National Cross-Country Inter-Counties Championships 2016 - Report
Competing against the cream of 42 English and Welsh Counties and over 300 finishers in each race, three Cornish athletes finished in the top ten and two just outside. These five were representing the Duchy at the annual National Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Cofton Park Birmingham and were part of a large Cornwall team competing at the climax of the cross country season in what has been the worst year for fixture congestion with three National Championships in the Midlands over consecutive weekends.
This fixture congestion almost certainly ‘robbed’ the Under 15 Boys team of a top five placing due to the withdrawal of Harris Mier, who wisely decided not to compete with an England Schools representation next weekend in Scotland. This was gained by him after his outstanding win at Nottingham last week. The team were still strong and headed by Finn Birnie who targetted the front runners in the two lap course. With the field stretched, he was lying in sixth as they turned into the long finish straight, overtaking a Shropshire athlete for the highest County position of the day. With James Greenwood at 39th, Sam Goodchild 104th and Floyd Ratcliffe 111th , the team were fourteenth.
Grace Brock came close to Finn’s placing from a more conservative start and a strong hill climb/descent on the first lap. She got herself into a sixth position on the second lap of the Under 15 Girls event which she held to the line.
After a race which she described as disappointing last week, Tess Masselink ran a much better race from the start as the only County representative in the Under 20 Women. She held her form throughout the 6Km distance, taking a well deserved ninth position at the finish.
Yoyo Barnsley led one of the best County Under 17 Women’s team to compete in the Championships. She took on the leading group from the start just losing touch in the second half but still registering a superb 11th position. The team were the highest placed at 13th with three in the first one hundred. Sian Temple was 30th in her first year of the age group with Katie Hughes 74th and Nell Savage completing the quartet at 151st.
Bradley Mclellan was one of the few athletes who competed at all three National Championships, producing high placings in all three. This was his final year as an Under 13 Boys and he will be moving up an age group on a high after his strong run over the 3Km one lap race earned him 12th in the biggest field of the day. Si-am Juntakereket finished 88th in this race.
It was a case of ‘what could have been’ with the Senior Men’s team! From probably the best for some years, it suddenly dropped off in the last week and one of the parents stepped in to complete the sixth team member needed. Understandably, Dan Nash took up the offer of a GB vest as first reserve, finishing second team member in the World Student Cross Country Championships in Italy. As it was, two of the County athletes were neck and neck over the three lap 12km race at Birmingham. Mark Jenkins, on his debut for the County, just held off Peter Le Grice as they chased to the line, Mark finishing 28th and Pete 29th. Colin Snook was also highly placed at 62nd with Adam Thomas 108th, Paul Whear 180th and John Telford completing the team at 217th for a 14th placing.
The Women also had a late call to find their sixth runner with Lauren Anning stepping in at the last minute. Alice Rogers was the best placed at 128th, Niki Smith 150, Jo herd 156, Jenny Nash 198, Emily Newton 209 and Lauren 215.
The Under 13 Girls are normally fighting for places but for various reasons, only six were available for the four to score team. Frances Ratcliffe was best placed at 139th with Tilly McDowell close to her at 148th. The Under 17 men were also down but had a five man team. Aidan Kent managed to pick himself up out of the mud after a sprawl to finish 48th in his first year of the age group. Tom Slattery was 72nd, Isaac parker 144th and Tom Luton 157th.
Ten Cornish athletes have been selected to represent the South West at the London Mini Marathon on 24th April.
From seven eligible Counties this is the largest number from Cornwall who will compete over the last three miles of the London Marathon route, passing along the Embankment, past Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace to finish under the main gantries in The Mall.
The selected athletes are:- Under 13’s: Tia Brown and Bradley Mclellan, Under 15’s: Grace Brock, Harris Mier, Finn Birnie and James Greenwood, Under 17’s: Yoyo Barnsley, Sian Temple, Aidan Kent and Tom Slattery. Charlotte Hicks unfortunately has had to withdraw due to injury and would have made it eleven athletes plus Si-am Juntakereket is a non-travelling first reserve.