The U11s Met League adventures concluded for the season this weekend on suitably wet and muddy fields at Trent Park.
The course, with puddles of standing water, shimmered under clear skies and the WGEL club flag flew proudly in spring-like conditions. A huge supporter base camped next to the flag for this Met League finale and their encouragement was to play a huge part in speeding our athletes along!
The final race in the league attracted the biggest fields of the season. WGEL had an incredible nineteen boys and nine girls toeing the start line in their respective races. The race itself followed a single loop of the upper field. There were no obvious hills, but the terrain was very undulating. Long muddy stretches of grass would sap the legs of even the fastest feet.
Fighting it out! L to R: Rudy Parker-Bayes, Oliver Brown and Daniel Arnold (pic: Alex Wardle)
The conditions were good and the scene was set. Our young athletes made their way to the start after warmup and having tied their laces twice. It was now time to cast aside nerves, keep calm heads and focus. Could the U11s hold off resurgent Shaftesbury Barnet (SHB) teams and claim the points needed to become Met League champions and help WGEL take the overall Howard Williams Junior Trophy?
U11s Boys - Results
A team: Rudy Parker-Bayes 6th (05:34), Thomas Kirkland 7th (05:34), Oliver Brown 9th (05:36) & Daniel Arnold 10th (05:38)
B team: Sebastian Reid 14th (05:45), Toby Taylor 24th (05:59), Henry Bailey 29th (06:09) & Zac Everitt 30th (06:11)
Squad: Austin McKenzie 33rd (06:18), Oskar Kyson 37th (06:36), Daniel Kirkland 38th (06:27) Ethan Day 39th (06:29), Stephen Ng 41st (06:34), Leo Everitt 42nd (06:36), Jude Purser 44th (06:36), Riley Micheals 45th (06:39), Dom Parry 52nd (07:09) & Elijah Waterfield 53rd (08:59).
Boys U11s Race Report
Stood on the start line, the last thing on the boys' mind will have been the journey they have taken as a squad since the first Met League race at Claybury in Oct 2019.
Little did they know that day would shape their season when they opened a 50-point lead on their rivals. Race after race the opposition threw their best athletes at WGEL and every time the boys stepped up and, over the next four months, none could close the gap, such was the consistency of our boys.
The race at Trent Park followed the same pattern. Once again, the impressive Arthur Phillips (SHB) won the race, securing the overall individual winner's medal. Arthur won the last three races and held off his closest rival, Ben Redland, in second (LH) and Suheyb Daahir Awale (HILL) in third.
Max Panwar (4th) was next for SHB who now had two of their scoring four home and three athletes well-positioned behind. The WGEL boys were also in good positions with five boys packed just off the lead group.
First WGEL home was Rudy Parker-Bayes (6). Rudy ended strongly, sprinting toward the line in pursuit of the SHB athlete ahead. This was his best performance of the season. Rudy trains with the coaching team in Harlow. They deserve huge credit for the progress he has made. As a lower age group athlete, he will be a hot contender in the U11s next season!
Rudy finished a whisker ahead of Thomas Kirkland (7) with less than one second separating these boys who had run the entire race together. Thomas has made outstanding progress this season, finding new confidence in his abilities. He never looked back after his 5th place at Welwyn Garden (Met 2). Since then he has finished in the top five in every race and was rewarded for this by taking third place in th eindividual competition. Well done Thomas.
Right behind Thomas was Oliver Brown (9) who has enjoyed a spectacular cross-country season. Oliver won the Chingford League recently and has been a top 10 finisher in every Met League race this season. Oliver finished fourth in the overall individual competition. What a great achievement.
Jared Morris (SHB) separated Thomas and Oliver and meant both teams had three runners home. Who would be first to complete their four? The answer was WGEL!
Daniel Arnold (10) stormed home, holding off Jack Redford (SHB) in a sprint finish. Daniel has been tremendous in his first season at WGEL. He is talented, dedicated and loves his running. Jack Redford had finished ahead of all our boys in previous races but this time was left behind such is the progress of our squad.
Daniel closed the A team and the gate on Shaftesbury, and despite them scoring nine points more than WGEL on the day (due to higher placed finishers), the boys were crowned champions, winning the league by 50 points!
The B team was led home by Sebastian Reid (14) who, despite not being able to train as much as he might like in recent months, produced a fantastic run. His multi-sport background means he is always in great shape and he is a fantastic competitor. He is another younger age group runner that will be looking at the individual medals next season.
Toby Taylor (24) was next home in his first cross-country race of the season. Toby, a regular at WASPS, took to his first race in tremendous fashion. He has lightning-quick feet and in drier conditions could quite possibly have challenged for a spot in the A team.
Henry Bailey (29) followed behind Toby. This was a superb run from Henry, his best result of the season and he rightly deserved his place in the team. Zac Everitt (30) closed the B team. Zac has trained consistently since Christmas and was rightly pleased to secure his second consecutive scoring B team place in the muddy conditions. The B team finished fifth on the day and took fourth place overall.
Austin McKenzie (33) was first home from the chasing pack and there was an almighty tussle behind him! No fewer than seven WGEL athletes flooded through the finish line one after another. Oskar Kyson (37), Daniel Kirkland (38), Ethan Day (39), Stephen Ng (41), Leo Everitt (42), Jude Purser (44), Riley Michaels (45), Dom Parry 52 & Elijah Waterfield (53). Seven athletes separated by less than 20 seconds!
It is testimony to them all, given the way they raced in pursuit of points for the team. There is an incredible spirit amongst these athletes and every one of them plays a crucial part in the achievements of this year. It was incredible to watch them stream through the finish. Well done lads!
U11s Girls - Results
A Team: Natasha Wynn 4th (05:43), Autumn Le Chevalier 5th (05:47), Eliza Bridges 7th (05:54), & Faye Owers 8th (05:59)
B Team: Caitlin Hancock 15th (06:09), Amber Higgs-Smith 18th (06:21), Marissa Higgs-Smith 25th (06:34) & Daisy Sherrin 26th (06:36)
Squad: Chloe Jennings 33rd (06:58)
U11s Girls Race Report
The U11 girls shone as bright as ever, turning the mud and puddles of Trent Park into a runway for their superfast WGEL jet!
Posie Shaw (SBH) won the race overall. Under pressure at the start from our own girls, Posie managed to hang on to her lead and put three seconds on her rivals, sprinting away at the end from Kiara Corkin (LH) and Jorjia March (Barnet). Posie and Kiara have finished first and second in all the previous Met league races this season. They took home the first and second placed overall medals.
Right behind them, packing superbly, were our WGEL girls. Natasha Wynn was first home (4th) improving on 5th at Ally Pally with a tremendous run in the mud. Natasha worked her way through the field, steadily closing in on the leaders. Her strong finish saw her close to only four seconds behind third-placed athlete March. This was a fantastic run in her first season of cross-country. Natasha said after the race she felt good coming into the finish but had no speed. This will come as a season of track and field awaits. With conditioning in the legs, Natasha will be back in the winter ready to go!
Autumn Le Chevalier (5) was next home for WGEL. Autumn ran a superbly well-judged race, moving through the pack with Natasha and showing great confidence in her running. Autumn has finished in the top five of every Met League race this season and was rewarded with third place overall in the individual competition. This is a fantastic result. As a lower-age group athlete, Autumn will be back to contest the top three again next season!
Eliza Bridges (7) was next in, and what a finish to her Met League season! Eliza looked strong and had a face of steely determination sprinting in to the end. Her confidence has soared as part of this squad over the winter and she is improving week after week. It's great to see. Well done Eliza.
Faye Owers (8) was right behind Eliza with another superb run. Faye has really mastered her racing in the last few months. Starting steady, moving through the pack she once again showed great control and poise to finish in confident style sprinting into the finish. Faye closed the A team, who won by 27 points on the day and by an INCREDIBLE 255 points overall to take the tile in dominant style!
Caitlin Hancock (15) opened the scoring for the B team. Caitlin got off to her trademark speedy start. There is no stopping her when the gun goes! The wet, muddy conditions eventually sapped the speed from her legs, but she held on and showed once again how much her endurance has improved this winter to open the scoring for the B team. A summer of track awaits Caitlin who has built some great foundations in the mud!
Next home for the B team were sisters Amber and Marissa Higgs-Smith. Amber is improving fast, as is her fitness after suffering from illness this season. This was a great way to end her Met League season and just rewards for her dedication. Marissa, a regular at midweek training, has been flying and added this fine performance to her recent win in the Chingford league (U9s). An exciting future lies ahead for her and a fully fit Amber.
Daisy Sherrin completed the B team. Daisy was only two seconds behind Marissa. Daisy is now attending the midweek training groups on a regular basis and is closing the gap on the athletes ahead. The B team took 3rd place on the day to finish fourth overall and score valuable points in the Howard Williams trophy.
The squad was completed by Chloe Jennings (33) who ran fantastically in her first Met League race this season. Chloe raced for the first time recently in the Chingford league and is improving fast. She should be proud of her effort, especially as a lower age group runner. She will be back next year chasing those ahead!
That concluded the day#s racing! This formidable U11s squad has competed at an incredibly high standard over five months of Met League racing. Their achievements as a squad should not be underestimated. They have achieved very high standards, not by focusing on results or hours of intensive training but by practising good habits, being consistent and above all having FUN.
Medals and trophies will be presented to the squad at the Endurance team end of season awards. This will give the coaches, families and friends the chance to show the athletes how proud we all are of their achievements. Up the WGEL!