Five-star AFD take national circuit by stormBy Jon Couch
February 28, 2013
ALDERSHOT, Farnham & District continued their domination of the national cross country circuit with half of their 10 teams crowned English champions last weekend.
And there was individual success also for junior pair Emelia Gorecka and Ian Bailey, who took their respective titles just a week after triumphing in similarly heavy conditions at the South of England Championships.
Bailey's surge during the closing stages of the 10km course on Saturday took him away from the North of England's champion, Weynay Ghebresilaisie, who competed for Eritrea in the steeplechase at last year’s Olympics and here was competing for local club Sunderland Harriers.
Bailey finished 25 seconds ahead of Shaftesbury Barnet’s Michael Callegari, who came through for the silver medal. Toby Smith completed the top 10 while the second half of AFD’s team comprised Josh Grace in 12th and Ben Bradley in 18th.
Jess Andrews (fifth) and Emily Hosker-Thornhill (10th) provided the back-up to the junior women’s winner.
Gorecka was in the lead by the time the athletes were heading into the larger of the two laps that made up their 6km course, and ended the defence of her title 26 seconds clear of Spenborough's Jenny Walsh, who was eighth in December’s European championships.
Under-17 women’s runner-up was Grace Baker, who led AFD to victory in Saturday's opening event.
She finished five seconds behind Wakefield's Annabel Mason, who was fifth in Budapest, and three seconds before Alex Clay (Invicta East Kent), who finished 19th in the Hungarian capital.
Rebecca Howard, 20th, Carla Plowden-Roberts, 24th, and Beth Gibson, 25th, were the other members of AFD’s team.
Nathan Gibson's strong finish took him to the bronze medal in the U15 boys' race.
Fourth in the ‘southern’ – an improvement of 90 places on last year – he had only the North of England and Midlands champions in front of him at the finish.
Dan Evans of Warrington won by 12 seconds from Ben Dijkstra, of Leicester Coritanian, with the AFD lad a further 11 seconds down. Jack Boswell was 13th, Charlie Mills 23rd and Dan Rickards 37th for the club’s victory in the second event of the day.
AFD's final team victory came in the penultimate race on the programme, the senior women’s, where they were led by another strong finisher, Georgie Bruinvels, who reached sixth.
Lily Partridge was ninth, Emily Pidgeon 11th and Steph Twell closed the club’s quartet in 16th.
Third for the U15 and U13 girls meant AFD achieved medals in all the female team events.