Cardiff’s Llandaff Fields was the setting for the opening Gwent Cross Country League fixture of the season, also being held in conjunction with the first race of the five race British Cross Challenge series.
On a balmy but very windy day North Somerset AC took just under 70 young athletes, with many enjoying the opportunity to pitcc themselves against some of the leading athletes in the UK.
The U11’s kicked things off and Harry Shallcross had a terrific race to finish 12th in a field of 96, with Alex Liddell, Ben Kelly and William Taylor-Jones supporting well to complete the A team scores in 38th, 39th and 51st respectively and finish 6th team overall on the day.
Zachary Yeung, Rowan Preen, Luke Carratt, Ranolph Yeung, Reuben Ballentine and Joe Blackmore-Squires all ran well to complete the team scores.
Lower age athlete ‘Sophie Carratt’ is certainly one to watch for future races. She made her superb 5th place look effortless and finished just 11 seconds behind the girls race winner. Esther Wring, Lottie Riordan and Bonnie Mills in 30th, 43rd and 68th respectively supported Sophie for the A team to 8th place, with Femke Lucking 72nd and Mia Haslett 85th completing the team from a 105 strong field.
Sam Holloway led the U13 boys with a fine 12th place ahead of team mates Herbie Cooksley 32nd, Elliot Jeston 36th and Kyle Burford 52nd to finish 6th team. Jacob Forsbrook, Joseph Sandiford, Zeki Harston and Conor Hewitt all packed well together to finish 53rd, 55th, 56th and 58th respectively in a field of 82.
The clubs top individual performance of the day came in the U13 girls race where Keira Devereux showed her pedigree. Running with the race leaders throughout, she narrowly missed a Cross Challenge podium finish being pipped on the line to finish 4th overall. Her consolation however was 1st place of the Gwent League entrants.
Bottom age Millie Redman continues to impress and 8th place was deserved reward for the talented youngster. Good team running from Blythe Jones and Olivia Maidment in 29th and 30th took the A team to 2nd on the day. Harriet Brown, Lyla Briffitt, Hannah Wilson, Celia Becerril-Galan, Emily Freeman, Mitu Panicucci and Willow Preen in that order from 48th to 70th completed the team scores.
Will Scott led the U15 boys home with a very good 13th place, with Adam Ray, Louie Brunsdon and Charles Broadhurst finishing 38th, 40th and 41st respectively for 7th place team. Oliver Andrews 47th, Cameron Perry 61st and Marcos Becceril-Galan 68th completed the team.
It was great to see the Bridger-Morales girls back wearing North Somerset vests, and as expected U15 Alice led the girls home with a fine top 10 finish. Steph Brooks, Abigail Taylor, Ella Johnston, Constance Rawlings and Alysha Forsbrook in 33rd, 42nd, 48th, 49th and 57th respectively completed the team.
With Sam Gentry and Matt Howard missing the U17 men did well to take the team to 4th on the day and are well placed to challenge for honors after this one. Bottom age athletes Ollie Lock and Alfie Hocking displayed superb team running, with the pair locked together throughout and finishing 17th and 18th.
Ben Hamblin continues his return to fitness and should be well pleased with his 23rd place, whilst Jack Wilkinson suffered a stitch throughout to finish well below his capability in 37th to complete the A team score.
Max Davies and Will Cheek worked well together with Max just taking the honours in 40th and Will just one place behind. Jamie Van-de-Velde, Calum Day, Jamie Pass, Alex Collins, Louis Carr and debutant Flynn Pankow completed the team.
Megan McCrum led the U17 ladies home in 32nd with Nelly Bridger-Morales 34th, Ellie Redman 36th, Ellie Maule 38th, Maisie Squire 41st and Victòria Pearson 43rd completing the team scores.
Calum Smith was the clubs sole U20 race entry in a top class field of runners, where he ran strongly to finish 15th from the 24 Gwent League runners. U20 qualifying athlete Joe Gentry entered the men’s race for the first time and finished a superb 65th from a field of 437 with an impressive time of 35.38 over the 9.6k course.