We woke up to rain and the vague hope that it would be better in Luton was dispelled on the drive up the M1. A big thank you to Duncan Griffin for his team management and putting up the Club tent, it would have been a miserable day without it.
The wet conditions however made the Stopsley course a bit more challenging and we actually did pretty well. We finished 5th on the day and maintain our position of 4th overall after 3 matches.
Our Senior Women continued their impressive form with another 1st place finish to extend our lead over Milton Keynes. Pippa Woolven made a late decision to run, and pulled away from a good field in the second half. Alex Cook continues her great winter with a 6th place place finish. And not far behind was Jenny Roberts, who keeps on getting better and better with a 9th place finish. It was great to see Nicki Johnson back in action after a summer on the OCR circuit. And with Jess Gray and Laura Street closing in the top 21 we were too strong for Milton Keynes.
Our Senior Men did brilliantly last year to finish 3rd. We’re struggling a little this year for various reasons. However, other clubs seem to be struggling more than us, and despite missing a few of our stronger runners, we finished 4th and actually moved up to 3rd overall. Performance of the day was by Joe Branch. Joe made his debut in the League 2 seasons ago. He struggled with calf problems in his first year but an 8th place finish was an excellent run, his best yet and every chance of even better in the future. Solid runs by the rest of the team and a big welcome to Paul Gilbert who was our 8th man home on his debut for the Club.
For the juniors earlier the weather was particularly unpleasant, the perfect storm of wind, rain and cold temperatures. But they braved the conditions and performed brilliantly as they have done all season.
For the U11s it was a bit of an introduction to real cross country running, but they threw everything into it despite the weather. In the girls race we had; Sienna Dove, Josephine Crockett, Emma Westbrook, Haleema Safdar and Sumayya Safdar, finishing in that order. In the boys U11s race, despite the conditions, we had another good turnout with the following athletes battling through to the finish; Cameron Harrington, William Foster, Edward Faulkner, Samuel Evans, Alfie Parker, Dylan Martin and Dylan Taylor.
The U13 girls are developing a good team spirit, which means they turnout regularly for races whatever the conditions. On Saturday the team finished in 6th place, in the following order; Libby Sutton, Lyla Griffin, Amy Hogbin, Emma Caddell and Ellie Faulkner. The U13 boys team was a bit short of numbers, but the ever reliable Casper Chillingworth and William Alexander placing 18th and 34th, closely followed by Jai and Ishi Burmi.
The U15 girls race was a fascinating game of cat-n-mouse with Megan Harris and Olivia Brown tracking each other throughout the race. And just behind were Ellen Cooper and Tilly Firth moving steadily through the pack. The final 300m was a sprint fest with Olivia just pipping Megan and Ellen to finish first for Wycombe and securing her selection for next weekend’s Inter Counties. The team finished 2nd, behind Chiltern, their highest position this year. There is chance of a medal if we can continue to field a strong team. The under 15 boys were down in numbers a little, but Jacob Sanderson continued his run of form, finishing a comfortable 4th overall. Alex Mitchell and Owen Westbrook finished 33rd and 38th respectively.
Our lone U17 woman was Cerys Vico. Cerys is gradually building her fitness as the winter progresses. She ran a tactically astute race, finishing with a sprint and doing enough to secure selection for next weekend’s Inter Counties. We had 2 athletes in the U17 men, Myles Caddell and Tom Crockett. Myles had already been pre-selected for the Inter Counties but still ran a strong race to finish 7th and was ably supported by Tom in 17th.