Young cross-country runners do club proud

Dacorum & Tring AC's middle distance squad took on the country's best young cross-country runners in the second leg of the 2017/18 Chiltern League series and came away with some impressive results.

The event also incorporates the British Athletics Cross Challenge event, a series that attracts top athletes across all age groups from around the UK.

Overall, the D & T squad finished fifth overall in Division 1, the elite level of the league series, two steps up from the seventh-place finish in the first leg a month ago, and contributing valuable points to the club’s overall score.

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The top result of the day belonged to Kristian Imroth, the nationally-ranked U17 runner, who crossed the line in second place in the Division 1 rankings.

Team-mate Jamie Ayres finished a respectable 11th while Angus Saunders (22nd) and George Dowding (34th) helped the U17 men’s team to a solid fourth-place finish.

The U15 boys were led home by Michael Armstrong (fifth), followed by Thomas Durrant (12th), Jack Raine (17th), Jamie Bailey (19th), Thomas Ashton (28th) and Tom O’Reilly (30th).

Together, the boys finished a brilliant second in the team standings, a result only matched by the club’s senior ladies’ team, who finished second in a very competitive field.

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The U13 boys held their own in a tough race, with Tim Fryer (24th) leading teammate Jude McKay (25th) in by only one second. Euan Rigarlsford was seven seconds back in 27th, backed up by Oliver Painter (32nd) and Niall Cassidy (38th). The boys finished eighth in the team standings, a strong showing given that they are all in the first year of this two-year age category.

New recruit Scarlett Wager-Leigh had a superb debut in her first league race for D & T, crossing the line in 10th in the U20 women’s race, while team-mate Grace Birdseye finished a respectable 25th.

Amy Cassidy led the U15 girls home in 14th position, with Lily Boden (24th), Jessica Hill (25th), Olivia Hill (26th), Izzy Painter (31st), Jessica Hoar (38th) and Jessica Benveniste (40th) combining for a sixth-place finish in the team standings.

Stella Whitlum posted a top-10 finish in the U13 girls race, an impressive result given that she won the Dacorum schools district cross-country championships for Year 8’s only five days earlier.

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Amy Lane, who won the Year 7 race in the same schools championship, was 14th, a strong showing in only her first year in the U13 age group.

Two of the club’s youngest members made their cross-country debut at the U11 level, showing great promise for the future – Evie Light finished 16th and Milla Walsh was 23rd out of 77 competitors.

In other news, U13 standout Olivia Edwards missed the league event to compete in the ESAA English Schools Cup regional finals at Oakley, where she finished fifth out of 50 girls in the junior girls’ race.

Her school, Challoners High School, cruised through to the grand final which is taking place in Sevenoaks, Kent, in two weeks’ time with all six of their athletes placing in the top-10 for the first time.

Last year they finished third in the country and are favoured to finish in the top-three again this year.

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