Central Athletics Club’s senior cross country teams again delivered top performances at the Scottish National Cross Country Championships at Callendar Park, Falkirk.
It was a second defence of the team title by the senior men and the senior ladies, under 15 boys and under 13 girls all winning bronze.
British Under 23 cross country international Scott McDonald led the senior men’s team to victory with an individual fourth place covering the traditional three-lap 12,000 metre course in 39min 12secs. Former champion Alastair Hay was seventh in 39.17 while Alex Hendry finished 10th (39.45). John Newsom was one place behind in 39.52 and it was first year senior Andrew Butchart (14th in 40.19) and Ross Houston (16th in 40.27) who sealed the team title. Essential back-up was provided by Michael Wright (31st; 41.43), Lewis Millar (37th; 41.57) and Andrew Hood (47th; 42.43) as 24 of Central’s senior men completed the race.
The senior ladies team settled for bronze medals with the leading four Central contenders finishing in the top 20 in a field of 214 finishers. Jennifer Emsley was 14th in 30:47 but was pushed all the way by Catriona Buchanan in 15th in 30:50. Fiona Thompson was a shade behind in 18th place in 30:57 with Lyndsay Morrison in 20th in 31:14. Claire Houston (70th, 34:58), Hazel Dean (35:28), Patricia Milne (107th, 36:25) and Kate Weldon (116th, 36:53) all finished well placed in the field.
The under 13 girls team also took bronze, surprising many within the club. Kate Gallagher continued her upward progression through the season with the top placing by any Central athlete at these championships with a well judged run and strong finish to take home an individual silver medal covering the 3200 metres in 14min 2secs. Evie Gallagher 13th in 14:56, Madeleine Woods 24th in 15:24 and Heather Scott 29th in 15:34 then produced outstanding individual performances to take bronze.
The under 15 boys also finished in third place. Leading the charge was Iain Davies, who picked up an amazing 64 places from last year, to finish in a highly competitive fifth place in 14.06 followed in by further strong runs from Jack Kerr, 18th in 14.39, Sam Davidson 28th in 15.09 and Matthew Crawford 30th in 15.11. Keiran Potter’s 85th place in 16.29 put down another marker for the future.
In the under 15 and under 17 girls races, Eilidh Russell (39th; 17:44) and Jodie Currie (60th; 18:43) produced fine runs in the under 15 race as did Eilidh MacCorquodale (29th, 20:17) and Amy McCabe (47th, 22:29) in under 17 race over 4.8 kilometres.
The under 13 boys race saw Conor Ryan pushing on to 29th place (13.55) with other fine runs from Craig Palmer (39th; 14.14); Morgan Bown (48th; 14.28); Sandy Holl (56th; 14.35); Thomas Hanson (73rd; 15.06) and Elliot Harris (78th; 15.18) to ensure the club’s endurance tradition continues.
The under 20 men’s race was held over two laps for eight kilometres and saw Cameron Milne finish 17th (28.40) and David Lindsay (43rd; 31.42) in another highly competitive race. The under 17 men competed over a 6400metre course with Daniel Stansfield passing the test well in 45th place (27.22) and Aidan Cameron continuing to show promise in 52nd (27.37).
●The final race in the club’s cross country series was held in the King’s Park on Saturday with 72 finishers.
Under 15 Jamie Price came home a convincing winner in 5min 17secs and was followed home from another strong run from Craig Palmer (5.24) as he lifted the under 13 boys series title. Thomas Hanson also showed good form to finish as second Under 13 boy (5.35).
The under 13 girls were led home by Carmen Clive (5.35) in her first outing with the club and she was followed home closely by Lauryn Turnbull (5.36). There were further good runs from Eve Ogilvie (5.57), Eleanor Hanson (5.59) and Esther Ross (6.21) while Jennifer Walls won the series title in this age group from Lauryn and Eve with Esther picking up a series medal.
The under 11 boys race saw a great tussle between Comhnall Ferguson (5.38) and Oscar Armstrong (5.39) with first timer Jack Haughton a few strides behind in 5.47. Callum Byrne (5.51) and Conall Stephen (5.58) both finished strongly and it was Oscar who lifted the series trophy ahead of Comhnall Ferguson and Conall Stephen while Phillip Ross, Fraser Thompson and Ross Coombs picked up medals.
Elizabeth Thompson continues to impress and won the under 11 girls race in style (5.48) ahead of Skye Henderson and Kirsty Ainsworth (both girls timed at 5.56) with Ruby Simpson also finishing in close order (6.01). Series trophies were taken home by Elizabeth, Skye and Ruby.
There were seven under 9 boys competing on the day and it was Ruairdh Reid who headed this group (6.34) closely pursued by Arran Hogg (6.37) and James Brown (6.38). The under 9 girls saw some 15 girls contesting the race and here Katie Findlay took the honours (6.30) ahead of series winner Jessica Turnbull (6.46) with Aileen MacKay (6.54), Mairi Craig (6.55) and Anna McKinnon (6.56) all finishing in close order..
Thanks due o Derek Easton, David Eckersley and Richard and Elinor Coombs for providing a great event and Alex Hendry and Jennifer Emsley for presenting the trophies.