The fourth fixture of the North West London cross country league took place in a water-logged Allianz Park in Hendon last Saturday. ESM came away with three top-three places, a second place for the U15 girls’ and U17 men’s teams, and third team places for the U13 boys and the U15 boys. The U15 girls are now just one point behind league leaders TVH, so there is all to play for in the final fixture.
U11s Fiona Coutts (20th) and Amy Kerry (46th) kicked off the meeting with on-par runs, just lacking a third scorer to close a team. There’s one more NWLL fixture to come on March 1st, and it would be great to see a few more under 11s in green and amber vests.
The U13 girls were better represented with a squad of five. Lucy O’Brien (8th) led them home in her first race for a while. She was followed by Maryam Hussain (13th), who put in arguably her best run of the season. Twenty seconds later, as a group of nine athletes crossed the line in rapid succession, Cameron Thomas (23rd) just grabbed the last scoring place from Anisa Ibrahim (26th) by two seconds, while team stalwart Sarah Freegard finished 35th.
The club’s U15 girls continued to score well, despite the absence of some regulars. The dependable Nicola Ravenhill got them off to a flying start, claiming another runner-up spot. The returning Roisin Lynch (9th) got ahead of Laura Stewart (10th) yet again, though by just one second this time. Jennie Connelly put in another rock-solid performance, achieving her highest placing in the league this season. It appears both Nicola and Laura struggled to keep their spikes on their feet this week, and Laura is making a habit of it! With next weekend’s Met League at the notoriously watery Wormwood Scrubs, Coach Graham French has duct tape on his shopping list.
Olivia Will was the sole representative in the U17 race, finishing fourth.
For the U11 boys, nine-year-old newcomer Masaki Kanai was first to cross the line (46th), followed by league regular Mikey Kouwiloyan (52nd). Maxi Steel (53rd) made a welcome first appearance, enabling the club to close a full team. In the U13 boys’ race, Masaki’s older brother Naoki was also the first ESM finisher, claiming fourth place just ahead of Lucas Sheehan. Kirk Lebdiri completed the squad in 27th.
John Fielding delivered another excellent performance, runner-up by just six seconds in the U15 boys’ race. In 10th, George Kerry ran to his usual good form, while Eliot Stewart (22nd) provided the vital third score which helped the team to third. Mukhtar Farah (3rd) and Conor McCarthy (10th) provided good individual performances, but were the only club representatives in the U17 men’s race. With other clubs in a similar position, however, the team finished second on the day.
U11G (1.2km): 20 F. Coutts 5.58; 46 A. Kerry 7:01; U13G (2km): 8 Lucy O’Brien 7:11; 13 Maryam Hussain 7:29; 23 Cameron Thomas 7:52; 26 Anisa Ibrahim 7:54; 35 Sarah Freegard 9:19; U15G (3km): 2 Nicola Ravenhill 12:07; 9 Roisin Lynch 13:17; 10 Laura Stewart 13:18; 16 Jennie Connelly 14:15; U17G (4km): 4 Olivia Will 15:55
U11B (2km): 46 Masaki Kanai 8:55; 52 Mikey Kouwiloyan 10:10; 53 Maxi Steel 10:23; U13B (3km): 4 Naoki Kanai 11:28; 5 Lucas Sheehan 11:45; 27 Kirk Lebdiri 15:41; U15B (4km): 2 John Fielding 13:28; 10 George Kerry 14:33; Eliot Stewart 17:05; U17M (4.7k): 3 Mukhtar Farah 18:20; 10 Conor McCarthy 20:47
Full results here.