Young runners get off to strong start in season’s first cross-country meet

The U15s boys team, who were the clear winners in the team category in Saturdays race, from left: Sam Burnell, Jamie Bailey, Tom OReilly, Freddie Truman-Williams, Michael Armstrong and Thomas Ashton.

Dacorum & Tring AC’s middle distance squad had a superb start to the cross-country season at the first race in the 2017-18 North West London Young Athletes League held at Berkeley Fields, Greenford.

The top result of the day belonged to Kristian Imroth, last year’s U15s boys’ national champion. He did not disappoint, winning the U17s event, despite suffering a severe cold during the week.

He was backed by George Dowding, who ran strongly to finish 12th, while Angus Saunders (15th) and Haydn Williams (22nd) contributed to a laudable third place in the U17s team standings.

The U15s boys were well represented and performed strongly. Michael Armstrong stood out with his fourth-place finish, followed closely by Freddie Truman-Williams in sixth and the ever-improving Sam Burnell in ninth.

The trio were supported by Jamie Bailey, who finished in 16th even though he picked up a calf injury in the race, Thomas Ashton (18th), who has only just come off the track and will start to shine once he gets a few more long runs in his legs, and Tom O’Reilly (26th), in his first race for the club.

As a team, the U15s boys were utterly dominant, finishing top of the table on the day and well ahead of the second-placed team.

The U15s girls were led by Amy Cassidy (7th), who is starting to show signs of a return to the form she showed during last winter’s cross-country season.

She was well-supported by Jessica Hoar (13th), Lily Boden (14th), who had a difficult injury-plagued summer, Jess Beneviste (16th), Olivia Hill (19th), and Izzy Painter (20th).

The U15s girls’ A team finished a creditable fourth in the team standings, while the B team were not far behind in sixth.

There was a great tussle in the U13s boys’ race with Olly Painter (11th) just getting the better of Tim Fryer (12th) in the closing metres of the race.

Niall Cassidy ran his best race, finishing a very respectable 28th, while Rafael Armstrong made a promising start to his cross-country career, crossing the line in 37th out of the 61 competitors.

The boys ran with great confidence given that they competed in the same event as the U15s girls, and, in the case of Olly and Niall, against their older sisters.

Last but not least, the U13s girls were led by Olivia Edwards, who ran a solid first race of the season after a busy summer on the track to take a brilliant third place.

Stella Whitlum ended the track season with some strong performances and took that form in to Saturday where she finished fourth.

Charlotte Hilton (19th) and Imogen Crowther (38th), both in their first race for the club, helped to push the U13s girls’ team to a well-deserved third-place finish.

The middle distance squad will now head to Oxford in two weeks’ time for the first race in the prestigious Chiltern League series.

The youngsters contributed valuable points to Dacorum & Tring AC’s overall score in last year’s league, where they finished fifth in the junior standings.

They helped the club to seventh overall in the final ranking out of 37 clubs from across the Home Counties.

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