D&T’s young Middle Distance squad put on a display of power at the second leg of the 2018-19 ResultsBase Chiltern League cross country series, only two weeks after a dominating performance at the NW London League match in Kingsbury.
Once again, the star of the day was Sam Burnell, who earned his debut win in the U15 boys race in Division 1, the elite tier of the 39-club league encompassing the Home Counties.
The race, held at Milton Keynes’ Teardrop Lakes, was a largely flat, fast course broken by two steep, short hills and punctuated by bursts of heavy rain. As in previous years, the competition was enlivened by the presence of top runners from around the country, as the event doubled as the UKA Cross Challenge, a nationwide cross country series that attracts a large number of top national and international runners across all age groups.
(Photo above shows U11 girl Effie Walsh and the U13 team of Milla Walsh, Brooke Evans, Isabelle Jelfs and Amy Lane before the start)
With his win, Sam led his U15 boys team to a superb first place in the team standings, where they finished a massive 21 points ahead of powerhouse Bedford and County AC, a result that vaulted them to the top of the league standings after two matches on 332 points, well ahead of second-placed Chiltern Harriers.
Battling with a pack of non-Chiltern League elite runners, Sam crossed the line first in Division 1, seven seconds ahead of the next Division 1 runner. He was ably backed by Jack Raine in fifth position, Joseph Chamberlain in eighth, Thomas O’Reilly (12th), Jamie Bailey (14th) and Thomas Durrant (16th).
The U15 girls also impressed on the day, finishing in second place in the team standings, a position that moved them up to fourth overall after two matches. The girls were led home by Stella Whitlum in fifth, just 37 seconds behind first place, and she was followed by Grace Hucknall in 12th, Katie Mitchell in 19th and Jessica Hill in 30th.
In the U17 women’s race, Indira Patel showed her class with a third-place finish in Division 1, with teammate Amy Cassidy in 19th, giving the team a seventh-place position on the day and keeping them in fourth overall after two matches.
The U17 men also finished seventh on the day with their two runners, Freddie Truman-Williams, who battled to take 11th place, followed by Angus Saunders in 20th.
The U13 teams showed spirit in their strong performances, in the biggest cross country race they’ve competed in to date – with 113 finishers in the boys’ race and over 90 in the girls.
Isabelle Jelfs had another impressive run, finishing 11th in Division 1, backed by an equally impressive Brooke Evans in 12th and Milla Walsh in 15th. Amy Lane also laced up for the race, but withdrew after unfortunately being knocked over and badly winded at the start. Even so, the girls ended the day as fourth U13 team, keeping them in contention in the league standings.
The U13 boys were led home by Timothy Fryer, who improved by 12 places over the first match in the series to finish 19th, while Jude Mackay finished 38th – just a day after playing a football match – and Ronnie Hucknall was 59th. The boys finished in 10th out of 14 teams, one place better than last time.
The U11 races are run as a combined Division 1 and 2 competition, and our youngest athletes finishing strongly in one of their hardest races to date: Talia Williams crossed the line in 55th position while Effie Walsh was 62nd out of 100 girls.
Well done, all! Next stop on the calendar is the third leg of the NW London League at Trent Park in two weeks’ time, and we’re confident our young athletes will produce another set of superb results!
Thanks to Barry Cornelius, Anna Fryer and Vivien Whitlum for the photos.