Chichester athletes shine in Sussex Cross-Country League meet at Stanmer
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At one of the most iconic venues in the county, the fixture was a chance for both individuals and teams to consolidate their positions before the Christmas break – as well as being an opportunity for the top athletes in each age group to show their form before heading to Oxford this Saturday for the South East Inter Counties Championships.
Senior men and women
While the club’s juniors were in their usual good form, it was the combined strength of Chichester’s senior men and women which caught the eye and brought the day’s racing to a very satisfying conclusion.
The senior women’s race was again dominated by a large group of under-17s at the front of proceedings with Anya Barrett among them and finishing in a fine 11th place overall and eighth in her age group.
Senior Grace Wills and under-17 Carrie Anelay crossed the line virtually stride for stride in 23rd and 25th respectively giving a team total of 59 points.
Chichester’s third win in a row in Division 2 making it virtually certain they will to return to Division 1 next season – barring a disaster in the final match in February.
For the B team it was top veterans Sarah Fenmor Collins and Lisa Pemberton who were next home in 32nd and 45th with under-17 Millie Isitt hhaving her best run of the season in 61st overall and 20th in her age group.
This meant that the senior B team closed in with 138 points, good enough for third place on the day together with a 41-point total for the under-17s in fifth spot.
Nadia Anderson had her usual consistent run in 70th overall and fourth over-55 while Sue Baker had the same place in her over-65 age group in 112th – whie evergreen Wendy Whelan battled over the hilly 5k course in 124th and flying the flag for the over-75s.
Credit must also go to under-17 Salome Vonk in her first ever race at this level in 96th.
There was a real mixture of ages in the senior men’s squad with the scoring A team quartet having an age range of nearly 30 years between them.
Showing greatly improved form from his first race back from injury at Ardingly, Harvey McGuiness was in sparkling form to finish in 10th place overall and a close fourth in his under-20 age group.
Hot on his heels after his usual steady start was veteran James Baker in 11th and just behind his Brighton V40 rival whom he beat at Goodwood in October.
Mike Houston was not far behind in 20th and fourth veteran with senior Mikeey Kwoka continuing his good form in 42nd to give the team a total of 83 points – and a big gap of 50 points in front of their Division 2 rivals.
After only being able to put out a weakened team in the second fixture they lie 69 points off securing one of the top two promotion places so much will depend on the strength of their team in February. Wesley Adams led the B team home in 52nd in front of a trio of over 50’s with Steve Davy in 94th, Jason Boswell 103rd and Tim Brown 119th. Bringing th club home was Peter Anderson in 151st and 19th in his over 65 age group.
Under-15s and under-17 men
In the under 15 boys’ race Ben Stewart and Stanley Wilkes were both in fine form, with Stewart having his best run to date to win the race after a speedy last 800m to the finish with Wilkes a close fourth.
There was good packing from Kai Lendrum in 22nd, Harry Cruttenden 24th and Arthur Reynolds 25th to give the team third place with 27 points and in line for end-of-season medals.
Elodie Hill had another top ten placing in the under-15 girls’ race in tenth, while Louisa Fenmor Collins was 25th and Anya Dickinson just edged out teammate Hannah Clarke in 38th for a team total of 73 points in eighth.
Once again the under-17 men’s race was a hard fought affair with Micah Williams gaining valuable experience in 22nd in front of Sam Wyatt in 28th and Sam Cato 33rd for another 8th team placing.
Under-13s and under-11s
The two youngest age groups started the day’s action and there was a stand-out run from Max Gayle, who had his best finish in the under-13 boys’ race with a fine fourth place.
Joe Stewart was not far adrift in ninth with third scorer Ivo Edgar in 21st making a team total of 34 points in third place.
Overall they lie in fourth place, just 11 points behind the medals, so another impressive display will be needed in race four to overturn the positions.
Elsewhere Isla Pearson was 17th in the under-13 girls’ race while there was another top three finish from Emmy Pemberton for third place in the under-11 race in front of Olivia Pearson in 27th and Abbie Cruttenden in 34th.
Five Chichester runners contested the under-11 boys’ race with Alfie Luxford bouncing back in ninth place after the disappointment of having to pull out of the previous race at Adingly with injury.
Rocco Hodges was again in form in 14th while there was good packing further down the field from Ethan Cowell in 52nd, Fraser Boden 55th and Harry Biffen in 59th.
The league is holding its final fixture at a new venue at Glyndebourne, East Sussex, in February where both individual and team medals will be decided, where team managers will hope their athletes peak at the right time.