Ben Collins, Rob McTaggart, Geoff Newton, Szymon Chojnacki, David Crowther, Tim Hughes, Adrian James, Bryn Smith, Alex Goulding and Jud Kirk (Josh King and Ryan Pegoraro absent)

The Hampshire Cross Country League 2023/2024 season drew to a close at Kings Park, Bournemouth on Saturday 10 February, with the BAC‘s Senior Men all but safe in Division 1, but still requiring a decent result to be sure. Fortunately this was delivered by Josh King, Rob McTaggart, Bryn Smith, Szymon Chojnacki and Ryan Pegoraro all of whom ran exceptionally to finish 12th, 20th, 26th, 32nd and 34th respectively, with Ben Collins in 38th position just missing out on a team place. The team were 5th of 10 on the day, 7th for the season, ensuring a Division 1 competition next year. In all, 12 BAC senior/veteran men competed, with the veteran mens’ team of Szymon, Adrian James and Alex Goulding securing an incredible 2nd team place on the day, 9th of 16 teams overall for the season.  BAC‘s Senior Women also put out a team of Sian McIlwaine, Julia Austin and Nikki McTaggart, with Daisy Musk the essential back-up.  The team were 15th of 18 on the day, 16th of 18 for the season.  There were some notable performances from BAC‘s younger athletes at Kings Park, with Riley Austin and Connor Grocott 1st and 2nd respectively of the U13 boys, Isabel Cherrett 2nd U15 girl and Oliver Canavan 7th U15 boy.  Many congratulations to Connor, who concluded the season as the 1st U13 Boy of the League for the season, to Riley, the 3rd U13 Boy of the League, and to Isabel, 2nd U15 Girl of the League.  Many thanks to Simon Saunders, who has taken over the organisation of this fixture, for a successful day, including laying on good weather!

Daisy Musk, Sian McIlwaine, Nikki McTaggart and Julia Austin

Results (BAC): Senior/Veteran Men: 12. Josh King 32.37, 20. Rob McTaggart 33.54, 26. Bryn Smith 34.31, 32. Szymon Chojnacki 35.24, 34. Ryan Pegoraro 35.33, 38. Ben Collins 35.49, 51. Adrian James 37.21, 76. Alex Goulding 38.58, 142. David Crowther 45.07, 143. Jud Kirk 45.12, 163. Tim Hughes 47.21, 170, Geoff Newton 51.08; Senior/Veteran Women: 58. Sian McIlwaine 28.00, 69. Julia Austin 29.09, 82. Nikki McTaggart 30.31, 93. Daisy Musk 32.33; U17 Men: 21. Nathan Mearns 22.58; U15 Boys: 7. Oliver Canavan 14.26, 23. Steven Kiff 17.06; U15 Girls: 2. Isabel Cherrett 14.50, 24. Elizabeth Davie 21.08: U13 Boys: 1. Riley Austin 10.54, 2. Connor Grocott 10.58, 22. Callum Pearson 12.58, 29. Solly Abu-Ghaba 13.39; U11 Boys: 15. Edward Davie 8.27, 28. Leo Sims 9.18, 29. Timo Green 9.20, 37. Joshua Wells 9.59, 38. Anderson Peaty 10.15; U11 Girls: 27. Imogen Savage 10.20, 29. Alicja Mysliwska 10.26.

Josh King leads the BAC team

Ryan Pegoraro completes BAC’s team

The Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships took place at Wollaton Park, Nottingham on 8 March with at least 21 BAC athletes supporting the Dorset teamBryn Smith, Ben Collins and Chris O’Brien all competed in the Senior Mens’ race, and amongst the 18 or so BAC youngsters taking part there were some very creditable performances.  Bearing in mind the huge numbers racing for Counties the length and breadth of England, Isabel Cherrett‘s 19th finish in her age category was outstanding (Isabel was 3rd in her age category in the South West Cross Country Championship).  The same can be said of Connor Grocott‘s 56th placing (Connor actually won his age category in the Hampshire Cross Country Championship), also of Hugo Richardson‘s 79th placing (Hugo was 3rd in his age category in the Dorset County Championship, as were Imogen Pope and Isaac May in their categories), of Oliver Canavan‘s 12th (yes, 12th!) placing (Oliver won his category in the Dorset County Championship), of Riley Austin‘s 32nd placing (Riley was 5th in his category in the South West Cross Country Championship), and of Ellie Taylor’s 62nd placing (Ellie was 4th in her category in the Dorset County Championship).  Referring to earlier Championships, in their categories Seb Crowe was 3rd in the Dorset County Championship, and Oscar Newbery was 8th in the South West Championship.

Simon Saunders has written: “BAC Juniors coached by Nick Marshall, Chris O’Brien, Leon Hurst-Atkins, Simon Hearn & Simon Saunders have represented the club and county over the cross-country at Wessex & Hampshire Leagues, Dorset & Hampshire County Championships, SW County Championships, South of England Championships and Inter-Counties Championships
Over 100 performances from BAC Juniors who have represented BAC and or Dorset / Hampshire at county, regional or national level. 
Many of the Juniors also represented Dorset / Hampshire at this past weekend’s English Schools Cross-Country in Pontefract drawing the season to a conclusion. 
We would like to thank all the officials, parents, coaches and athletes for representing their club and we look forward to translating this into strong performances on the track.”
Maybe it’s worth listing all those youngsters to whom Simon refers: Aiden Blagden, Albha O’Brien, Amy Betts, Ava Richmond, Callum Pearson, Clodagh O’Brien, Connor Grocott, Constance King, Edward King, Elizabeth Davie, Ellie Taylor, Emily Coltman, Esmee Hurst Atkins, Finley Hurst Atkins, Harry Butcher, Hugo Richardson, Imogen Pope, Isaac May, Isabel Cherrett, Isabella Crawford, Isla May, Jack Webb, Jessica Long, Matilde Blagden, Nathan Mearns, Oliver Canavan, Oscar Newbery, Riley Austin, Samuel Brewer, Seb Crowe, Solly Abu-Ghaba, Steven Kiff, William Moss.  In an exercise such as this there is always the risk that someone has inadvertently been left out, and sincere apologies if this has occurred. 
There remains the National Cross Country Championships, in which Bryn Smith will be competing.  This was scheduled for 24 February at Weston Park, Shropshire, but a deluge of rain a day or two before meant it was impossible to proceed (mainly because of car parking difficulties rather than the course itself).  It is now scheduled for September 14, and we wish Bryn the very best of luck.
Finally, here are some photographs of the Inter Counties Cross Country Championship at Nottingham.

Dorset U17 Men

Dorset U20 Men

Dorset U 15 Boys

Dorset U15 Girls

Dorset U 13 Girls

Isabel Cherrett on her way to finishing 19th

Senior Women Start

General View