North Somerset athletes out in force at Brecon cross country

PUBLISHED: 14:45 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:45 21 November 2017

North Somerset Athletic Club.

North Somerset Athletic Club.

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Fifty North Somerset Athletic Club members made the trip to Brecon for the second Gwent League fixture.

Despite a number of last-minute withdrawals, a full coach made the journey to Brecon for the second Gwent League meeting of the season, and a total of 50 athletes made it a successful day for North Somerset Athletic Club.

First up were the Under-11 boys who were led by the talented Elliot Jeston, whom having found himself hemmed in at the start, worked impressively through the field for a promising ninth place.

Backing him up were Zeki Harston and Jacob Forsbrook who both ran well for 20th and 33rd, while bottom age youngsters Max Weatherly and Rowan Preen should be chuffed to bits with their 47th and 55th places respectively from a 115-strong field.

The Under-11 girls’ team were without North Somerset Schools champion Millie Redman, but six girls lined up at the start in determined fashion.

Leading the group, Mia Darlington and Lyla Briffitt worked tremendously together in their first cross country race for superb 30th and 31st places respectively.

Rosa Ford was net to finish in 55th place, closely followed by Ellie Seigle 60th, Xara McKinnen 64th and Willow Preen 68th with only nine seconds separating the four girls in another huge field of 121 runners.

The Under-13 boys were lying in second place after the first fixture, and first home for the team in sixth place (and top club performer of the day) was Ollie Campbell to consolidate his own top 10 position in the league standings.

Newcomer Charles Broadhurst looks full of promise too and an impressive 17th place saw him finish just a few seconds ahead of Louie Brunsdon, who also ran well in 20th.

Ever-present Will Maine, handicapped by a cold, battled bravely throughout, with excellent support from team mates Sam Holloway, Herbie Alexander and Will Sandiford seeing just 14 seconds separate the four from 40th to 51st place. Bottom age youngster Oliver Haley completed the team scores in his first-ever race finishing 81st.

The action continued in the Under-13 girls’ race with Keira Devereux running among the leading group throughout and securing a superb ninth place finish, while Daisy Manners-Lolley was another to impress, finishing strongly in 34th place.

Working well together Poppy Adams and Abigail Taylor finished 46th and 47th respectively, as did Bella Clark and Blythe Jones in 55th and 51st. Simone Manners-Lolley completed the team scores with her 58th place finish.

With leading Under-15 boy Ollie Lock missing, 12 others rose to the occasion with a great team effort. Leading the team home in 14th position, Alfie Hocking continues to show huge improvement and he thoroughly deserved his best finish in the country to date.

Close behind and working well together were equally impressive newcomers to the country discipline, William Scott and Ben Hamblin in 19th and 22nd respectively. Max Davies has also made huge strides and his 42nd place was a major improvement on his 70th place in Cardiff.

Callum Day was another big improver in 47th, while debutant Alistair Sinclair looked an able runner in 52nd place. Emile Swanson finished in 54th and was followed in by the younger Sinclair (Harry) who also looked comfortable in 59th.

Cameron Baker-Perry was next through in 61st with Jamie Va-de-Velde in 62nd making a vast improvement from his first race in Cardiff. Jamie Pass and Louis Carr completed the team scores in 64th and 68th respectively.

It was a team full of bottom age Under-15 girls that lined up at the start and despite losing momentum after a heavy fall at the halfway stage, Steph Brookes recovered well to grind out a solid 33rd place finish.

Holly Avery has made great strides this year and was second of our girls to finish strongly in 40th. Ella Johnston and Alysha Forsbrook worked together well throughout and a fine sprint finish from the pair up the home straight took them past rival athletes to finish in 46th and 51st respectively just six seconds apart. Connie Ballentine completed the team’s scores in 60th place.

In the combined Under-17/20 race, the large contingent of boys available at the club were largely missing. Only Will Cheek and Jacob Faulkner were present to score team points, with both showing great strength of character in worsening conditions underfoot.

Will had his best race to date and will no doubt be extremely happy with his 30th place finish. Jacob braved the conditions despite little training of late and he should take heart for digging deep to finish 36th from a field of 47 runners.

Megan McCrum and Issy Gall likewise were the clubs only Under-17 girls in the combined Under-17/20 ladies’ race with Megan finishing 12th in her category and Issy looking comfortable amongst all around her in 18th from a field of 24.

Three of the clubs leading athletes - Sam Gentry, Callum Smith and Ollie Lock made the long trip to Milton Keynes for the second event of the five-race series.

These races attract the top dozen or so athletes in the UK in every age category and Ollie continued his good run of run form to finish 20th in the Under-15 race, while Callum also ran well for a 27th place in the Under-17 race.

Sam was not at his best at 57th in the same race, but his focus for the season will be the English Schools, and if he can peak at the right time and run to his potential, there is an England vest in the offing.

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