Cross Country Report | Meet 6 – Newingtondeveloper
Last Saturday’s weekly Cross Country invitational was the first relay event of the season, a variation in format which always brings with it additional excitement and energy. Trinity, despite many absences due to sickness, injury and other reasons, managed to field eleven student teams and one staff team. Ours is a team as well as an individual sport, but the “teamness” is felt most keenly in our relay events. Therefore, what was particularly pleasing was that every single runner – apart from one late injury concern – turned up on time for his leg of the relay, meaning that no team suffered a last minute disqualification. The effort and positive support of team mates, however, was simply outstanding and demonstrative of the morale of the Cross Country fraternity. With all age groups running at the same time, watching runners who would normally be in one’s own race becomes possible and contributed to a great atmosphere. Our three top teams all performed outstandingly on the day: our top U14 team came 1st, our top U16 team 4th and our top Open team a resounding 1st in their category and 1st overall. This is not to mention our staff team, which received the honour of finishing both 1st and last; encouragement/competitive banter will be given to the other schools to give us competition for the next relay event!
We had six U14 teams, all of which ran admirably. Our top and winning team comprised of Angus R. (9AR), Michael S. (8ST), Jacob C. (7HI) and Kobe S. (8YO). It was encouraging to see Angus once more running for the green and white, heartening to see consistent training paying off with great middle legs for Michael and Jacob, and impressive to see Kobe’s blistering final leg in which he ensured a remarkable 12th overall for the team. Other highlights from this age group included three Trinity teams finishing next to each other, pushing each other to beat teams from other schools.
One of the more memorable highlights of the day was Gabriel S.’s (8LA) final leg of his team’s race. After having been passed the baton from his fast finishing teammate Archie C. (8WE), he proceeded to attempt to put some distance between him and a number of surrounding U14 rivals from Kings, Scots and Trinity itself. It was in the final 500m when it became clear to onlookers that the mini race had become a race between two teams – Kings and Trinity – and that the two final runners, gradually increasing in speed, were evenly matched. A hoard of thirty or forty Kings runners, seeing this finish play out next to them as they spectated or warmed down, decided to run alongside their team mate to encourage him. The result was an army of light blue Kings runners chasing Gabriel down the penultimate straight! To his great credit, Gabriel did not let himself get intimidated, but rather dug deep to and managed to hold off the pursuing mob!
Our top U16 team comprised of Ashwin S. (11HI), Ethan M. (9HO), Chris Q. (11DU) and Jaden L. (11HI), all of whom ran well to land the team one place short of a finishing medal in 4th place. It has been encouraging to see Ethan’s progress this season when he has been in health good enough to push himself. Chris is Mr Consistent of the Trinity Cross Country team, while Jaden, as always, finished with an impressive burst of speed.
We had three Open teams on the day, and all of them ran with heart to beat other rivals narrowly or handsomely. Our top team – made up of Joseph C. (11DU), James S. (12WJ), Jack W. (11KE) and Zachary P. (12HO) – was neck and neck with Shore after the first two legs – Joseph and James having started superbly – and Jack managed to gain such a large lead on the third leg that Zachary had only empty space to worry about behind him. Well done to all of these lads – all of whom are in the younger half of their age group – on a brilliant race. The other Open teams ran superbly too. Although it was disheartening for yours truly to be beaten fairly by Oliver W. (12FO) for the second year in a row on the final straight of the first leg, it was encouraging to see such a strong performance from our second top team, which included Oliver, Oscar M. (12SC), Regan C. (11HE) and Keelan S. (12HI). It was also great to see Benjamin M. (11WJ) run a good leg despite a number of recent niggles and witness the return of Rory C. (12YO) to Cross Country after sustaining an injury in Rugby.
Despite the vociferous protests of Mr Hirst, the staff team was content to not receive medals themselves for their victory. After solid runs by Mr Mugridge, Mr Hirst and Mr (Fynn) Ferdinands, Mr Currer was left to “mop up the mess” as he strode out to fly past an uncountable number of unsuspecting runners on the final lap. On a more serious note, it was good, as always, to put ourselves in the “shoes” of our students by running the same course – what’s more a very hilly and uneven one! – and once again appreciating the impressive effort they invest, pain they endure and satisfaction they receive in undertaking this sport.
Finally, I would like to express particular thanks to Mr Bruce Chapman, father of Regan, who took a large number of very high-quality photos from the top of the first (lethal!) hill and generously shared them with us (see some of them below). They help us to either remember or imagine a wonderful day of camaraderie and racing.
We look forward to the opportunity to be refreshed over the holiday break, maintaining regular runs to make the most of the solid base our runners have developed so far in the season. As it turns out, the first race of next term is the Trinity Relays, the 23rd edition of the event. It is always an energising and festive spectacle, and we look forward to the opportunity of hosting the other schools and facilitating competitive and enjoyable racing.
Phillip Mugridge | Cross Country Co-ordinator