Well over 20 from the Harrier & Yeovil training squads were in competition for their Area Schools teams at the 2024 edition of the Somerset Schools Athletics Cross Country Championships held this past Saturday. Those who competed at RNAS Merryfield in early January at the SW Clubs Championships would have had an advantage from knowing the course and likely terrain, but all that ran tried their best.
There were four outright winners from the Harrier training squads, with some being at least a year younger than others in their age-group races. Well done Bea Soper, Oskar Beck, Daisy Davies & Tom Webb. All will now be selected along with others who have finished top ten to represent Somerset Schools at the SW Schools Cross Country Championships, on Saturday 3rd February, and the stepping stone from there is on to the presitigious English Schools XC Championships to be held in early March.
U17 Tom Webb actually went on to lower his 1500m track time the following day (Sunday) at the Indoor meet in Cardiff, whilst u13 Oskar Beck gave his local Junior Parkrun over 2km another blast and lowered the course record, again. Tom seen above at the British Athletics Cross Challenge at Renfrew the previous weekend on Saturday 13th.
This report also includes some other news from indoor action, another Meet The Harriers interview, and links to try to keep you up to date about the campaign to save the Yeovil track from closure. Well done to Geoff Cole, Chairman of our sister Club Yeovil Olympiads, and others for raising the profile of this issue so effectively.
Somerset Schools Cross Country Championships – Ilton – Saturday 20th January
The Harriers have a very long tradition of coaching and encouraging its junior members to compete at the Schools Competitions. Over 25 from the Harrier training groups held at Millfield on a Monday or Tuesday night or at the Yeovil track on a Tuesday were taking part this past weekend. Some were taking their first steps at County-level competition; others are now so experienced at it that they know the format, and in some instances, the actual course, like the back of their hands. Either way, they have to turn up to try and do their very best.
U13 Bea Soper (Year 8) training with us on a Tuesday at Millfield, (2nd Claim to the Harriers, as she remains 1st claim for Sale Harriers) had a race victory over 1st Claim team-mate from the Yeovil training group Bibi Abenernethy in the Junior Girls race. Vienna Townsend also from the Yeovil squad was close behind in 5th.
U13 Oskar Beck (Year 8) running in the combined Year 8 & 9 race ran most of the race in a small group of three at the front and then unleashed a tremendous sprint to the finish in the final 400m to beat rivals from the School year above, Oskar followed up his Saturday endeavours with a little run out in Junior Parkrun over 2km on the Sunday and lowered the course record, He still had enough energy at Harrier training on the Monday night to again put in the efforts.
U15 Daisy Davies, from the Yeovil training group, won the Inter Girls race with the Harrier Tuesday training group member Jemima Davey close behind in 2nd place.
U17 Tom Webb swept all before him to win the InterBoys race, following up his great run the previous weekend all the way up in Scotland when he competed in the latest round of the British Athletics Cross Challenge at Renfrew. He finished 7th u17 at that particular race. (see photo above).
Tom’s very obviously got a great capacity for stamina and endeavour as the very next day after the Cross Country– Sunday 21st January - he was back competing, this time at the BMC Indoors meet at Cardiff where he lowered his 1500m time to 4.00.86 (almost under 4 minutes for the metric ‘mile’!).
Harrier results at the Somerset Schools XC – well done all whether first or last, you were taking part!
Minor Girls (Year 7)
18 Rosie Garge
Junior girls (Year 8&9)
1 Bea Soper
2 Bibi Abernethy
19 Eva Dowden
Inter Girls (Year 10&11)
1 Daisy Davies
2 Jemima Davey
8 Maisy Burge
12 Darcy Walker
13 Amelie Cook
Senior Girls (Year 12&13)
2 Sophie Nicholls
6 Mackenzie O’Dea
8 Lucy Acott
Minor boys( Year 7)
22 Harrison Webb
37 Noah Foley
38 George Laing
Junior Boys (Year 8&9)
1 Oskar Beck
6 Leyton Finn
14 Jamie Williams
17 Jamie Dawson
18 Harry Dawson
31 Nnaemeka Nwagbogu
41 Dominic Cook
43 Harry Rigby
Inter Boys (Year 10 & 11)
1 Tom Webb
23 Ethan Harvey
26 John Wilkinson-Ratcliffe
Senior Boys (Year 12 & 13)
12 Jack Harvey
(If anyone has been missed out from the above list - just shout - I'm not so up to date on members now that I'm no longer team managing and only have limited time to scan results! I'm also aware that there may have been some juniors from the Yeovil end of the Club competing at the Dorset Schools Championships)
INDOOR TRACK & FIELD news from USA
Meanwhile in indoor action over in the United States, has been one of our Hon Life Members, U23Harry Barton who has recorded some impressive times of late.
Starting the indoor season last month Harry ran pbs of 21.78 for 200m and 48.36 for 400m on his current home town track when competing for Youngstown University at an ‘icebreaker’ event.
He’s showing his consistency with a 48.46 over 400m just this past week at another meeting on the same track. Harry is into his 2nd year on a US athletics scholarship and will most likely once again target 400 hurdles this coming outdoor season.
A challenge for Harry, and also his fellow TeamGB Harrier athletes studying over there (Ollie & Elise Thorner), is that the National Collegiate Athletics Championship Finals- the pinnacle of athletic endeavour stateside - clash this year with the European Athletics Championships,to be held in Rome in early June. All three would be realistic prospects for the Europeans, subject to achieving qualifying times in their athletic disciplines.....
Yeovil Track situation
There has been some very good media coverage this past week of the situation that might affect the Yeovil track given the major budget cuts that the Somerset Council are faced with.
Well done to our Yeovil partners who attended in good numbers at the Council meeting in Taunton last Monday 15th January. Their campaign was featured on local TV & Radio that night, and the following day, and on the local BBC News website. The background to the situation can be seen by reviewing the information available - we can envisage many non-statutory services being lost unless more funding is found.
If you haven't yet read the article in the Athletics Weekly - the link to the item first published on 18th January is here. Please keep checking the Yeovil Olympiads website for further news - at some stage or other there may be a call for Harrier members (and parents of junior members) to lend a hand with expertise and knowledge that may assist the Olympiads in moving forward with a solution to keep the track open and available for all.
Meet the Harriers
Our latest Meet the Harriers interview features Graham Goldsmid. Click here to read the article.
Copy in word doc 12 and photos as jpegs make things easier.