We still live in uncertain times and the rise in COVID cases in schools impacted our team at the first of the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League races, with many athletes unable to compete.
However, there was much to celebrate at Newbold Revel and thanks go to Rugby and Northampton for excellent organisation and offering to put on this first race.
Both U17 teams were missing athletes and an injury during the race took out another of the boys. First to finish for the U17W in 13th was Amy Harland, who is gradually working her was back to full fitness. Not too far behind her were Olivia Scott 20th, Hana Meagher 26th and Katie Gilhooly 37th.
In the U17M Tyler Hawley was the top runner coming home in 5th with Luca Bradley 22nd and Max Chappelle 24th our other two team members.
At U15 we had more athletes available although the loss of Ash Burgess was not a great start. Oliver Cresswell rose to the occaison and although bottom of this age group he finished in 6th place. Not too far behind was Jesse Bradley who had a fine run to finish in 9th. The came Charlie Smith 11th, and new boys Zac Yates 24th, Thomas Adams 28th and Jai Sohna 31st. The team performance has put them in top spot in the league with a healthy lead going into the next race.
Our U15 girls were 5th overall but with the same points as the 4th placed team and only 30 points behind the third place so it is all to play for. Emily Symes ran a strong race to be the top scorer in 12th followed by new girl Holly Saunders in 18th. Next came Lexie Robins, a good run after a bout of COVID, in 24th then Cassie Pearson another youngster getting over illness in 41st and finally Lucy Goodwin 44th and Jenny O'Rourke in 49th.
Lockdown combined with a lack of training facilities has had a major impact on our recruitment and this was reflected in the number of athletes available in the younger age groups. With only two U13 girls available this was always going to be a challenge to do well. Another new athlete, Lacey Poulton enjoyed her first experience running for Birchfield and was 37th. Very close behind was team mate Phoebe Ray-Sharma in 38th.
Injury and illnes resulted in the withdrawal of three of our U13 boys leaving just two to start. Corin Bradley, the third of the Bradley brothers had a stong run to finish in 17th and Noah Kesterton-Kearney was 51st out of 79 athletes.
All out U11s were new to the Club and they all had a great day and most importantly enjoyed the experience. It was great to see the smiles on their faces as they finished. In the boys race Jack Morris ran very well for 10th place closely followed by Rocco Hawley who depsite only just turning nine was 14th. Next to finish was Aedan Matasima in 35th and our final athlete was Sai Chauhan in 62th with 100 boys completing this race.
The U11 girls, although only three of them, ran a fantstic race. Trinity Conway sporting her new braids was 4th, the highest scoring Birchfield athlete on the day. Finlee Brady, another athlete who has more years in this age group was14th and finally Ellen Curley, who got over the embarassment of her Mum falling in the mud, to finish in 23rd place.
The next fixture is on 14 November at Warley Woods and we are hoping to have all the youngsters fit by then.