eleven point lead in this joint age group, while our B team now lie 7th. We were without Kai Boggon, who was being sensible by resting before the European qualifier Duathlon on Sunday. (He qualified, finishing 3rd in the U20 age group). But the rest of the team responded in fine style with Kieran Allgood leading the overall team home in 9th spot, with Videsh Weerakkody having a great run in 10th spot (how this lad has improved in recent weeks!). Just behind these two were Ben Sloan, who had started out in great style but finding the latter part of the course tough was 14th, and Liam Waldron who also had a great run for 15th. The other lads who helped our B team to 7th and must be praised were: Rhys Edwards (16), Thomas Adolphus (19), our 800m man Sidnie Ward (22) and Adam Agbamu (29). Credit again to Fred Taylor for finishing in 38th spot.
Jacob Hardy has stepped up an age group and was 13th in a big Under 15 field of over 50 starters. Huge praise for our other two runners, both going through big growth spurts: Maxwell Chinn (40) and Jay Russell (55).
Under 17/15 Girls
We hold 5th spot in this age group, which is a big improvement on last year.
Wren McLean-Jackson had a fine run to place 6th in the U17 girls race. In the Under 15 girls race, run in conjunction with the U17 race, Miya Maeda, who is another to move up into this age group, had an excellent race for 5th place and finished just behind Wren. Our 300 metre runner Zahara Malcolm ran well on this hilly course for 13th. Like Miya, Zahara has moved up an age group. Hollie McArdell ran well for 18th and is now hitting a good run of form. Anna Coombes, in her debut for us and given instructions from her coach Steve Cody to treat the race like a training run, did very well for 34th.
Thoughts are with those who were unable to finish, such as Bradley Jay (hamstring), Siena Taylor (ankle), Sam Sloan (ankle) and Georgina Handford, who were all unfortunate victims of the hard ground. We wish them all well with their recoveries.
So a brilliant start for our athletes who are gradually gaining in confidence competing at either local level or national level.
Must thank James Geller and Sue Edwards for giving out the numbers, and these two were well supported by Scott Kyson and Laura Millward.
So now the squad look forward to the England Cross Country Relays at Mansfield next month.