The last league race for our young cross country runners was held at Aldersley Stadium, Wolverhampton and the conditions were certainly challenging. However, with great spirit and determination all those athletes who could get to the race ran very well resulting in medals for many of the teams.
Despite missing two of our top runners this season due to injury, the strength of our team meant we still dominated this age group. With only three athletes to count for the team we were very well represented in all the fixtures with a total of 14 athletes competing througout the season. In the last race the boys were determined to consolidate their lead in the league to bring the trophy back to Birchfield once more. Jamie Cooper and Sam McFall continued their personal battle with Jamie taking the top spot with his second place finish and Sam close behind in third. Overall the two athletes ended up on the same points total with Jamie place third and Sam fourth in the final standings. Dylan King continued his excellent season with his highest place finish of ninth, followed by Alex Stapleton 10th, Max Price 18th and Oliver Chinn 32nd. The team finished on top so are once again the U17 Champions.
Although we do not have the strength-in-depth that we have in the boys team the girls fought hard to finish in second place overall in the league. Ellie Taylor was ill on the day so unable to compete but her previous performances meant she was awarded a trophy for her fifth place overall. Lucy Semple, Chloe Pettit and Saliah Baig took their place on the start line to ensure we had enough girls to count for the team. After a long period out with injury Lucy ran well finishing in seventh with Chloe 21st and Saliah 30th. This was enough to secure the silver medals for the team who have all raced hard this season and were rewarded for their efforts.
As with the U17 men this is a very strong team for the club and they did not disappoint in the last race. Finlay White had another excellent run for second place which also meant he was second overall. Finnan Robins in his first year in this age group was seventh on the day and fourth overall. Next home on the day was Alex Dickson, recovered from his knee problems, in ninth which gave him the overall fifth place trophy. The next team counter was Tyler Hawley in 12th and Max Chappelle made up the scorers in 17th place. Not far behind Max was Luca Bradley in 18th Leo Merritt was 20th. Our final athlete on the day was Daniel Hawes, recovering from yet another illness in 40th place. This result ensured the team had won the overall league in a comprehensive fashion with over 300 points more than the team in second place.
Thankfully we had a full team out for this last fixture as the girls had recovered from their illnesses and injuries. Amelia Taylor had her best run of the year, a bit late in the day according to her coach, to finish in ninth place. Amy Harland, who is gradually returning to form and is in a non-growing period, was 11th then came Olivia Scott in 15th, Tulah Searle 19th and the final scorer was Katie Gilhooly in 34th. They were also joined by Caitlin Casey 60th and Maya Whitehouse 63rd. This performance put the team in third place overall, a great effort after being an athlete short in the last fixture.
It seems as if all our boys teams are very strong and the U13 is no exception. We had a total of 13 athletes running over the season and a number were well up the field in every race. Charlie Smith was the first to finish for the team in fourth place then came Oliver Cresswell in ninth, Ash Burgess 10th, Jesse Bradley 22nd and the final scorer Jack Hendley-Smith 51st. Two other youngsters battled the elements to compete and ran well as Daniel Ryan finished in 54th and Simeon Swain in 59th place. This result was enough to give the team the silver medal position overall so they were a happy bunch of boys at the end of a very wet day.
Amira Hamilton had yet another excellent race to record her highest place of the season as she finished in fourth. Lexie Robins, new to this age group this year was 11th and the other team scorers were Cassie Pearson 37th, Jenny O'Rourke 44th and Kira Mitchell 64th. We had a good turn out in this age group as Livia Casey was 66th, Katie Collis 71st and Ava McMorrow 72nd. Overall the team finished in fifth place.
Most of our youngest boys are just starting our in their running and this year has been a learning experience for them. With a water filled ditch and storm conditions to contend with at this last race they have certainly experienced cross country running. Unfortunately only three athletes were able to get to the race but they all ran very well. Oliver Shortman was the first athlete home in 38th place and then came Liam Connell 45th and finally the third of the Bradley brothers, Corin in 53rd. Well done boys on your commitment to the team.
As with the boys only three girls were able to get to the course so we were two athletes short to count for the team. Well done to Phoebe Sharma 40th, Tessa Burgess 61st and Anaiya Plaha 63rd. We look forward to seeing these youngsters progress over the coming years.