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Blackheath & Bromley’s Under 15 girls cross country team are the National Champions! They secured the title on a sunny day at Nottingham’s Wollaton Park as athletes from the Club flew the flag in all of the ten races. As well as the team gold, four athletes achieved top 10 placings, no mean achievement when competing against the best in the country.
The under 15s girls have been in unbeatable form this season taking the County and Area titles with ease. They knew they had a good chance of winning medals at Nottingham and produced a golden performance on the day as they placed five athletes in the first 28 places.
First home was Naomi Kingston who worked her way up to 5th place as Jessica Keene also crept up the field to 10th place. Kelsey Fuss finished in 16th and Yasmin Austridge 22nd to complete the scoring four places. Such was the dominance of the B&B squad that if Georgina Taylor’s 28th place were added to the team total they would still have won the contest.
Showing the healthy depth of the squad, Amy Leach was 183rd, Mary Guy 253rd, Darcy Kirwin 295th and Francesca Pickup 330th.
This is the first time the Club has won gold medals since the under 17 men won in 1997 and 1998. Michael Skinner was one of the winning team in 1997. Now a seasoned International, he was 10th in the Senior Mens race which was his target given his recent injury problems.
He was part of a team that finished in 17th place with Ben Harding 102nd, Andy Rayner 191st, Danny Brewer 262nd, a sickly Alex Gibbins 305th and Sam Barnes 314th.
The Senior womens race saw three of the parents of the youngsters in action with Carole Penlington 245th , Charlotte Stickings 307th and Claire Austridge 444th. Unfortunately they needed one further athlete to complete a team.
Likewise, the Club were short in the under 20s age group where for the women Amber Reed was 71st and Bethany Frost 100th while Will Ruiz was 96th for the men. With some promising athletes moving up from the under 17s they will be hoping to complete full teams next year.
One of those is Will Fuller who finished in an excellent 11h place in the under 17 mens race. With Richard Webb in 44th , Tom Desborough 128th and early leader Bailey Stickings 264th they were 12th in the team race.
Niamh Bridson would have finished higher in the womens race but for losing her shoe in a particularly sticky part of the course, but her 22nd position was still an outstanding effort. Leah Everson in 115th, Samantha Leighton 148th ,Jennifer Sheasby 186th and Chloe Haffenden 208th ensured the team finished in 10th place.
Marco Arcuri led the under 15 boys team home in 96th place ahead of Aleksander Wiltshire 119th, Charlie Davis 186th and Oscar Hussey 251st. This gave them 20th place.
The under 13 boys came so close to medals finishing just 11 points off 3rd place. Star here was Club under 13s Hammer and Pentathlon record holder Henry James Cowie who worked his way up to 5th by the end of the race.
Michael Eagling took 39th, Angus Harrington 57th and Peter Guy 65th to give them a fine 5th place. Just as pleasing was that the Club had another 10 finishers with Joseph Georgiadis 103rd, Coleman Corry 113th, George Pope 162nd, Lewis Stickings 168th, Keir Lundy 197th, Billie Keene 209th, Ben Gardiner 221st, Callum Myatt 276th, Cameron Swatton 301st and Charlie Short 380th.
Millie Smith had an exceptional run in the girls race to finish in 19th place and with Jessica Sellar 74th, Grace Scopes 102nd and Emilie Penlington 123rd the team finished 8th. Again there was good strength in depth with Lauren Goddard 205th, Claudia Pickup 257th, Lily Tappenden 348th and Zoe Austridge 379th.