Southern Cross Country Championships
Saturday’s South of England cross country championships featured a duel for the junior women’s title between two runners from Aldershot, Farnham & District. Amy Griffiths, the English Schools’ champion, and Grace Baker, winner of the Home Countries international at the end of last season, soon went clear of the rest and remained together until the closing stages of their six-kilometre race around Brighton’s Stanmer Park, where Griffiths managed to pull away for victory by twelve seconds. Baker finished nineteen seconds clear of the bronze medallist, Thurrock’s Gemma Holloway who had won at last month’s South of England inter counties meeting. Rebecca Howard, who was ninth, and Gabi Eglen, twentieth, formed the second half a winning team for AFD.
The club’s under-13 boys were led to their gold medals by the individual bronze medallist, Luke van Oudtshoorn, one of three athletes whose dash for the line resulted in a shared time, three seconds behind the winner. Josh Genco-Russo was fourteenth, Charlie Kershaw twentieth, and Eion Canning twenty-ninth for AFD. The club’s other gold-medal winning teams were the junior men (George Gathercole fourth, Richard Allen eighth, Toby Smith ninth and Jack Rowe seventeenth) and u15 girls (Eugenie Cockle ninth, Stacey Burrows seventeenth, Maisie Grice twenty-fifth and Lucy Pygott twenty-seventh).
The u17 women were denied gold on countback. Niamh Brown (individual bronze medallist), Daisy D’Santos (eleventh), Katie Shiel-Rankin (twentieth) and Tabitha Bowden (twenty-fourth) achieved the same number of points as Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow. The u17 men were also silver medallists. Nathan Gibson came eighth, Jake Cvetkovic ninth, Jack Boswell twenty-sixth and Dan Rickards fortieth. AFD’s u13 girls were sixth. Both the senior men and the u15 boys were ninth. The senior women’s event provided the club with an individual medal, a silver for Georgie Bruinvels behind Winchester & District’s Louise Damen who was seventh in the marathon at last year’s Commonwealth Games.