The fourth race of Central Athletic Club’s 2021-22 Junior Cross-Country Series was held on Saturday 8 January on a course devised by David Eckersley around the playing fields at Balfron High School. The snow from the previous day had melted and the morning’s heavy rain showers had relented leaving fairly soggy underfoot conditions for the 27 youngsters taking the approximate 1 mile challenge.
Scott Hill was always at the head of the pack and won comfortably in 5 minutes 50 seconds to again lead home the Under-15 Boys group while Conall Paterson (6:17) had an improved run to take second place in this category. Joel Gillan (6:13) had another impressive run to win the Under-13 Boys age group and here he was followed home by Fraser Kingsley (6:52) who recovered well from a fall on one of the tighter parts of the course. Luca Shepherd (6:58) again proved his potential with another top performance as he led in the Under-11 Boys from a strong run by Alfie Laing (7:30) with Matthew Owen (7:32) only a few strides behind. Zachary Walker (8:11) and Austin Evans (8:17) completed the Under-11 Boys group with further gutsy efforts.
Under-15 Girl Niamh McKinley (6:13) was always well up in the overall race as she again headed in the Girls having run convincingly throughout. There were further top performances in the Under-15 Girls from Leah Brown (6:25) and Loren Stewart (6:29) and more solid efforts from Robyn McKerracher (6:48) and Robyn Youens (7:15). Scarlett Roy (6:19) stood out in the Under-17 Girls age group with another ‘can do’ performance while Rachel Warden (6:30) should be pleased with her improved run. There was a good turnout of Under-13 Girls and here Emily Stanford’s 6:26 effort prevailed from series leader Fia Watkin (6:29). Ciara Middleton (6:51) ran confidently throughout and led in further positive efforts from Orla Pieroway (7:04), Anna Gunn (7:20) and Katherine Mitchell (7:39). This time around it was Zoe Beaton (7:47) who just pipped Emily Watkin, also 7:47, in the Under-11 Girls with another good run from Jessica Walker (8:03). Under-11 Girl Iona Clark found this to be a tough test but finished with a great sprint and a smile. Hannah Inman was again the only Under-9 Girl but her 7:10 effort proves her potential for the future.
Thanks are again due to the volunteers who helped with setting the course, warm-up, recording and marshalling to make this another successful event with special mention of David Eckersley and Gordon Bell for their efforts of setting the course in the rain.