Record county level success at Hampshire for Spartans
With 3 individual and 3 team medals, and just for good measure an all time club record of 10 county team places, the Jersey junior squad showed how they have become a force to be reckoned with. Stars of the day were Silver medallists Chloe Turmel (U17) and Elliott Dorey (U20) with Bronze for Jack Peggie (U13). The story too was about team success, reflecting strength in depth with team medals for both boys and girls at u13 and for the u17 men. Results summary here.
Hampshire is regarded as the strongest county in Britain at cross country, dominated by the legendary Aldershot, Farnham and District; home club for a number of European and Olympic stars. AFD certainly don’t get it all their own way though. At the championships this year 28 athletic clubs with 516 athletes overall competed. Jersey Spartans, whilst not fielding a senior team this time, made a real impact right through to the U20 level and are again very much part of the Hampshire cross country success story.
The U13 boys were first off in a 71 strong highly competitive race. The excellent Jersey boys team, led out by last year’s county champion Jack Peggie, was always going to be in contention. Though with 13 club teams fielding at least 4 to score, Spartans still had their work cut out. Team silver was a great achievement, and made individual success for Jack Peggie (Bronze) and Sam Maher (6th) all the sweeter, with both these boys making the cut for the county team. Also remarkable top 20 finishes at a year young for William Brown (11th) and Jack Leerson (18th) meant that the team had now done enough for glory. Joe Hugh (19th) just pipped on the line by Jack and David Raimbault (42nd) were also justly proud of their achievements representing Jersey.
U13 girls up next were absolutely delighted with team Bronze. On the individual front Yasmin Lookess (8th) securing her place in the county team. Some frustration for the highly capable Brooke Lidster (9th) who also ran a very strong race, but as first reserve for the county could just miss out on the prestigious Inter-Counties competition in March. Solid races from Alice Bain and Amber O’Driscoll ensured that the team secured their 4 to score and podium position. Alice put in a gutsy race to mainly support the team, as she is currently battling with injury affecting her training, so it was touch and go whether she would run on the day.
Gemma Gotthard (5th) and Catherine Billington (10th) ran strongly, with both girls a year young at U15 level the race was always going to be challenging. Gemma Gotthard was over the moon to claim her county team place, with Catherine a little unlucky to be just outside the cut after leading the race at the start. There is no doubting the quality and potential of both athletes. At U15 level for the boys there was a county place reward for the talented Finlay Wright (5th) and a commendable run by the strong and improving athlete Phil Maguire (15th) which he was pleased with.
At U17 level Jersey was represented by a further group of seasoned and extremely talented athletes. In the women’s race Chloe Turmel repeated her 2011 success taking an excellent and well deserved Silver once more. Danielle Leerson (7th ) also ran a strong race reaping the benefits of consistent and focused aerobic base work training over recent months. Two more county places assured for Jersey and this seasons cross country campaign now well and truly underway for both women. In the men’s event team Silver was a great result, with the prodigious athletic talents of U15 2011 county champion Daniel Robinson (4th) and Oli Terry (7th) leading the charge despite both being a year young at u17. Crucial contributions as well by Aaron Turmel (10th) and Daniel Heaven (25th) to bring home a well deserved team medal. Two more county places this year, perhaps next year a realistic chance to reclaim a county championship.
Elliott Dorey stepped up to the tough U20 level, racing 8400 M and was pleased to gain a silver medal against some very tough competition. Elliott has had a period of consistent quality training and it showed as a first year U20 taking county silver was no mean feat, the fact that Elliott felt he only had an average race speaks volumes for the high standards this talented athlete sets himself.
Paul Huddlestone was the sole adult runner representing Jersey. He bravely challenged the 12 km race, with its short, sharp hills to claim 4th position is his new age category of 60+. An inspiration to our younger runners to keep on going! He is running the Boston marathon in the spring and this race was a great event to vary his training regime.