This year’s Frank Webb Trophy proved to be another record year and the Trophy winner was fittingly determined at the National Championships and by the closest margin – a single point. A record 54 Young Athletes participated in at least one of the winter’s eight cross country fixtures for which points are awarded.
This year’s winner, U13G Abigale Reid takes the trophy with 235 points with Maya Maeda (U15G) in second place, a single point behind on 234. Abigale picked up maximum points in each of her 7 races and anything less than maximum points at Nottingham would have allowed Maya to take the trophy; Abigale’s fine 4th place finish in the U13G race earned her the 55 points she needed to overhaul Maya. Abigale missed the 3rd Met League fixture (Alexandra Palace) allowing Maya to take the lead which she held until Nottingham. Maya was one of only two athletes who raced in all eight of the qualifying races – Godwinner Nkebani (U13B) was the other; he finished in 6th place on 162 points.
Tilly Major (U13G) finished 3rd in the rankings with 183 points from her 6 races, whilst Molly Sherrin (U13G) was 4th with 178 points after 7 races and Nate Harding (U13B) 5th on 168 points (also from 7 races).
In addition to the record 54 participating athletes this year, the total number of race finishes by the 54 runners was a record 222, up from the previous record of 189 in 2018 (last year’s total was 188). The absence of a fixture clash this winter between the Met League and the Essex Championships (seen for the previous two winters) will have helped with the record total. In addition to the two who raced in all eight fixtures (Maya and Godwinner), 7 raced in 7 fixtures (Abigale Reid, Molly Sherrin, Nate Harding, Reuben Fabian, Rosemary Kelly, Gregor Samson and Ellen Savidge) whilst 6 runners managed 6 events and the modal total of 10 raced in 5 events. 5 runners managed 4 races each, 9 completed 3 each, 7 completed 2 and a further 8 raced in just 1; an average of 4.1 races per athlete.
In summary these statistics demonstrate a continuation of the recent welcome trend of an increasing number of young athletes being willing to race more. The distribution across the age groups was also more balanced than in recent years with 24 U13s, 20 U15s and 10 U17s. The enthusiasm and commitment of the athletes (and their parents in providing transport and support services at races) and the encouragement and dedication of the team of coaches were essential ingredients in producing the results.
Thanks, must also go to Gary Richardson who took on the administration of the Trophy calculations and the production of the rankings this winter.