A record 41 Junior athletes represented North Somerset AC at the first Gwent League meeting held in Bridgend on Sunday 12th October. The team was a mixture of debutants (11 athletes were competing for the first time) and more experienced athletes and it was the youngest age group, the Under 11’s, that got the season underway.
Seven U11 boys lined up in a large field of 112 athletes. All ran well in a fast run race with particularly promising performances from Guy Owen who finished in 23rd place closely followed by Dan Whitehead in 32nd place. Louie Brunsdon, Will Maine, Ted Deakin, Adam Smith and Luke Ashurst can all be proud of their debuts and it will be interesting to follow the progress of this group as they gain more race experience.
Six U11 girls lined up in a very competitive race and with four top 30 finishes from Charlotte Sidwell 7th, Ruby Owen 12th, Connie Ballentine 15th and Alice Bridger-Moralis 23rd the future looks very bright in this age group. Stephanie Brooks and Matilda Ballentine finishing halfway through another very large field of runners completed the team.
The six U13 boys were an equal mix of experienced athletes and newcomers and it was the 2013 U11 Gwent League champion, Sam Gentry, who led from gun to tape for a very impressive victory. He was followed by newcomer Alex Collins in 12th place and Ollie Lock, making his debut in this age group, in 13th place. Another newcomer ‘Jamie Carroll’ finished strongly in a creditable 25th place. Ryan Burton with a terrific final 300 metres and debutant Daniel Nutting having a sound run completed the team. A top three team prize looks to be realistic target for this age group if they continue to perform well in future races.
The eight U13 girls were also a mix of experienced and inexperienced athletes and it was two of the experienced athletes, Lucy Maine and Rosie Whitehead, who led the team home. Both girls recorded their first top 10 Gwent League finishes with Lucy in 6th place and Rosie in 7th, it promises to be an exciting season for the two girls. Maisie Squire, a newcomer to cross country, was next home in 44th place and with promising performances from the Soper sisters ‘Maddie and Ruby’ with the Smith sisters ‘Lauren and Kerrin’ this age group this looks a team to watch out for in future races.
Only 4 boys contested the always highly competitive Under 15 boy’s race but they produced four highly competitive performances that auger well for the future. Matt Hogg followed up his breakthrough season on the track with a first top 10 Gwent League finish in 5th place. Jaylan Bacon and Callum Smith, both making their debuts in this age group, finished in very promising 17th and 24th positions respectively. Not to be outdone, Euan Campbell produced his best Gwent League finish in 29th position. With some reinforcements from other Under 15 boys in the club this age group could challenge for team honours by the end of the season.
The six Under 15 girls representing the club included four medallists from the previous two years Midland and National Road Relays so hopes were high for some prominent performances. The girls didn’t disappoint in recording five top 20 finishes and a highly promising return to racing following a long injury layoff from last year’s Gwent League U13 individual Silver medallist Olivia Burton.
Alice Davies led the race at a tremendous pace until part way through the second lap before the pace told and she finished a close up 4th. The other girls packed well throughout the first lap before moving through the field on the second lap. Lauren Ashurst recorded her first Gwent League top 10 finish in 9th place closely followed by Hattie Emery in 11th place and, not to be outdone, Sara Flower and Lizzie Plews finished in the top 20 in 17th and 18th positions respectively. Running a superb race after missing most of the track season with injury, Olivia Burton crossed the line fit and well in 25th place.
With four of the girls in their first year in this age group this looks a formidable team for the foreseeable future.
Three boys competed in the joint Under17/Under 20 age group run over a strength sapping 6K and all performed with great promise. First home in 14th place was Joe Gentry who is in his first year in the Under 17 age group. He was followed in 23rd place by David Warnes who was hampered by a foot injury. Debutant Mike Proffitt was close behind in a highly creditable 25th place. These were tremendous performances in what is always a very tough race when the age groups are combined.
James Rodgers in the senior mens race brought his fine form from recent road events into the cross country. He ran strongly from the off and finished in a superb 10th place from a very strong field of over 350 runners in a race that included the South, West and East Wales XC Championships. Triathlete Llewellyn Holmes finished only 30 seconds behind Rodgers with a very impressive 20th place finish, but injuries and unavailability of several top athletes from Steve Holliers senior group was a blow to the team securing maximum points on this occasion.
The final athlete to compete was Angharad Flower who although eligible to compete in the combined Under17/Under20 girl’s race elected to run in the Senior Ladies event and finished in an excellent 90th place.
Congratulations to all the athletes who competed. The next cross country fixture is the Bristol Cross at Ashton Court on 25th October.
Full U11B results: Guy Owen 23rd, Dan Whitehead 32nd, Louie Brunsdon 50th, William Maine 65th, Adam Smith 71st,, Luke Ashurst 73rd, Ted Deakin 111th.
Full U11G results: Charlotte Sidwell 7th, Ruby Owen 12th, Connie Ballentine 15th, Alice Bridger-Moralis 23rd, Stephanie Brooks 53rd, Matilda Ballentine 70th.
Full U13B results: Sam Gentry 1st, Alex Collins 12th, Ollie Lock 13th, Jamie Carroll 25th, Ryan Burton 58th, Daniel Nutting 86th.
Full U13G results: Lucy Maine 6th Rosie Whitehead 7th Maisie Squire 44th Elleanor Atwell 71st Ruby Soper 72nd Madeleine Soper 73rd Kerrin Smith 83rd Lauren Smith 96th
Full Under 15B results: Matt Hogg 5th, Jaylan Bacon 17th, Callum Smith 24th, Euan Campbell 29th,
Full Under 15G results: Alice Davies 4th,, Lauren Ashurst 9th, Hattie Emery 11th, Sara Flower 17th, Lizzie Plews 18th, Olivia Burton 25th.
Full Under 17B results: Joe Gentry 14th, David Warnes 23rd, Mike Proffitt 25th.
Senior Ladies result: Angharad Flower 90th.