The Kent Cross Country League returned on Saturday, with the first race of the season held at Foots Cray Meadows. In the Senior Men’s race, Medway & Maidstone AC had 26 runners competing, 12 of these in the top 50 and 18 runners in the top 100, showing great strength in depth. Following on from his strong showing in the Summer track and road season, Tewelde Menges led from start to finish, beating his nearest rivals by just under 30 seconds.
In the team competition, despite having 4 finishers in the first 12 (30 points), M&M failed to win the 4-to-score team position as Tonbridge AC had a superb team result taking the 2nd place through to 5th place (14 points). M&M still had a great result placing 2nd team out of 19 teams. Cambridge Harriers were 3rd (53 points). In the 12-to-score team competition, Tonbridge AC also took first place (171), with M&M again second (299), followed by Cambridge Harriers (473). Following Tewelde in the scoring team was Ben Tyler in 8th. He was closely followed by Jamie Walsh in 9th and Anthony Webb in 12th, who was also the 1st M40 athlete. To complete the 12-to-score team the top 4 were followed by Andrew Headley, making his M&M debut (13th); Daniel St Martin (28th); Tom Collins (30th); Owen Featherstone, with his best ever Kent League result (34th); Callum Featherstone (35th); Alex Donnelly (40th), Sean Barwick (42nd) and Richard Tomlinson (47th and 2nd M50). There was also notable performances from Jack Tyler (50th), returning to cross country after a 9-year absence and Bashiri Ryan (113th), who had also been away from the sport since 2017.
The U13 boys had a great turnout for their 3km race with Daniel Kershaw (sporting a cast on his wrist) leading the team home in 10th place (12:13). He was followed home by William Pratt in 18th (12:29), Harry Notley in 26th (13:04), Oliver Field in 27th (13:06), Jack Gregory in 34th (13:16), Logan Smith in 35th (13:17), Sebastian Smit in 46th (13:42) and Cameron Drake in 65th (16:34). The boys’ team of three finished fourth on the day.
A similar sized U15 boys’ team covered the slightly longer distance of 4km, they were led home by Freddie Gibson in 3rd (14:34), followed by Dillon Gregory in 24th (15:53), Connor Cousins in 27th (16:02), Louie Gear in 33rd place (16:19), Alfred Moisan in 49th (17:29), Declan Tighe in 53rd (17:41), Maxime Foissy in 57th (18:08) and Cameron Davis in 72nd on his cross country debut (24:31). The U15 boys three to score team took third place on the day.
There were 3 competitors in the U17 men’s race running over 5000m. Henry Gibson 14th (19.53) was the first across the line for M&M, followed by Ethan Rollings 25th (21.10) and Dominic Wright 37th (26.00). The team finished in 5th place.
There were only 2 U13s girls for this first meeting. Gwen Thomas came through well to finish in 28th (14.40) and Chloe Orridge in 44th (16.41).
The U15 girls saw Sofia Cudmore-Smith run strongly finishing in 7th place (17:33) followed in by teammates Olivia Baker 25th (19.18) and Amelie Guthrie (21.09) to complete the 3 to score team. Matilda Moisan finished in 40th (21.48). The team currently standing in 5th position.
The U17 women were 2nd team overall. A strong performance by Beth Palmer in 4th (22.31), followed by teammates Iris Crossley 7th (22.50) and Abigail Hawkes 13th (23.37). Heidi Hughes 15th (23.45) and Naveen Deo 16th (24.15), in her first race, finishing well.
The U20s women racing over the same distance of 5000m as the U17s, had a strong start to the season. Ella Webb 3rd (21.15), Abigail Royden (21.27) (4th) and Lola Sutton (6th) (22.17 ) leaving the team in 2nd place. Lily Crossley 8th (22.24) and Ingrid Linn running well in 13th (24.29), Sharne Elphick 14th (26.48th) and Ciara Harrop 15th (27.50).
The Senior Ladies saw Karen Cudmore 31st (38.59), Taryne MacPherson 34th (39.26)and Vanessa Vander 58th (42.58), Catherine Rodwell (47.31) 117th and Sarah Kenyon 134th (50.46). The 3 to score team currently in 10th position.
The next Kent match takes place on Saturday 28th October in Tonbridge.