The Central AC Cross Country Championships were held on an extended and more testing course at Queen Victoria School, Dunblane on Saturday 16 February. As in 2018, the excellent weather didn’t completely compensate for the challenging hills and burn crossings.
The Under-11 boys and girls raced together over a 1.33 mile course with all 28 children showing tremendous enthusiasm and resolve. Ray Taylor has been to the fore all season and here showed great form to win in 9 minutes 5 seconds with Lewis Henry (9.41) and Tyler Gibson (9.42) battling well to take silver and bronze medals. Scott Cram (9.54) looked comfortable as he led home Finlay MacGregor (9.56), Fergus Young (10.02), Lewis Cook (10.08) and Rory MacKay (10.14). Gavin Young (10.25) was also to the fore ahead of Max Duncan (10.39), Logan Bell (11.09), Connall Paterson (11.30), Sandy Bateman (11.35), Oliver Brunner (11.44) and Lewis Cunkenbeard (11.51). Callum Whyte (12.00) was another to show true resolve as did Cameron Moore (13.15) and Nathan McKay (15.10). There were two Under-9 Boys competing with both Rocco Cram (10.21) and Gabriel Mullen (14.01) proving they have what it takes to make an impression.
The Under-11 Girls saw Leya Gibb take the trophy with an assured run, clocking 9.53. Dara Clark (10.30) came home well to lift the silver medal while Fia Watkin (11.12) came through for bronze ahead of determined running from Ciara Middleton (11.16), Isla Henry (11.19) and Iona Griffen (11.34). It was good to see Arianne McKay and Hannah Whelan supporting each other to the end with both girls recording 15.03.
The Under-13 race was held over a 1.75 mile course and once again Connor Bell (10.52) showed great form throughout to take the win with Aaron Middleton (11.46) picking up a deserved silver ahead of a strong 12.02 clocking from Joshua Kennedy for bronze. Sam Gardener (12.32), Owen Eckersley (13.18), Cian McDonnell (14.29), Edward Boyd (14.35), Michael Arestis (15.57) and Scott Hill (16.37) all came home well overcoming this tough test.
Melissa Turnbull (12.18) showed her quality to repeat her gold medal victory from 2018 in the Under-13 Girls with strong opposition from medallists Carys Gibb (12.36) and Catriona Kane (12.40). Mirren Henry (12.48) was a close-up fourth ahead of further good runs from Leona Melville (12.55), Tara Mathewson (13.55), Scarlett Roy (14.40) and Leah Brown (14.41).
The third race, over a two lap course of 2.67miles, saw the Under-15 Boys and Girls run with the Under-20 Women. Finlay Muir produced another good performance (16.47) to defend his Under-15 Boys title holding off another fine run from Ryan McGuire (17.11). Central trialist Sam Grivell (19.02) also ran well while Ethan Thomson (19.10) picked up the bronze medal ahead of Ross Lawrie (21.19) and Enrique Mendez (21.32). Grace Tindall’s convincing 19.20 performance saw her carry off the Under-15 Girls trophy while another good performance from Summer MacLean (20.00) took silver ahead of the improving Heidi Eik-Maxwell’s 23.06 effort for bronze. Under-20s Rebecca Craig and Lauren McCulloch have been to the fore all season and here produced further assured runs to finish first and second respectively in 17.28 and 17.51.
The Under-17 Men ran with the Senior Men and Veteran Men over 4 miles with a further set of quality runs throughout. Veteran runners David Eckersley and Alex Milne rolled back the years as they vied for the lead throughout with David (26.34) just taking victory from Alex (26.35) in the final frantic sprint. Iain Dunsmore was a worthy bronze medallist with his 28.15 effort. Hugh Buchanan (28.47) should have been pleased with his performance heading further strong runs from Jens Subke (29.09), Donald Shaw (29.47), Colin Sinclair (32.55), Alan Gall (33.09) and Cameron Campbell (33.23). It was good to see Ben Noad take home the Senior Trophy with a more than worthy 29.29 effort.