There were some outstanding performances from the Exeter Harriers athletes at the latest Brooks Westward Cross Country League fixture, which incorporated the Devon County Championships last weekend. With the event being held locally in Exeter then a high turnout was always to be expected and the athletes did not disappoint with the juniors outshining their senior counterparts. With the weather in the South West being appalling over the last couple of weeks we were presented with very muddy conditions underfoot and spikes were a must.
The under 15 boys yet again proved their class in their age group by ripping the field apart and finishing dominating the podium positions in the Westward League and County Championships respectively. First home was Patrick Livingstone who won in a time of 13.40, with Archie Stoneman closely behind in 13.44 and Thomas McShane 3rd in 13.48. Sixth home in the Westward League and 5th in Devon was Joe Chamberlain in 14.01 with Oscar Petherick completed the team in 8th place (7th in Devon) in 14.21 This was easily good enough for first place overall in the team events in the county championships and Westward League. They boys now hold a sizeable gap of nearly 70 points over their nearest rivals with three fixtures remaining.
Rosie Chamberlain continued in her excellent development on the country by finishing 5th in the senior women’s race and 1st in the under 20 age group in Devon in 18.39. Katherine Humphreys followed closely behind after just being outsprinted by Rosie coming down the final hill to finish 6th (2nd in Devon) in a time of 18.40. Emily Weeks showed good signs of improvement to finish in 21st place (11th in Devon) in 20.13. Alice Kelly finished shortly after in 28th place (3rd under 20 in Devon) in 20.48 with Catherine Harman completing the team in an excellent 43rd place (4th female vet 40) in 22.04. This team performance was good enough for 2nd place in the county championships, just being pipped to the prize by Exmouth Harriers.
In the under 13 boys race Alex Pinsky was just pipped on the line to the county title in finishing 2nd in 10.51. Kyle Hartnell finished only two seconds behind in 4th place (4th in Devon) in 10.53, with Lewis Churchill 16th (16th in Devon) in 10.53. These excellent performances were good enough for the county team title and 3rd place in the Westward League.
The senior men’s race saw a start list with a few big names missing which meant the race was very open. Josh Trigwell returned from university to show a clean pair of heels on his Exeter Harriers team mates to finish an impressive 2nd (1st under 20 in Devon). Clearly training with Olympic athlete Andrew Osagie in London is inspiring him. James Denne was next to finish in 5th place (4th in Devon) with Jonathon Herrera and Ollie Berry closely behind, finishing in 6th and 7th places respectively in 30.43 and 30.46 with Jonathan 5th in Devon. Jack Bancroft was next to finish in 9thplace in 31.23 to help tie up the team prize in the Westward League and help to regain the lead in the overall league standings. Howard Bailey was next to finish in 25th (14thin Devon) in 32.44 with Dave Wilkinson finishing 34th and the 1st male vet 50 in Devon in a time of 33.10. Adam Stobbs was next to finish in 48th place (3rd male vet 40) with Peter Chamberlain completing the team and helping to secure the team county title for the fourth year running in 95thplace (10th male vet 45) in a time of 39.05.
Josie Crosby for the lone under 13 girl to compete for the club but performed magnificently to finish 3rd (3rd in Devon) in a time of 11.32.
In the under 17 boys race Matthew Dowell run strongly after appearing to struggle up one hill but recovering really well to finish 3rd (4th in Devon) in 16.58 with Scott Harman 17th (16th in Devon) in 21.05.
In the under 15 girls race there were some very solid performances to ensure the team finished 2nd in the Westward League and 2nd overall in the county championships. Madeline Roche finished in 6th place (6th in Devon) in 16.26, with Zoe Kuyken closely behind in 8th (7th in Devon) in 16.34. Florence Livingstone was next home in 9th place (8th in Devon) in 16.40. Shortly after Ruby Davis finished in 12th place (11th in Devon) in 17.24 with Eliza McCarthy rounding off the team in 20th place (17th in Devon) in 19.52.
There was also an under 11 development race which was a good indicator to see where the future talent of the club lays. Johnny Livingstone finished in an excellent 2nd place in 5.58 with W Penny 4th in 6.17. Craig Moncur was next to finish in 6th place in 6.31 with S Mitchell closely behind in 8th in 6.34. C Bryson completed the team in 25gh place in 7.22.
This was a brilliant result for the club and showed that the future talent of distance running in Exeter is there. 15 athletes managed to guarantee themselves selection for the National Inter Counties Cross Country Championships in Birmingham in March with a few others awaiting selection. The next Westward League fixture is not until Mid January when we will be travelling up to Westward Ho! However a week before the next fixture is the South West Cross Country Championships at Bicton College which will be the first opportunity for some of the athletes to wear a Devon vest.