Bridie Lebdiri reflects on the opening match of the season:
During the past few weeks, we have had quite a few team talks at the clubhouse, with the aim of getting our young athletes and their parents/carers to understand the importance of turning out to represent the club. We have spoken about putting ESM AC first sometimes, when there is a clash with other team sports.
Mixing sports has a huge benefit to young athletes but being equally supportive of different clubs is necessary. Coaches give up much of their spare time and all we ask is for athletes to support the club at competitions.
We are also striving to develop squad-type training sessions; to train with endurance coaches during the winter months, athletes have to commit to at least four races. This will hopefully drive the team spirit and result in some prizes at the end of the season.
That said, we were happy with Saturday’s turnout, despite two of our U13 girls being ill and having to withdraw on the day.
Our U11s got the day off to a flying start. The Densley Dynasty is in safe hands, with grandson Sammy running a very happy and effortless race, finishing fourth out of a field of 37. Mika Stripp also finished very high up in 11th place. With Elliot Edgar and Inian Dhandapani 19th and 20th, plus Oscar Harrison in 21st, the team finished a fantastic second out of 11 teams.
For the girls, Minnie Lane and Diya Siyani enjoyed their first taste of cross country.
In the U13 age group, the boys again were very impressive, finishing third out of 13 teams. Isaac Mezey (younger brother of Jonah) has just recently started training with us. Having impressed in training, it was no surprise to me, seeing him up there with the front runners. Isaac finished fifth out of a very strong field of 44. Alec Edgar struggled with his breathing but did well to finish in 14th. Kian Jordan made a welcome return to training last week and he and Kevin Prempeh finished 21st and 30th respectively.
For the U13 girls, as mentioned, we unfortunately had two athletes withdraw with illness on the day. Mia de Vivenot was first home in 24th place, backed up by Reya Siyani and Isabela Dussaillant. Mia then headed down to help out with the Ealing Mini Mile and ended up running the course, to help guide a young athlete who arrived late.
We had four athletes in the U15 boys’ race: Arun, Jonah, Thomas and Hussein. The pace was fast and they did well to maintain their places throughout the race, with Arun and Jonah stronger over the second half. Arun and Jonah were our highest scorers in 21st and 24th place. Well done to Hussein, who completed the mini mile later that day!
For the girls, Lucy Henson always gives it her all and Saturday was no different. In the joint boys’/girls’ race Lucy charged to the front and, for the first few hundred metres was battling it out with the top boys! She eventually finished a respectable fourth and her answer to going off quick, was “well you have to get used to it”. It was a big step up in age group for Sonia Ouzhene; in her first 4km race, she ran a steady pace and was still smiling at the end. Unfortunately, Olivia twisted her ankle and had to retire on the last lap.
U17 Severyn celebrated his 16th birthday in style. He led from gun to tape and finished 20 seconds ahead of the London Heathside athlete. Thomas Edgar finished a creditable 14th, having only recently returned to full training.
In the girls’ race, Lauren Beale was our only athlete and she coped well over 5k, in what is her first year as an U17. We hope to have the other girls out for the next race.
Thanks to Clerk of the Course Phil York, and the whole team of officials and volunteers.
ESM results summary:
Boys: 4 Sam Gibson 7:16, 11 Mika Stripp 7:34, 18 Elliot Edgar 8:02, 19 Inian Dhandapani 8:03, 21 Oscar Harrison 8:09
Girls: 31 Diya Siyani 10:03, 32 Minnie Lane 10:09
Boys: 5 Isaac Mezey 9:32, 14 Alec Edgar 10:00, 21 Kian Jordan 10:20, 30 Kevin Prempeh 10:46
Girls: 24 Mia De Vivenot 11:11, 42 Reha Siyani 12:22, 52 Isabela Dussaillant 13:18
Boys: 21 Arun Smith 14:32, 24 Jonah Mezey 14:43, 33 Thomas Baz 15:33, 36 Hussein Zaaiter 16:03
Girls: 4 Lucy Henson 14:53, 39 Sonia Ouzhene 17:40
Men: 1 Seweryn Czapka 14:47, 14 Thomas Edgar 17:00
Women: 12 Lauren Beale 22:20