Herne Hill Harriers enjoyed a storming start to the new year winning three sets of team gold medals at the Surrey County cross country championships on a muddy and testing course in the Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking.
Showing great teamwork and determination in the first championships of the winter apart from relays, the club won the Under 13 boys, Under 15 boys and Under 15 girls team honours as well as finishing third in the Under 13 girls and Under 17 men’s team races
In the first race of the day the U13 boys team was led by Caspian Holmes who was fourth Jack McLennan sixth, Dylan Gillies ninth, and Edward Cunniffe 13th and were the winners by 20 points. Edward was running in his first U13 boys race for the club having just turned 11 years old.
In the U15 boys race there was an exciting finish with Keeran Sriskandarajah snatching second place in the final 50 metres supported by Fabien Whitelock fourth, Alex Wilson fifth and Warren Wilson 12th .
The U15 girls were inspired to match the boys led home by Orla Carroll who, like Sriskandarajah claimed an individual bronze medal, but in third, India Blakey eighth, Vivi Marshall 12th and Eve O’Hanlon 17th Orla Wright equalled the clubs highest individual placing of the day in second place in the U13 girls race and led the team home to third place in a very high quality event. Sophie Jack was tenth, Florence Mills 15th and Lily Kitto 23rd.
The U17 men also won bronze team medals through Robin Bebbington tenth, David Aisa Miller 18th, Sam Maloney 28th and Diego Lister 32nd. Maloney and Lister have only just returned from long term injuries The Under 17 and Under 20 women raced together, but with individual championship results recorded separately.
Pheobe Bowen placed fifth in the U17 women’s race, while ahead of her Poppy Craig McFeely was a good third in the U20 behind two current Great Britain junior internationals and was the final Harriers athlete to take home a county medal on the day.
Another Herne Hill female to excel was at a very wet Middlesex cross country championship at Greenford on Saturday, where US university based Yasmin Marghini took the opportunity to claim a senior women’s silver medal while home in London for Christmas. Although still being eligible for the Under 20 women’s race, Marghini opted to race a longer distance of 8.3km against older opposition.
Back at Denbies, the Herne Hill senior men missed out on medals placing fourth, the team scoring six runners being Chris Busaileh 12th, Arlo Ludewick 24th, Brandon Dewar 26th, Marc Geraghty 30th, Eoin Brady 33rd and Jonny Whittall 54th. Whittall squeezed into the team by catching Ross Brown, who had been Herne Hill’s sixth man throughout the race right at the finish, with Brown placing 55th in the same time as Whittall.
The senior women’s team placed sixth with the four scorers led by a returning Natasha Lodge in 21st, followed by Karen Ellison 28th, Suzanne Swaine 33rd and Eliza Cottington 44th. The U20 men’s team was incomplete, with David Moyse 19th and Jacob Alley 21st the only representatives in this age group.
Next weekend sees the third of four fixtures for all age groups in the Surrey Cross Country League, with the races to be held on Mitcham Common on Saturday.