7 out of 10 county championship titles for WSEH athletes at Berkshire County Cross Country Championships
At the annual Berkshire County Cross Country Championships held in Cookham on Sunday 19th December 2021, the club’s cross-country runners won every individual title from U13 Girls and U13 Boys up to U20 Women and U20 Men (apart from the U15 Girl’s race). Club representatives were also 2nd in the Senior Women’s and U15 Girls’ races and 3rd in the Senior Men’s event. As well as winning the county titles, WSEH athletes placed 2nd in the U15 Girls, U17 Men’s and U20 Men’s and Women’s races, came 3rd in the U13 Boys, U13 Girls and U15 Girl’s events and took the top 4 places in the U17 Women’s race. All 7 winners are part of Shireen Higgins’ middle distance group at WSEH.
This was the 1st time that the Copas farm venue had been used for a county championship although some socially-distanced, wave-based races had been held at the venue during the previous cross-country season. In bright sunshine, the 1st race of the day was the Senior Men’s 10 km consisting of 1 small and 3 large laps around undulating farmland and grassy verges. The race was run at the same time as the U20 Men’s 1 small and 2 large lap 7km event. Daniel Brookling was the best of the Senior Men taking 3rd place behind winner Sam Hart of Newbury AC, followed by Hugo Donovan in 12th and Phil Branston in 31st (12th in the Veterans over 35 category and 1st V55). With 6 to score, the club was unfortunately not able to finish a team.
Sam Hodgson took a fine 1st place in the U20 Men’s race and with Will Goddard 2nd and Ross van Heerde 4th, they easily won the team competition. Other WSEH athletes in the race were Ben Rowe, Luke Hynes, Jack Campbell and Jordi Evans-Rodriguez in 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th places respectively.
Meg Ormond took a distant 2nd place to Kirsty Walker in the Senior Women’s 10km race with Izzy Rainer in 6th. In the accompanying U20 Women’s 7km event Jasmine Young led from the start to take a deserved win followed by Katie Clutterbuck in 2nd.
In the U13 Boys’ race, Finn McKay, running his 1st cross country race for the club, took a resounding win and with James Farley 3rd and George Hilliar 5th, they also won the team competition. Aaron Shiel was not far behind in 9th, Ben Young was 22nd and Euan Totays 29th. Zoe Allen won the U13 Girls’ race, closely followed by Tara Ferguson who took 3rd place. Lola Williamson was the 3rd scorer in the winning team in 9th place. Zara Davey who was only just old enough to compete, was 11th and Sofia Sabbah 16th.
Ben Dewar continued the club’s success with an emphatic win in the U15 Boys’ race with Callum Welch 5th, James McSharry 13th and Sohan Nath 16th. After a close-fought battle with winner Carys Westcott from Reading AC, Ella Davey was a close 2nd in the U15 Girls’ race backed up by Abigail Farley in 4th and Aashni Manek 16th which gave them the 3rd team position. In addition, Ana Passos was 20th, Sorcha Lally 24th and Maizie Tearle 25th.
Luke Birdseye continued the club’s winning ways in the U17 Men’s race with Frank McGrath 2nd and Joshua Mingoia in 4th after just losing out on the sprint for 3rd. This gave them a clear team victory. In addition, George Thomas was 7th and Julian Abass 9th. WSEH’s U17 Women took the 1st 4 places in their race with Freya Ruffels and Jemima Ridley battling it out for the win until Freya broke away in the last 800m of the race to take 1st place. Rachel Clutterbuck completed the medallists in 3rd which sealed their team victory. Jess Hatch was not far behind in 4th and Keshni Manek also ran an excellent race coming in 7th.
What a fantastic day for the club and in addition to the successes on the day, everyone coming in the top 8 in their race has a chance to represent Berkshire County in the Inter Counties Championships in Loughborough on Saturday 12 March 2022.
Full results are available here.