We are now well into the cross country season (though you wouldn’t know it from the weather) with two Wessex League fixtures and one Hampshire League fixture under our belt. More BAC athletes than in recent years took part and a particularly pleasing aspect has been the number of youngsters competing. There have been some excellent individual and team results as well, perhaps most notably Neve East, who won the first U13 girls Wessex League race at Canford Heath, was second at the second fixture at Lytchett School, and won the Hampshire League (one of the strongest cross country leagues in the country) at Bournemouth, and also Amelia Reynolds winning her two Wessex League U15 girls races and finishing twelfth at Bournemouth. After two Wessex League fixtures BAC‘s U13 boys, U13 girls, senior men and veteran women teams are all first, with the U15 girls second and the senior women third. Laszlo Toth and Nikki Sandell top the senior men and veteran women categories respectively. In the Hampshire League, BAC‘s senior men are third team in Division 1, led by storming performances from Craig Palmer and Josh King, with our veteran women team, led by Emma Caplan and Georgia Wood lying second of 15 teams.
The 2018/19 Hampshire League got under way at Kings Park, hosted by BAC in unexpectedly warm and sunny weather on 13 October, and huge thanks are due to the organisers and volunteers who ensured that, on the day, 949 athletes were marshalled safely and accurately through ten separate races of varying distances, all of which started exactly on time, with the results published the very next day. In addition to the league BAC organised two U11 races for boys and girls respectively, and many thanks to Hazel and Jemma Bates who organised the entries and the resulting for these races, in which a total of 114 boys and girls took part. In the senior mens’ race, the five BAC athletes who made sure we continue to contest Division 1 by achieving third place were Craig Palmer, Josh King , Rob McTaggart, Graham Robinson and Stu Fox, and completing the BAC contingent were Ross Smith, Laszlo Toth, Matt du Cros, Richard Wade, Simon Hearn, Stuart Glenister and Richard Nelson. Stu Fox, Richard Wade and Simon Hearn were the BAC veteran men team achieving 8th position of 20 teams. Emma Caplan, Georgia Wood and Julia Austin made up both the senior women (6th of 24 teams) and veteran women (second as already mentioned) teams. The ever present Tom Farwell was BAC‘s sole representative in the U17 men race, and Jasper Todd and Leon Griffin ran in the U15 boys race. We had no fewer than 9 athletes in the U13 boys race, with Arief McKenna (6th), Oliver Hill and Archie Kilburn making up the team which was 9th of 15 teams, the rest of the squad being Louie Todd, Alfie Stopler, Ben Worley, Sam Brewer, Isaac Sandell and Nathan Mearns. Lauren East and Laura Reeves ran for BAC in the U17 women race, and in the U15 girls race BAC‘s team of Amelia Reynolds, Anya Sandell and Ruby Bowden, supported by Abigail Phillips were 7th of 11 teams. Also 7th of 11 teams were the U13 girls team of Neve East, Martha Preece and Ida Waring. In addition to the league itself, as referred to, 55 girls and 59 boys ran in two U11 races with 9 Bournemouth based athletes (led by Isabel Cherrett, 10th) in the girls race and 5 Bournemouth based athletes (led by Stanley Peters, 10th) in the boys race.
The Wessex Cross Country League opened in hot, sunny weather at Canford Heath well organised, as ever, by Poole AC, on 7 October. A total of 27 BAC athletes participated, the first being Isabel Cherrett, our sole U11 girl representative. (In this league, unlike the Hampshire League, the U11 races count as part of the league.) BAC‘s 5 athletes in the U13 boys race were Oscar Ewen Matthews, who was 4th, Oliver Hill, Sam Farwell, Sam Brewer and Isaac Sandell. Neve East was the winner of the U13 girls race, followed by Martha Preece, Erin Wells, Ida Waring, Emily Coltman and Imogen Gent. Leon Griffin flew the BAC flag in the U15 boys race, with Amelia Reynolds, who was third, Anya Sandell, Ruby Bowden and Abigail Phillips running in the U15 girls race. As at Bournemouth, Tom Farwell was BAC‘s only U17 men athlete, but Lauren East and Laura Reeves were both present in the U17 women race. The U20 men, senior and veteran men all race together, and although Brandon Meredith was BAC‘s only U20 man he was still an excellent 6th in the combined race. Of the senior men, Laszlo Toth was second, closely followed by Chris Phelan- Heath with Ian Graham following not so closely. Nikki Sandell won the senior/veteran women race with BAC‘s team completed by Kirsty Drewett and Helen Ambrosen.
The second Wessex League fixture, again in unseasonal weather, took place at Lytchett School on 21 October. Excellently organised by Poole Runners, the course was unusual in that 90% was in a field with the course going up and down it four times. After four laps the senior men got to know every inch of that field! There was a total of 30 BAC athletes competing, many of whom had competed at Canford Heath. To summarise; U11 girls: Isabel Cherrett; U13 Boys: Oscar Ewen Matthews, Sam Farwell, Louie Todd, Alfie Stopler, Isaac Sandell and Nathan Mearns; U13 girls: Neve East (2nd), Martha Preece, Erin Wells, Ida Waring, Emily Coltman and Mariah Marshall; U15 Boys: Jasper Todd (2nd); U15 girls: Amelia Reynolds (2nd), Anya Sandell, Ruby Bowden and Abigail Phillips; U17 men: Tom Farwell; U20 men: Brandon Meredith (6th in combined S/V/U20 men race); Senior/Veteran men: Laszlo Toth (1st), Chris Phelan-Heath (5th), Ian White and Ian Graham; Senior/Veteran Women: Nikki Sandell (2nd), Julia Austin (3rd), Kirsty Drewett, Helen Ambrosen and Sam Laws.
The next fixtures are 4 November (Wessex League, Yeovil) and 10 November (Hampshire League, Aldershot). Will we be having proper cross country weather by then?