So in addition to 28 Under 11 athletes there were a further 33 young athletes striving to all play a part in our attempt to retain the Howard Williams Trophy.
With our energetic and talented Under 11s winning their two trophies, boys and girls, on a fine day at Trent Park with the sun shining for once, although the ground underfoot certainly provided a challenge and a true endurance test.
Jay Russell sums up the day - a third successive Howard Williams Trophy for our Young Athletes
So Shaftesbury were just two points down with four races to go at Trent Park. We all knew it would be a very tight race for the title and some of the results were outside of our control. We were aware that, if Shaftesbury made up ground on Harrow in the Under 13 Girls race, that could reduce the difference to a single point. That challenge went in our rivals' favour. In the Junior Women’s race we had to shake off Highgate overall, and although the North London outfit bested us in this category on the day we retained our 5th spot. So it came down to the Junior Men. Lose to London Heathside on the day then Shaftesbury would gain that final point. Also we had to ensure Hillingdon did not beat us by more 35 points. Unfortunately we were without the services of Kieran Allgood (school trip) and Joel Doye and Sam Sloan (both injured). Once that race got going it was obvious to the team manager that Heathside were not at full strength either, and although Hillingdon beat us on the day it was only by a few points. We then knew the trophy was ours by a single point and shortly after that the results confirmed it.
This is a magnificent result for the youth teams of WGEL where team spirit is at a level that gives our runners the belief they can perform at their best.
I want to thank coaches Joe Everitt, Richard Thurston, Alex Bird, Sue Edwards, Libby Kodak, Steve Cody, Elizabeth Gobran and Carinne Jay because without their weekly efforts on dark winter nights this could never have happened.
Also all the hardworking parents that support us and the main committee of WGEL who attend these events in support of the athletes and us coaches.
Rhys Edwards sticks like a limpet to Jimmy Geller
This race combines both Under 17 and Under 15s. This race gave us evidence that Ben Sloan is now over his injury and on his way back to full fitness with a fine third overall placing. Ben was very close to the winner and bearing in mind that mud is not in Ben's best interests it was a fine performance indeed. Rhys Edwards was next in 9th position. Rhys recently set a huge PB over one mile at Lea Valley and he produced his usual sprint position and he too performed well on the day. Fred Taylor has raced in this league since becoming an Under 13 lad. Fred has my admiration for turning out faithfully at all fixtures and again showed improvement with 34th.
It is without doubt our Under 15s that played a huge part in us retaining this trophy overall. We had no fewer than 10 on the start line, many bottom year Under 15s. These are the lads that romped to victory in this league as Under 11s and Under 13s in years gone by. They should all take a bow. Jimmy Geller had a great run for 3rd on a course that was not his cup of tea. Jimmy is now focusing on a really good performance at the English Schools next month at Liverpool. Danny Raymond was next in. He sportingly turned out for us knowing that he had the Essex indoors the following day and, like Jimmy, not his favoured course, he placed 10th. Not far behind Danny was Reuben Fabian in 12th and Max Richards 13th. Reuben is also looking forward to the English Schools, his first county vest, and Max is fast improving all the time having joined us late last year. The next three lads, all having fine runs, were Liam Short (20), Ronan Edwards (21) and Sid Cody (23). These have played a massive part in our success. Jay Russell, who is much more of a track runner, gave his all for 33rd and Archie Sherrin, another turning up to keep the other lot at bay, was 41st with triathlete Chris Richardson 42nd. Great packing all-round from our Under 15 boys.
We had just five on the line but what a big part these girls have played in our overall success. Miya Maeda and Kezia Beeton, only Under 15s, were in the lead group in the early part of the race. Although McGovern and Miranda got away on the back part of the course our two girls remained in 3rd and 4th spot. At the top of the hill Kezia was struggling with breathing problems and stopped. Much credit to Kezia, she did not drop out and finished the course as 4th in the Under 15 girls. At the top of the hill Miya ran strongly for an excellent 3rd overall and 2nd Under 15. Overall Miya came 2nd overall in the Under 15 girls - an excellent display of running a week after she ran brilliantly for Essex in the Schools Inter Counties. Bronya Overington has been with the club since she was a WASPS member and what a great club athlete she is. Bronya, who won county schools colours in 2019, ran well throughout to place 23rd from around 50 Under 15 starters. In the Under 17 girls race, run in conjunction with the Under 15s, our two excellent club athletes Ellen Savidge and Jess Adams placed 14th and 15th. Their superb determination at the end of their race was a joy to see. Well done both girls.
Under 13 Boys
What a great result these boys have produced this season. They are in their first Met League barring one lad, and their support for one another sums their team spirit up which has yielded some excellent results. The lads' second on the day and second overall only lost to a very strong Shaftesbury outfit. Nate Harding, after a good performance for Essex a week ago, led the team home in 5th spot, an excellent result. Next in was Oscar Farthing Barbero in 13th place. During the week Oscar just missed out on Essex selection but I am sure this dedicated lad will earn his county colours in due course. The next lad in deserves the highest praise. Godwinner Nkembani not only lost one shoe but both. In this situation I am sure many would have called it a day. Not Godwinner, who had the guts and courage to finish with no shoes and still managed 20th. Well done - a super effort! Right level with Godwinner was Gregor Samson, a bottom year lad. Gregor secured his county colours during the week and can be happy with 21st. Mieszko Watson made his debut for us and ran well for 32nd, which put him in the top half of the field. Patrick Hayden, too, showed improved form and after setting two fine parkrun PBs recently, he placed 48th with nearly 20 runners behind him. Well done to him.
Under 13 Girls
So within the 50 odd starters there were nine Woodettes. They already held a lead of over 150 points and although TVH pushed us hard this time we won once again and increased our advantage overall. Abigail Reid started brightly but she had the talented TVH girl lurking behind her early on who was just one place behind Abigail in the South Of England Champs. Once Abigail negotiated the tough incline back out on to the top field she got away and came in ahead looking strong, over 100 metres ahead of the TVH girl. A similar distance behind the TVH lass, but closing, was yet another fine run from Tilly Major who will run her first All England next month in Liverpool.
Rosemary Kelly - another fine run for 8th
Rosemary Kelly, who secured Essex Schools selection last Wednesday, ran well for 8th and was unlucky not to have got higher - she just got stuck behind a group of four runners. Molly Sherrin, though not 100% again, faithfully turned out to support her team mates with a good 10th. Just behind Molly was Emily Caton in 13th, who also earned County Schools colours along with Molly last week, and a day after this smashed her 800 PB by seven seconds. Amana Oguntuga, another to win county colours, was 16th. Next in and confirming her upward trend in our sport was a fine run from Isabella Worwood in 22nd. Isabella joins all her team mates ahead of her today winning her county colours last week. Emily Millward showed sporting courage and although not feeling well wanted to be with her team mates, and to her credit got round in 36th place. Well done Emily and also to Maya McNelis, who produced a great finish for 41st. A fantastic showing from these girls. Abigail was 1st in the individual standings with Tilly 3rd.
So a great day's racing throughout. The awards presentation will be held in late April or early May on a Tuesday night, this time after normal training when the clubhouse will be packed to the rafters.