Cross-country season starts in fine style for D & T youngsters

Indira Patel had an excellent first-place finish in the U17s women's race.
Indira Patel had an excellent first-place finish in the U17s women's race.

Dacorum & Tring AC’s young athletes had a superb outing at the first North West London cross-country match at the season.

A total of 34 runners from the U11s to U17s age groups laced up for the race, held under sunny skies on a firm, largely flat course at Greenford in Ealing, and posted a range of impressive results in the individual and team standings.

Indira Patel had the top finish of the day, romping to first place in the U17s women’s race, held over 4000m. She crossed the line 20 seconds clear of second place and led her team to second place overall, ably supported by Amy Cassidy (8th), Jessica Hoar (10th) and Lily Boden (11th).

The U17s men, over 4700m, also achieved a strong second-place finish in the team standings, just a point behind the winners. Freddie Truman-Williams held on for sixth place, with Michael Armstrong just behind in seventh, and they were followed by Steven Armitage, who finished in ninth on his club debut, and by Angus Saunders (13th) and George Dowding (19th)

The U15s boys dominated their 4000m race, with six athletes in the top 10. Joe Chamberlain and Jack Raine ran with the lead group up to the final 700m, when Joe stumbled and lost momentum, but still managed to finish third, just two seconds adrift of the winner, and Jack held on for fourth. Sam Burnell and Tom Gaunce both came through strongly in seventh and eighth place respectively, followed by Tom O’Reilly (9th) and Jamie Bailey (10th) – with the four boys finishing within five seconds of each other. Tom Ashton (16th) and Jamie Lilley (34th) rounded off the placings, helping the B team to third place overall, while the A team finished first out of 13 teams.

The U15s girls produced solid runs over 3000m, with the A team finishing fifth and the B team ninth out of 12 sides. Stella Whitlum, last season’s U13s league champion, produced a good run to finish eighth, with Jemima Byers (18th), Jessica Hill (19th), Katie Mitchell (20th), Lauren Collis (29th) and Emma Cresswell (31st) showing good form after a successful term on the track.

The U13s girls’ team was led home by Isabelle Jelfs, who had an outstanding run in her debut cross-country appearance for the club with a fifth-place finish over the 2000m course. She was backed by Amy Lane (11th), Milla Walsh (17th), Beth Moody (31st), Nancie Bateson (36th), Poppy Webster (37th) and Lucy Cooley (40th), with the A team finishing a strong third and the B team in 12th out of 18 teams.

Two boys suited up for the U13s race, held over 3000m, with Tim Fryer (12th) just edging teammate Jude McKay (13th). The two combined to finish seventh out of 14 teams.

Newcomer Effie Walsh was the sole D&T entrant in the U11s girls’ race, over 1200m, where she finished a creditable 18th, good enough for 12th out of 15 teams.

The next race on the schedules is the highly-competitive Chiltern League match in Oxford in two weeks, followed by match two in the North West London League at Kingsbury at the end of October.

D&T’s middle distance coach Mike Dunphy is predicting even stronger results for his young squad as they ramp up their training for the long season ahead.