Sun 11th Feb 2018

The last race of the season, at Wellesley Woods in Aldershot, saw great team performances from both U13s and U15s. Team and individual medals for the season were won by a number of WADAC athletes.

Typical UK cross-country conditions greeted our junior athletes at the last fixture of the 2017-18 Alton Sports Hampshire Cross-Country League season. Misty rain made life difficult for athletes and officials alike, while sodden ground in the fields and tree-roots in the woods presented familiar challenges for the runners.

WADAC's juniors got off to the best possible start in the U13 Girls race. Helped by the unfortunate early injury withdrawal of her main rival, Rose Chesterfield stormed to her second victory in the five-race series, a win which pushed her up one place to the top of the table for the season, and a hard-earned gold medal. Rose was followed in by Amelia Moore (3rd), Millie Burgess (4th) and Ellie McErlean (7th), all recording their highest-ever League finishes and one of the most dominant team displays by WADAC juniors that anyone could recall. Team victory on the day gave WADAC equal-top position in the team table for the season, but agonisingly the gold medals were won on countback by Aldershot, and our girls had to settle for silver. These are Winchester's first Hampshire League team / individual medals in U13 Girls for several years. There were good performances also from a number of our lower-year U13 girls and some U11s stepping up to the U13 race, which bodes well for next season. Aisling Hitchman continued her excellent campaign with 16th place, followed by Lara Bassett (23rd), Emma Shedden (30th), Jaz Jones (44th), Lucy Jones (47th), Safiya Husain (50th), Phoebe McGee (56th) and Lauren McGee (59th).

In the U13 Boys race, the headlines were once again made by James Lewis, our U11 Hampshire Champion, who made light of the age disadvantage to finish 4th. He was followed in by Ben Chesterfield (13th), continuing his superb late-season form and Tom Grote (17th), another U11 racing above age-group. These three secured second team-place on the day, leading to team bronze medals for third place in the season-end table. In another good turnout for WADAC, next home were Thomas Briggs (18th), Michael Shingleton-Smith (23rd), Harry Harvey (25th), Ben Schofield (30th), Evan Jeremiah (38th, another U11, and with only one shoe for 90% of the race), Toby Pace (41st), Connor Dutton (47th) and Adam Lee (63rd on his first race back after injury). Here again, with so many lower-year U13s and U11s doing well, the prospects for next season look good.

Our U15 girls needed an unlikely combination of results to turn their start-of-day 4th place in the aggregate table into a medal-winning slot, but they very nearly managed it. The total of 40 points from Hannah Foster (11th), Issy Beck (12th) and Lily Neate (17th) was three points behind second-placed Reading on the day, and that turned out to be the margin by which they fell short of overhauling Portsmouth for third place in the season's medal table. There were good runs also from Grace McKee (21st), Katy Nicholson (27th) and Emma Tilsley (33rd). With the majority of the team continuing next season as U15s, coach Mike Chambers will be optimistic that medal positions are within reach.

In the U15 Boys race completely dominated by hosts Aldershot, WADACs two runners were James Medley (28th and a special mention for competing in all five races) and Sam Roberts (31st).

Well done to all our juniors on representing their training groups and the club so well throughout the Hampshire League season.