Under 15 girls team - Hannah Morton, Connie Lewis, Emma Barraclough
Under 15 boys team - James McCarthy, Joe Aherne, Bill Hughes
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Pictures by Steve Perkin
There were medals galore for Chiltern Harriers young athletes
at Biggleswade on Saturday at the Southern Cross Country Relays
In very hot weather on a 2K or 3K course that had an energy-sapping hill, the youngsters did the club proud with golds for the Under 15 girls and Under 15 boys, silvers for the Under 17 men and Under 13 boys and a host of great runs by younger athletes, finding their feet in cross country at this level.
The Under 17 men started off proceedings with George Gillingwater running 10.05 on the 3K loop to come home in fifth. Michael Goddard ran 10.10 on the second leg to move up to second and Jack Walker held that position to the end, running 10.39. The Chiltern B team featured Chris Strong (11.25), Alex Johnson (11.10) and Eli Bou-Gharios (11.24) all running solid legs to finish 11th.
The Under 13 girls were next and were up against two of the country’s best teams in Bracknell and West Suffolk, amongst others. Mimi Houlihan-Burne took on the first leg duties and ran well over 2K to log 8.19 in seventh place. Hannah Thear ran hard to move up to fourth with 7.50 (sixth fastest lap overall) and Sophie Morton had another good run of 8.08 to maintain fourth place. The B team of Rachel Padwick (8.39), Katie McCartney (8.53) and Abi Jones (8.38) were eighth and the C team of Jessica Brew (8.55), Alex Hughes-Morgan (9.32) and Maddy Lacey (8.47) were 11th. Great runs by inexperienced but enthusiastic girls.
The Under 13 boys had high hopes after second place at Aldershot the week before in the Southern Road Relays. Sam Henning got the A team off to a great start with a lap of 7.01 (second fastest of the day) which saw them leading. Robert Hall started fast but faded towards the end of his lap to log 7.35 and Thomas Conway had a small advantage going into the final leg. Although he increased the lead over most of the field he couldn’t hold off Bedford’s Tom Angell, whose 6.42 on the last leg was easily best of the day.
The B team of Angus Denison-Smith (7.28), Will Perkin (7.26), and Fred Sanders (7.35) finished an excellent fifth. The C team of Jonny Stenning (7.50), Callum Hodson (7.57) and David Willcox (7.41) were seventh and the D team of Theo Kontos (7.46), Ethan Kidd (8.05) and Rohan Montgomery (8.14) were tenth. This was a great show of the strength in depth at the club in this age group.
The action then moved onto the Under 15s. Hannah Morton had another great run to ‘win’ the first leg with 7.07 over 2K. Connie Lewis then stretched out a big lead, again running 7.07 to hand over to Emma Barraclough who ran maturely to keep the lead with a lap of 8.07, holding off the runner from Aldershot , Farnham and District, and winning by a clear 20 seconds. Hannah and Connie shared the fastest lap prize and Emma’s time was eleventh fastest.
As the girls received their gold medals, Bill Hughes crossed the line to complete a win for the Under 15 boys. Joe Aherne had a blinding run of 6.40 to lead after one leg. James McCarthy then ran 6.31 to stretch the lead and Bill Hughes, despite struggling with a sore back, finished with 6.59 to finish the job. The B team of Joe Cochrane (6.50), Sam Butcher (7.20) and Callum Neal (7.06) were fourth and Toby Jones (7.00) and Will Oleksiuk (8.12) ran as an incomplete C team. On the fastest lap list James was second, Joe Aherne third and Joe Cochrane fifth.