Cari Hughes (Syr Thomas Jones) warmed up for her forthcoming trip to the World Cross Country Championships in Uganda with a sixth successive Welsh Schools title. Cari’s run of victories started with a Junior Girls title in 2012, she has remained unbeaten and it was only the Year 7 crown which eluded her in a remarkable sequence of results.
Heavy overnight rain had made underfoot conditions heavy, but the promised deluge of rain from Storm Stella did not materialise and the course held up well over the traditional 8 race programme.
It was the Junior Girls who were first up and this race provided a first WSAA title for Aimee Callow (Ysgol Bro Edern), Aimee has shown consistent form over the winter and at the finish held a 13 second lead over Orla Davies (Myddleton College), Ashleigh Willis (Olchfa) was a further 8 seconds back in taking the bronze. Aimee also had the pleasure of a second gold on the day as she led her Cardiff & the Vale team-mates to the team trophy.
Another consistent performer Osian Perrin (St. Gerrards) turned the tables on Welsh Champion Mike Spill (Friars) as he captured the Junior Boys title after finishing second in 2016. James Jones (Argoed) turned his outstanding indoor track form into a bronze on the country as he held off the challenge of the Glamorgan Valleys pairing of Jacob Reynolds (Y Gwyndy) and Joseph Reardon (Rhydywaun). With the other four Eryri scorers packing well behind Osian and Mike it was the north-west school district taking a comfortable team win.
The Senior Girls event was again dominated by an in form Cari, Dyfed’s Abbie Williams (Pembroke) took silver and Naomi Reed (Y Pant) took third. It was again a strong Eryri team who captured the team award finishing 4 athletes in the top 10.
The Year 7 races have been a feature of the championships since 2004, this year the youngest athletes competed over a course measuring 2970m presenting first WSAA titles to Frank Morgan (Bro Myrddin) and Neisha Roberts (Bryhyfryd), the team trophies went to Cardiff & the Vale for the girls and North East Wales for the boys.
Jake Heyward (Llanishen) made a rare appearance on the country as he took the Senior Boys title, this was a fourth WSAA victory for Jake after he took the Junior Boys in 2013 and followed that with successive Middle Boys wins in both 2014 and 2015. A real battle took place for the other medals with Matthew Williams (Milford Haven) just edging out Dominic Smith (Olchfa) to take silver by just one second. Matthew also led Dyfed to the team win.
Mia Roberts (Brynhyfryd) produced another display of front running as she took the penultimate race of the day in winning the Middle Girls. A double success for the Roberts household after sister Neisha had won the Year 7 crown earlier in the day. There was also a real return to form for Eluned King (Gwyr) as she took second ahead of Carys Bill (Plasmawr) who added to her impressive medal haul with bronze on this occasion. North East Wales won their second team title of the day.
The final race of the day was always going to be a difficult one to call, a group of 3 broke away early in the race and it was James Penrose (Wycliff) who eventually took gold ahead of last year’s Junior Boys Champion Nathan Jones (Bishopston) and Ethan Ackroyd (Mold Alun). James was another athlete collecting 2 gold medals on the day as South East Wales took the team award.
Despite winning just one team award it was again Dyfed who took the overall trophy, testament to a series of consistent performances throughout the day and the ability to field full senior teams when other districts struggle for numbers.
The thanks of all at WSAA goes to all those who contributed to another successful day, especially to our team of dedicated volunteer officials who make the delivery of events possible.
For many of our young athletes thoughts now turn to Margam Park next Saturday with the climax of the Cross Country season as Wales hosts the combined SIAB and Home Countries Cross Country Internationals. Good luck to all who have earned selection.
FULL RESULTS download
WSAA Support Officer