Dacorum & Tring’s Middle Distance Squad put up a strong showing in the Hertfordshire Cross Country Championships held over a challenging, muddy and hilly course at Fairland Valley park in Stevenage.
The young squad came away with two silver medals in the individual standings, while the U13 boys and girls teams both finished in the medals in the team standings.
First out of the blocks were the U11 girls, and as usual Olivia Edwards shot to the front and battled head-to-head with Mia Pullen from St Albans.
Observers confirmed that Olivia crossed the line first, but the organisers sent her down the funnel in second place and she was controversially awarded the silver medal.
Team-mate Stella Whitlum had a strong performance, finishing ninth in a competitive field, while the two D&T boys in the U11 race finished in the top-10, with Niall Cassidy in seventh and Sam Day in ninth – the best run of the season for both.
The U13 girls and boys were out in full strength, with seven boys and six girls starting their respective races.
Michael Armstrong finished a brilliant second, only 1s behind Luca Stubbs of Shaftesbury, with Freddie Truman-Williams in seventh and Jamie Bailey 12th, giving them silver medals overall in the team placings. Sam Burnell (17th), Seth Russell (22nd), Thomas Ashton (23rd) and Yoan Tonev all showed excellent pacing over a tough course, finishing fourth overall in the team standings as the D&T B team.
Amy Cassidy was first home for the U13 girls, in seventh place, with Izzy Painter in 12th and Lily Boden in 13th, with the girls taking bronze medals in the team placing behind Shaftesbury and St Albans.
Jess Benveniste in 14th, Emma To in 27th and Lois Emery combined to finish sixth in the team standings.
Jamie Ayres had a strong seventh-placed finish in the longer U15 boys’ race, followed closely by Kristian Imroth, who was unlucky to twist his ankle mid-race; the club’s middle distance coach, Mike Dunphy, said he showed “great courage” in finishing.
Alex Bousfield ran well to finish 17th in the U15 girls race, in her first-ever county championship.
Grace Birdseye had her best ever county finish, crossing the line sixth in the U17 women’s race, while Rhys Rowlands (10th) and Joshua van Heiningen (11th) put in solid performances in the U17 men’s race.
Dunphy commended his young squad for giving it all on the day, commenting on the excellent pacing of all athletes, and noting that many put in their best performance of the season.
Several of the group won selection for the Herts team for the UK Counties Cross Country Inter-counties Championships, scheduled for early March at Cofton Park in Birmingham.