A hardy bunch of young athletes travelled to a bleak and cold Horseheath in Cambridge for the 22nd Essex League, not a race Woodies normally participate in, but with the first 7 U13 -U17s automatically qualifying for the SEAA inter-counties in Oxford in December, for an Essex vest it's well worth the trip.
Cambridge and Coleridge, the organisers, also put on an U11 race and we had two young ladies, Emilia Berni and Molly Wain, placing 10th and 11th respectively.
The U13 boys and girls raced together over the 3000m, which many athletes said felt a lot longer! The course, one lap of a mixture of wet 6" grass on hard ground and then hard stony paths with some woods in the middle, gave our youngsters a real spikes-or-trails dilemma.
The U13 boys sent their Essex relay winning team. Jimmy Geller, first home, struggled with his hamstring in the later half of the race, went into yhe woods in 2nd place and came out in 4th losing a couple places in the home stretch but nevertheless happy with 6th and 5th qualifier as a lower year boy. Nathan Wright (above, left, with Jimmy) came in 10th, just 8 seconds behind Jimmy but, importantly, he was 6th Essex runner and earned his first vest. Alessandro Berni ran very well to make 13th in a tough field and made 8th Essex boy so he will wait with bated breath to see if he gets a call for the final berth.
In the U13 girls race Zahara Malcolm, who earned her Essex Track vest in the summer, ran well for 15th. Larna Morgan was unable to reproduce her fine Met league form but still managed a respectable 27th.
Our strong U15 boys team had 6 representatives trying for the 7 places on the 4000m course, with one small lap and one large. Kai Boggon (above) was out like a shot and was leading as he passed through at the end of the small lap and held his place, winning comfortably in a time of 14:08. Kieran Allgood (left) was our next athlete home, and having gained his vest as a reserve last year he was committed to making the cut and was happy to bag the last place by finishing 7th, just 32 seconds behind Kai.
Rhys Edwards came in 9th and as 8th Essex runner home should still be very pleased with his run amongst a strong field. Ben Sloan came in 10th and as 4th scorer secured a Team win. Sam Sloan in 12th and Joe Morgan 24th ran well to finish off a fine U15 team performance.
Our lone U17 athlete, Joe Geller, has committed to putting cross country before indoor this season and as a lower year runner was hoping for a top ten finish on a 6k course, a fair bit longer than his usual Met League 4k. Joe found himself in 10th coming out of the woods on the second lap, but kicked strongly, running into 7th and qualified as 6th Essex in 22:10.
Our lone U17 young lady was Sienna Taylor who finished the 5k race with a creditable 24th.
All the athletes that went to Cambridge should be praised as they all ran really well. We hope Alessandro and Rhys get selected along with the 5 that were called up today.