Brecon, Saturday 26th. November
Excellent weather matched by great underfoot conditions welcomed the athletes to Penlan Arena, Brecon for the first big test of the winter on the schools cross country calendar.
The secondary races got underway at 1:15 with the Under 13 Girls race which involves athletes in school years 7 and 8. First winner of the day was Eden Williams (Whitchurch) from Alannah Hill (Radyr) and Moli Lyons (Bro Morgannwg), Cowbridge were comfortable winners of the team event through Erin Andrews, Evie Wong, Evie Watkins and Phillipa Allen.
The Under 13 Boys event provided a win for Iori Humphreys (Pembroke), closely followed by the Bro Myrddin pair of Frank Morgan in silver and Liam Edwards taking bronze, only 3 seconds separated the 3 in the closest finish of the day. Not surprisingly it was Bro Myrddin who took the team event as the 2 medallists were well backed up by Dafydd Jones (5th) and Morgan Lloyd (40th.).
The Under 15 Girls race provided some of the most compelling viewing of the day with frequent changes of the lead, eventually it was the Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr pairing of Eluned King and Caitlyn Gwyther who battled it out for gold, it was Caitlyn taking the win by only 2 seconds with Ashleigh Willis (Olchfa) taking bronze and completing an Afan Nedd Tawe clean sweep of medals. Olchfa also took the team gold as they narrowly edged out Gwyr in the closest team event of the day (71 pts against 73). Beth Thomas, Bronwen Startton-Thomas and Eve Bevan packing well behind Ashleigh to secure the win.
The Under 15 Boys event was equally good viewing, a large group of around 15 set the early pace but eventually the 3 medallists broke away, the final order only decided as the group hit the hill for the last time and Sebastian Lewis (Bishop Vaughan) opened a gap which Joseph Reardon (Rhydywaun) and Louis Spencer (Stanwell) could not close down. It was a first national cross country title for Sebastian as he continued his fine track form from last summer. The team title went to Cwm Rhymni (Gelli Haf) with Kian Murphy, Shaun Pinch, Morgan Evans and Ryan Davies the scorers.
The Senior Girls race over 4,150m provided a win for Bethan Evans (Y Pant) as she took a comfortable victory over Abbie Williams (Pembroke) and Carys Bill (Plasmawr). This race was also the Welsh Colleges Championships and this was won by Laura Wright (St. David’s College) with Holli Jehu (Merthyr College) taking second and Bethan Harris (Gower College) in third. It was a win for Sam Curwen (Cardiff & the Vale College) in the Welsh Colleges event within the senior boys race. However, the overall title went to Ben Thomas (Ysgol y Strade) as he took the spoils ahead of Jac Smith (Gartholwg) and Morgan James (Cwm Rhymni – Gelli Haf). The final team title of the day went to Stanwell, they were well led by Rhys Jones in 5th. with Jack Maconray, Callum Russell and Antonio Peacock completing the scorers.
As has become the tradition over recent years a development event for primary aged athletes had provided the curtain raiser for the day. This consisted of 4 races for boys and girls in school years 5 and 6 over a 1400m section of the main course. There were wins for Seren Davies (Carmarthen Harriers) in the Year 5 girls, Ifan Bowen (Carmarthen Harriers), Year 5 boys. The Year 6 girls race was won by Mai Davies (YGG Bryniago) and the Year 6 boys by Jack Organ (Llangors). For many this was a first Cross Country experience and the hope is that many will return to contest the secondary races in future years. Thanks for organising these races to Satu Haikala (Welsh Athletics Network Officer).
In all a highly entertaining and competitive day of athletics. The thanks of WSAA go to all who made the event a success, all the Officials, the start, finish, marshalls and results teams as well as the teachers and parents who helped organise athletes on the day.