Herne Hill Harriers athletes of all ages were in action in both indoor track and field and outdoor cross country over a weekend which saw some with lots early New Year success.
Pride of place this week goes to those who competed at the South of England Under 15 and Under 17 indoor track and field athletics championships at Lee Valley, bringing home a total haul of six area championship medals.
Dante Clarke won a gold in the U15 boys long jump with 6.06m and was also second in the 60m hurdles final with a new PB of 8.79. Newcomer Victoria Alicante-King was Harriers other gold medalist as she won the U15 girls shot put title in her first major competition with 11.71m.
In the U15 boys shot last years top ranked U13 boy Alex Abebrese won a silver medal with 12.03m. Herne Hill shot putting is in a very healthy state as another medal was claimed at this discipline by Kai Broadbent with a silver in the U17 men’s event with 12.64m, while another Abebrese brother Ignatius won a bronze medal in the U17 men’s long jump with 6.42m.
Harriers youngsters were also winning on Wimbledon Common as Lily Rose Brown and Sophia Sahai recorded an excellent 1-2 in the U13 girls race to lead the team to victory and consolidate their lead in the women’s Surrey Cross Country League after three of the four fixtures of the season.
With one match remaining the team have an impressive lead and with very good depth in the squad look set to win the league title. Backed up by Eva O’Hanlon in fifth and sister Grace in tenth the girls team won by 26 points and the B team of Izzy Perry, Vivi Marshall, Anna Forster and Rosalie Laban were third team on a day of dominance in this age group.
Newly crowned Surrey County Cross Country champion Phoebe Bowen was the first U15 finisher in the combined U17/U17 girls race and was supported by Claire van Heel in 34th and Annabella Bailey in 38th as the team placed 6th in the U15 category.
The men and boys had their Surrey League races on slightly soggier ground in Beckenham Place Park. The Herne Hill U13 boys team were a close second in a fast changing race in which Oak Buchan led the team home in fourth place and as the places switched around on an undulating course the team were narrowly beaten by Epsom & Ewell. Josh Lee Baum was eighth, fast improving Josh Maguire ninth and Keeran Sriskandarajah 15th. The U15/17 boys team was fifth with Sam Camenzuli 13th, Harvey Kande 16th Robin Bebbington 29th and Jacob Alley 30th.
Beckenham also witnessed a very strong Surrey League senior men’s race with a field headed by international distance runners and the Herne Hill team did superbly well as their now legendary collective team packing saw the A team place third on the day in what is currently probably the strongest local cross country league in the UK.
Indeed, having consolidated on their fifth place cumulative position after three of the four races Harriers could now have a chance to finish third of fourth in the final league Division 1 table if another strong performance can be produced in the final race in Lloyd Park on Saturday 8th February
as the gap is now only 40 points behind Thames Hare & Hounds and 94 behind South London Harriers. There is certainly still all to play for and the B team, also of ten runners are lying second in the overall NB team standings, proof positive that the men’s team depth is really good and is ever improving.
First man in red and black was Mike Cummings, six days after he had raced 3000m indoors in Sheffield, with his 25th placing illustrating the value of maintaining quality work during winter. Andrew Warburton was next in 30th, followed in by the juggernaut packing which saw Lewis Laylee 38th, Nick Dewar 41st, Carl Delaney 43rd, Rich Henderson 44th, Angus Butler 45th, Brandon Dewar 47th, Jack Dickenson 49th and Simon Coombes closing the scoring A team of ten men in 52nd.
The A team were backed up nicely by another 20 men in red and black, the next 10 finishers comprising the B team on the day. These were Andrew Grigg 72nd, Robin Jones 79th, Jeff Cunningham 81st, Matt Cartwright 95th, new M40 Ant Buchan (whose son ran very well in the U13 boys race) 99th, Henry Brown 106th, Eoghan Wiles 116th, Jon Key 132nd, Gav Newsum 138th and Richard Keeble closing the B team in 140th.
Saturday’s turnout gives very real optimism for an even better end of season position, and this should also be the aim of the senior women’s team who with 12 runners on Wimbledon Common placed seventh A team on the day. As with the men, the leading athlete in the team was a V35 who is training with track rather than cross country as her end goal and after 8km at Wimbledon on Saturday Fiona de Mauny’s next races are at 400m and 800m indoors this coming weekend at Lee Valley at the London Indoor Games.
De Mauny’s 19th place was closely followed by another very good run from Julia Wedmore in 21st and with Sarah Grover not far behind her in 24th. The A team of five women was completed by Lara Langston in 60th and Aimee Hargreaves in 66th, just ahead of Karen Ellison 70th and Shannon Sinclair 72nd leading the B team. The eighth Herne Hill woman in the top 100 was a returning Katie Kedward back in red and black, placing 93rd. Having placed second in the women’s league last season the team will be aiming for a stronger final day of this league in Richmond Park on 8th February