With the last of the NYSD cross country meetings now just a distant memory, Darlington played host for the final event of the series before the focus returns to Track & Field again next month. The South Park Relays are always an exciting finale, producing the usual thrills and spills of a relay race, but above all else creating a true team spirit amongst its competitors.
Our juniors had five full teams of three athletes, plus a few individual performances. Some of them even stepped up to help out with the senior teams, and did rather well as we’ll see.
Under 11 Girls There’s no relays for the Under 11’s, just a one lap individual race following the Parkrun route, and there were two of our top young athletes in action today. Savannah Tarn has been a regular at the NYSD events this season, and is just going from strength to strength. She’s had a string of terrific performances, and today she added to that with a fantastic 2nd place. A close finish as well, only 3 seconds behind the winner, in a time of 6:45, a massive 25 seconds off last year’s time! Great job, Savannah, well done! Not far behind was teammate, Lottie Graves, who we first introduced back in September at the Thirsk XC Relays. She’s been a regular NYSD competitor ever since and has continued to improve throughout the season. Today was another impressive performance, crossing the line in 4th place in exactly 7.00 mins. Tremendous effort, Lottie, well done.
Under13 Boys Onto the relays. Even with a few of our regulars missing today, our talented Under 13 Boys still managed to enter two teams! Firstly, we had Dylan Wilson, Louis Brett and Harry Lyons. Dylan kicked off proceedings with a cracking first leg, a close run thing, with only a few seconds in it as he handed over to Louis, with the boys in a strong 3rd place. Louis powered on and ran the lap of his life, overtaking one, then two, and just kept on going, extending the lead by a huge 27 seconds as he handed over to Harry. All Harry had to do was to keep his cool and maintain the lead; well he did better than that by increasing the lead to 34 seconds as he crossed the line in 1st place. Outstanding performance boys, well done. Our second trio of talent came in the form of Elwood Kelley, Ashton Harrison and Matthew Vest. A young team compared to some, all still in year 1 of this age group. Elwood took the first leg, a tough battle against some of the older boys. He ran it well and handed over to Ashton in 6th place. Ashton pushed on and ran a cracking second leg, overtaking three on the way, pulling the boys back to 3rd place as Matthew took over. Another excellent leg from the anchor man, just dropping one place on the way, to bring the boys home in 4th place. A fantastic effort from a young team. Well done lads!
Under 13 Girls Another top team from the girls in the form of Libby Hammond, Tori Buckley and Macy Kelly. All talented athletes, but like most of the U13 Boys, a young team compared to some of the competition. Libby got the girls off to a great start, running a strong first leg, finishing in third place as she passed the reins over to Tori. As always, Tori gave it her all and managed to close the gap to just 13 seconds, maintaining 3rd place as she handed over to Macy. New recruit, Macy pushed hard to run a great final leg, eventually crossing the line to remain in 3rd place. An excellent performance girls, well done!
Under 15 Boys This one promised to be the pick of the day. In the blue and white vests we had John Russell, his brother Adam Russell (who ran at Loughborough the day before) and relatively new member, Max Pearson. They were up against Marsh House Harriers and favourites, Richmond & Zetland. R&Z had two athletes who also ran for the North East Counties at Loughborough, one finishing 8th and one 15th, so our boys were up against some tough competition. John got things off to a great start; strong as usual, knocking 10 seconds off last year’s time as he handed over to his brother, Adam with the boys in 2nd place, and a gap of only 12 seconds. Adam ran a cracking second leg, closing all the time on leaders, R&Z, and by the time he’d completed his lap, the gap was down to just 2 seconds (also 10 seconds quicker than last year!) The excitement was building, but it was a big ask for Max to compete against one of the UK’s best XC runners. He put up a fantastic effort, but in the end R&Z’s Charlie Stephenson ran the fastest leg of the day to hold on to 1st, with Max maintaining an excellent 2nd place. A tremendous effort lads against some quality athletes. Well done!
Under 15 Girls On paper, our Under 15 Girls were definitely in with a shout here. With Mia Wetherill, still young but already a quality athlete; new member, Caitlin Minns who we don’t know much about yet but was keen to run today; and Harriet Rogers, one of our most experienced athletes who’ll soon be moving up to Under 17. Mia got things off to a fantastic start, running what turned out to be the fastest leg of all the U15 girls, knocking 16 seconds off her time from last year. She handed over to Caitlin with a very healthy 39 second lead! Caitlin followed with another excellent leg, opening the gap even more, handing over to Harriet who now had a massive 64 second lead. With a lead like that, Harriet could afford to relax a little. But no, she pushed on and increased the lead to a whopping 77 seconds to win comfortably. Well done girls, an outstanding performance! Also running an individual race was Emily Vest. It’s been a busy first year at U15 for Emily, including several appearances at the NYSD cross country events. Today she ran an excellent lap in a time of 7:02 to cross the line in 4th place. Great effort, Emily, well done!
Helping out the Seniors Some of our juniors stepped up to help out the Seniors with their teams. Megan Noble and Millie Grayson joined forces with Senior, Sarah Guy to make up another DHAC team. They both ran excellent 2 lap legs to finish 6th out of 14 teams…..and for the Senior Men, Dan Boyer was anchor man for the 4 man team. He ran an exceptional 2 lap leg and managed to pull them back from 4th into 2nd which certainly impressed the rest of the team! We think they’ll want him back again, don’t you? Well done to all.