National Cross Country Relay Champs – AFD dominate under 15 boys
Aldershot Farnham & District’s u15 boy runners displayed the greatest show of strength in the English Cross Relays at Mansfield on Saturday, placing first, second and fifth. The issue of whether the club’s A or B team would take the title was resolved only on the last of the three two-kilometre legs where English Schools junior champion Woody Jerome overtook Sam Bodoano. The latter was handed a lead of fourteen seconds by Alfie Spear who took over from Charlie Wagstaff in third and stayed ahead of the A team’s Ryan Martin who had taken over from Michael Gar and closed up to third. Jerome also passed Frederick Georgiou of Blackheath & Bromley Harriers and brought his side home six seconds clear. The AFD C team of Ed Henderson, Harry Hyde and Max Duckworth emphasized AFD’s superiority in this age group.
Both the club”s senior men and women were runners-up. In the men’s event, the only one to comprise four legs, AFD occupied their silver-medal position from the second leg where Jonny Hay had promoted them eleven places after taking over from Ben Bradley. At this halfway point, Leeds City had a lead of five seconds that Ellis Cross and Richard Allen could not close. AFD’s B team (Ricky Harvie, Luke Prior, Callum Charleston and Philip Sewell) came seventh.
AFD led after the first leg of the women’s event when Emily Hosker Thornhill finished 24 seconds before Nicole Taylor of Tonbridge. The Kent side gained the lead during the second leg as Lucy Reid, eighteenth in last season’s National Cross Country Championships, overtook Anna Weston (35th in the junior race at the same meeting) and Laura Gent was unable to regain it for AFD from Ashley Gibson.
Elliot Pocock was a dozen seconds behind Cameron MacRae of Invicta East Kent, who was fifteenth in the national champs, as they finished ninth and fourth on the opening leg of the u17 men’s competition. On the second leg, Charlie Brisley took IEK to the front and Will Barnicoat took AFD into third, sixteen seconds behind. Matt Stonier, English Schools intermediate silver medallist, managed to fend off Luke van Oudtshoorn who was five seconds faster when promoting AFD to the silver medals
The club’s junior women were promoted to the silver medals, although third in their relay, because Loughborough Students, who crossed the line first, were ineligible for an award. Herne Hill Harriers were declared the winners from AFD’s trio of Maisie Grice, Nancy Scott and Niamh Brown. The AFD B team of Niamh Reid-Smith, Beanie Brown and Lizzie Squibbs placed seventh. AFD were ninth in three age groups: junior men (Marcus Shantry, Jack Boswell and Max Heyden), u15 girls (Ruby Horton, Rachel Gillett and Pippa Roessler) and u13 boys (Alex Bishop, James Hayward and Dan Shattock).