Aldershot, Farnham & District’s senior women retained their title at the English cross country relay championships in Mansfield. Lily Partridge, the only member who was also in last year’s winning trio, again led home the runners on the first leg. Georgie Bruinvels was overtaken by Birchfield’s Danielle Hodgkinson who had started less than four seconds after her but Stacey Johnson was unable to keep the midlanders ahead because AFD fielded Emelia Gorecka on the anchor leg.
Gorecka anchored AFD’s junior women to victory last year but, even without the European champion, the club retained the junior title too on Satiurday. On the opener, Olivia Lucas finished second for the club’s B team but Grace Baker was only a couple of seconds behind in third and handed over to Laura Gent who took the lead for the A team. English Schools champion Amy Griffiths secured the gold medals with 45 seconds to spare while Rebecca Howard anchored the B to fourth, having taken over from Gabi Eglen.
AFD’s other win came in the under-17 men’s race. Following legs by Jack Boswell and Nathan Gibson, the club was eighteen seconds off the lead in fourth. Jake Cvetkovic set off almost ten seconds behind third-placed Tonbridge whose Alasdair Kinloch soon went ahead and stayed there until the closing stages when the AFD man passed him and opened a gap of more than four seconds.
The club’s last runner in the u13 boys’ event, Luke Van Oudtshoorn, could not catch Blackheath & Bromley’s Rowan Fuss, ranked number two in the UK over 1500 metres for this age-group (five above his pursuer) since half a second was the difference in their times after two kilometres around Berry Hill Park. Joshua Genco-Russo had opened AFD’s account and Josh Foreman had put them into their eventual sliver-medal position.
The club’s u17 women claimed a set of bronze medals. They entered the frame on the second leg with Daisy D’Santos who had taken over from Katie Shiel-Rankin but AFD’s Niamh Brown was passed by Harriet Knowles-Jones, the English Schools intermediate champion. While Knowles-Jones went all the way to the front for Warrington, Brown managed to regain third.
AFD’s junior men missed out on medals by one place and less than eight seconds despite the efforts of Toby Smith, Gus Cockle and Jack Rowe. Both the senior men (Josh Grace, Adam Clarke, Elliot Palmer and Ian Bailey) and u15 boys (Ollie Percival, Marcus Shantry and Robbie Coupland) finished sixth. Tenth was the final position achieved by the u15 girls’ trio of Stacey Burrows, Tilly Horton and Eugenie Cockle.