Kent XC League 2016 Wilmington - Report

A record number of runners started this winter’s Kent League cross country season at the pleasant surroundings of Stanhill Farm, Dartford. With the weather more suited to the track season Blackheath and Bromley HAC young athletes were out in force with many making the BBHAC debuts and some making their winter debuts. The course was fairly flat, firm under foot and great for spectators and we had great interest in every race as 75 of our young athletes competed throughout the day.

The U13 age group gave us our biggest turn out and our debutants made a big impact helping the girls to win the team race and the boys to place second in their team race.

The U13 girls are so strong in depth that we had eight BB in the top 14 with new girls Naomi Toft and Annie Thomas finishing a great 1st and 2nd with Ellie Dolby just behind in a solid 4th. Consistent Daniella Harper a great 8th, Amarisa Sibley in her debut league cross country race 9th, Lily Meers also on her debut in 10th, Olivia Berry 12th and Amelia Middleton also on her first club winter race 14th all well inside the top 20. Ella Smith had a great run in 21st and the ever improving Kelsey Pullin was 27th. Heidi Forsyth was 31st, Hanna Clark 38th and Amelie Willars making her BB debut was 62nd completing a very strong squad.

The U13 boys produced the biggest squad of the day with 16 athletes toeing the line to start the 3.3k two lap course. With Tonbridge AC flooding the front end it was great to see Tom Brash hold his own and split them up crossing the line in 3rd backed up by a fast finishing debutant Luca Thurlow,  finishing 8th just two seconds ahead of Ben Campbell in a great 9th. With three to score in the team event these results ensured a fine second behind a strong Tonbridge team. BB U13 squad is strong and large and so the black and magenta vests kept crossing the line with a good 11th for Eddie Sellar and 12th for Max Gregson followed by 14th for Thomas Penlington. Matt Smith finished well in 19th with Oliver Robertson a solid 24th. Callum Carlton ran well finishing 31st as did Will Andrews on his debut finishing high up the field in 32nd. Alex Sibley was 36th and Jake Anthony making his debut league apperanace was 40th with Adam Parkinson just behing in 42nd. Year 6 Oles Chaban had an impressive debut run in 46th and Nick Paddington 52nd and Josh Buddle Smith 53rd completed our strong squads efforts in a field of over 80 club runners.

The U15 girls did the clean sweep placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd with Yasmin Marghini winning well on her first winter outing followed by Morgan Squibb running in her normal determined fashion holding on for 2nd and third place was filled by another new girl making her club debut Tola Pearse. Zoe White placed a great 13th, Lily Tappenden 15th, Rosie Allan 18th. Emily Davis was 23rd just in front of Niamh Milmo in 24th. Abigail Leeves was 26th and Isabelle Bridge completed the strong squad in 29th.

The U15 boys had the second largest team out with 15 black vests on the start line. Great to see Peter Guy back running over the country, having missed a year through injury and being involved in a very high standard age group. Peter did well finishing 9th backed up well by Rowan Fuss, also niggled recently with injuries, in 13th and Joe Georgiadis in 14th placing 4th in the team race just one point behind third  Ben Gardiner ran well in 20th and  Oscar Heaney Brufal on his winter BB debut looked strong in 22nd. Keir Lundy was a solid 27th, Cameron Swatton had a good run in 29th as did Justin Strover in 37th. Jake Leng crossed the linw in 49th and Matthew Pond, using a park run for a warm up was 52nd and Luke Simpson on his full BBHAC debut was 55th. Leo Braden was 62nd, Seb Large 64th, Ethan Kitteridge 72nd and Charles Winton in 77th made up the BB U15 contingent.

The U17 girls squad of eight packed their number together tightly all finishing inside the top 20 and comfortably winning the team race. Madalina Samoila ran well placing a great 5th followed by Millie Smith who continues her great winter with another strong run in 6th. Grace Scopes finished well in 8th as did Amy Leach in 9th. Good to see Genny Allan back racing, finished 14th with Jess Sellar just behind in 15th. Stephanie Taylor completed the strong squad finishing 20th. 

It is encouraging to have seven U17 boys racing and this is the largest number of U17’s we have had for many years and this resulted in a great 2nd place finish behind an as ever strong Tonbridge team. Triathlete Michael Eagling made his winter opening run a solid one pacing 8th with Lewis Mills a strong 13th. Oscar Hussey continues to impress finished 16th with Callum Myatt a good 19th. Charlie Andrews was 31st, Lewis Warren 38th and Chris Swinfen on his BB winter debut was 51st. U20 Charlie Davis started well but had to unfortunately withdraw with a tight chest.

Young athletes girls team captain Jess Keene had the choice to run 3.6K with the U17’s or 5.3k with the seniors and chose the later, an inspired decision as she ran a great race finishing 4th. Kelsey Fuss getting back to her old form looked solid finishing an impressive 8th.

The U20 men had the same dilemma of running 5.3k with the U17’s or 9.8k with the seniors and all chose to run the longer senior event. Boy’s team captain inspired by his young athletes performances earlier in the day ran superbly placing 28th in a filed of 225. Tom Desborough took a day off his university weekend exploits to run for the club and placed 41st, James Crawley finished well in 56th and good to see Scott Bulmer running and finishing 209th.

The next race, 29th October, is the second fixture of the Kent league series, in the lovely grounds of the Somerhill schools Tonbridge where the challenging course will as always be beautifully prepared. The following Saturday 5th November is the National cross country relays where we will be selecting three teams of three athletes for the annual event held in Mansfield.

As ever our parents, grandparents, family and friends were a great support to the club as is our long distance Welsh fan Bryn, supporting from a far!