Leamington C&AC Ladies showed their strength at the Midland Cross Country Championships at the weekend, finishing second overall and claiming the silver medal. The ladies, who have seen some brilliant results in recent months, fielded a strong team with Kelly Edwards holding her own finishing 8th on the new course at Newbold Comyn. Megan McDonald crossed the line in 17th place with Natalie Bhangal in 30th despite the fact that she ran in road shoes. The slippery course, with two sharp inclines and a stream crossing per lap was tough for athletes donning cross country spikes but Bhangal took her lack of appropriate footwear in her stride to finish just in front of fellow team mate Zara Blower (31st).
The new course, hosted by Leamington C&AC, seemed to be a success to most although Phil Gould, who had been at the venue at the crack of dawn to set the course up, found himself busy throughout the day and was understandably tired by his race at 2.30pm. Despite the fatigue he had a strong race finishing 59th overall. Lacking some of his stronger team-mates, the men finished 9th on the day with Richard Hood second counter in 85th place and John Knibb in 98th. Dean Mawby placed 119th, Joshua Hough on 177th and Marc Curtis 18th.
The younger club athletes also had the opportunity to compete against the midland clubs with a good turnout in most races. Jai Sispal was the higest scorer of the day in the under 15 boys race, finishing 8th with Ruben Siemon-Kelba in 51st and Ruairc Wintston in 76th. The U15 girls were unusually separated in their race with Emily Lovett having another strong run finishing 39th with Mel Gould chasing her down to finish 10 places behind her. Ana Lovett crossed the line on 62nd and Eva Fitzpatrick who has struggled with injury in recent months, was glad to be back, and finished in a respectable 83rd.
The first race of the day saw the under 13 girls run a 3km course which missed out the steeper of the two hills on offer but nevertheless saw them face a long climb and the infamous ditch crossing. To most, it was their first experience of a truly muddy course. Marielle Proctor finished 82nd with Ila Lane close behind in 87th place. Ilsabelle Goold was 104th with Megan Marsh in 120th place. James Gould had a strong race in his debut in the Midlands event finishing 59th and was joined by team mates Harry Bailey (91st), Johnathon Ingram (98th), Diarmuid Winston (106th) and Finnley Newey (107th). The under 17 girls saw a strong race by Rosie Cale finishing in 39th place with Rositsa Gugutkova in 43rd and Georgina Hurt in 48th.
A number of Leamington C&AC young athletes attended the Warwickshire Schools Cross Country Championships at the weekend. The event, held at Moreton Morrell College, saw athletes compete in the hope that they would be selected to represent Warwickshire at the English Schools Championship which will be held in Leeds in March.As athletes were competing in school colours the club members found themselves competing against their team-mates, despite this the Intermediate girls race saw the usual close race between Molly Minshull, Emily and Ana Lovett who fought for their places all the way round the course. Emily had a stronger race on the day and finished 5th, with sister Ana in 6th and Minshull in 7th position. Team-mates Rosie Cale and Rositsa Gugutkova, found themselves joining the trio, finishing in 9th and 10th place respectively. Georgina Hurt, running as a senior girl, ran in the same race as the intermediate girls placing 8th on the day. Jai Sispal, despite being in the younger year of his age group, maintained his fine form, finishing 2nd in the intermediate boys race, whilst brothers Ruairc and Diarmuid Winston found themselves up against each other in the junior boys race finishing 15th and 34th. Harry Bailey joined them on the start line, but sustained injury in the tussle as the gun went off and limped off the course half way round, whilst Sam Morrey who had only just returned from injury was happy with a 40th place position. Mel Gould ran her strongest race of the season finishing 7th in the junior girls race with Eva Fitzpatrick finishing in 23rd place and Megan Marsh in 38th. All athletes finishing in the top 8 of their races are now waiting to hear if they have done enough to qualify for the prestigious English Schools Event in March.
The third round of the Midland Ladies Cross Country League saw Division 1 ladies facing the hills of Burton Dassett on Saturday. Hosted by Spa Striders, the new course was a 2 lapped “undulating course” which saw steep climbs, tricky descents and sharp cambers to test the strength of even the toughest athlete. Leamington C&AC ladies fielded 15 athletes with Kelly Edwards running a strong race, despite coming back from injury, to finish first for the club, 12th overall and taking master’s gold. Megan McDonald came 19th (28:46) with the ever-present Jenny Jeeves continuing her fine form in 26th (29:19) and taking third place in the master’s race. Zara Blower was 37th in a time of 30:19. Sue Harrison was 67th and third master home for the club putting them in first place for the third race in a row for the masters team. Courtney Depala (84th, 33:19) and Charlie Mitchell (86th, 33:26) made up the senior team which finished 6th overall. Other runners: Shamira Naidu-Young (34:15); Sarah Price (34:15); Judith Hanlon (35:42); Sara Atkins (35:56); Laura Gould (38:54); Carol Blower (39:00), Louise Marsh (40:01)
Leamington C&AC men travelled to Abington Park, Northampton for their third fixture which saw them facing four laps of a deceptively hilly course. Callum Hanlon finished in a strong position in 23rd place (32:25) with Paul Andrew in 58th place (33:41). Baljeev Kandola was third counter for the team in 81st place (34:57) with Phil Gould (96th, 34:57) Dominic Priest (117th, 35:50)) and isaac Rothman (119th, 36:00)) making up the A team which was placed 14th overall on the day. The team are currently 12th in the league with 1 race to go. The B team had a stronger finish, placing 8th on the day with Vassilis Andreoulakis (125th, 36:08); iain McLaughlin (127th, 36:12), John Knibb (136th, 36:55); Dean Mawby (148th, 37:20); Jason Hill (177th, 38:30) and Jeremy Coward (184th, 39:05) making up the scoring team. Other runners: Howard Roden (39:20); Joshua Hough (39:42); Craig Bower (39:52); Marc Curtis (40:09); Paul Okey (40:35); Robert Wilson (41:37); Simon West (41:38); Nick Tawney (41:54); Andrew Higgins (42:22); Paul Caruana (43:25); Graham Donoghue (43:45); Peter Stockbridge (44:29); Steven Roberts (44:40); Alex Montgomery (48:53); Mark Marsh (49:40)
The fourth round of the West Midlands Young Athlete Cross Country League was held at Abington Park, Northampton, on Sunday with Leamington C&AC fielding a total of 22 athletes over 8 events. First off was the under 17 girls with Rosie Cale first home for the club in 23rd place. Rositsa Gugutkova had a strong race finishing in 30th position with Georgina Hurt, not far behind in 33rd position. The under 11 boys saw a healthy competition between James Gould and Archie Lane, both boys pushing each other around the course. Gould was slightly ahead on the hill climb with Lane chasing him down in the sprint finish, Gould crossing the line just one second ahead of Lane in a nail-biting battle between the team-mates. Gould finishing in 22nd place in 7:54 and Lane in 7:55 (25th). Louis Proctor was not far behind in 8:06 and Ishan Carter in 53rd position. The under 11 girls saw a similar battle with Caitlin French (28th, 8:47) just beating Ila Lane (30th, 8:51) to the line,. Madeline Lim (67th, 9:33) and Chloe Lovett (86th, 10:00) also representing the club. Jai Sispal was the highest scorer for LCAC on the day, finishing 4th in the under 15 boys race with team mate Ruairc Winston finishing in 62nd place. Mariele Proctor and Megan Marsh competed in the under 13 girls race finishing 71st and 107th respectively, and Harry Bailey (38th) and Diarmuid Winston (60th) ran in the under 13 boys event. The only full team on the day was the ever present under 15 girls who showed their usual inter club team competitiveness. Molly Minshull had a strong start and maintained a good lead on her team mates to finish 30th overall (15:48). The girls maintained their tight packing with Emily Lovett in 33rd (15:52); Mel Gould in 37th (15:59); Ana Lovett in 40th (16:14) and Saffia Chiba in 45th (16:41). The girls, who train together, showed a healthy competitive streak that meant that they pushed each other around the challenging course.