2022-2023 Gloucestershire Cross Country Season Report

08 March 2023

The 2022-2023 Gloucestershire Cross Country League has been one of the most competitive in a long time with all clubs bringing out incredibly strong teams, which makes it all the more impressive that Harriers have finished with 12 Golds, 9 Silvers and 5 Bronzes. 

Beginning with our youngest athletes, the U11s, Ivy Wightman sealed the Gold with 2 1st places and 2 2nds. Two Harriers made it onto this particular podium with Kimberley Hodgkinson scoring just two points more than her teammate to finish in equal 2nd. Elena Williams, Eliza Nolan and Avery Church finished in =6th, 10th and 16th respectively. The girls demonstrated impressive strength in depth winning Gold and Bronze in the team competition. Monty Wilkins led the U11 boys finishing in 5th, Wilkin’s best race of the season came at the final fixture where he flew to an impressive victory. Sam Unsworth and Lucas Oliveria also made the top 20 in 9th and 18th and consistent seasons earned Sebastian Piff 21st, Evan Lawler 23rd and Zachary Cherry 25th. Overall the U11 boys team secured Silver. 

The U13 girls podium was a Harriers wash out with Evie Avery winning Gold, Olivia Avery taking Siler and Martha Marsden finishing =3rd. Freya Braiden improved massively through the season from 25th to 4th earning her 9th place. With the help of other athletes through the season, such as Scarlett Eagland and Ellie Thomson the U13 girls won Gold in the team competition. 

Three Harriers on the podium seemed unbeatable but the U13 boys proved that isn’t the case with 4 Harriers earning medals. Patrick Paul led the way with Gold, it was Silver for Teddy Spurr and then Jack Pennell and Caleb Green shared Bronze. Oliver Wilson wasn’t far behind in 5th, meaning Harriers filled the top 5 spots!. Lucas Baker and Tobias Danaher’s commitment through the season earned them 19th and 24th. It’s unsurprising after a 1-5 at the first fixture, a 1-4 at the 3rd and a 1-2 at the remaining two fixtures that the U13 boys team won Gold with ease. 
(Photo: Our U13 boys 1-2-3-4-5 at the first fixture of the season)

After 3 2nd place finishes Maddie Thomson secured the U15 girls league Silver. Jessica Sheppard just missed out on a league medal in 4th, but a brilliant final round performance where she came in 1st suggests big things to come. 6 Harriers finished in the top 8 in this age group with Rosie Reynolds finishing 5th, Harriet Smith 6th, Amelie Paul 7th and Bluebell Heath-Smith 8th. The obvious strength within the team was further shown in the team event with the Girls winning Gold and Bronze, with help as well from Georgia Howell and Kate Mills. 

In the U15 boys competition Dom Martin came out on top having won two fixtures and finished 2nd in the third. Sam Wilson was close on his heels though finishing with just one point more after a last round win and two 2nd places from earlier in the season. Tom Wightman had a strong season to finish in 4th overall, Lucas West took 9th with Harry Knight in 10th and Edward Atkins in 11th. Not to be out done by the girls, the boys also won team Gold and Bronze with all the boys scoring for the team, showing every athlete is vital. 

One of the toughest age groups to compete in is the U17 Ladies, they have to make a huge step up in distance from the U15 race to compete directly against the seniors. The well earned league champion was Isobel Watt having won 3 fixtures, her most impressive performance of the season came in the final fixture where she not only won the fixture but also finished 13th female overall. Milly Foster and Isobel Burfitt also progressed through the season, running better and better each round to finish in 4th and 5th. The trio took the team win with the help of Abigail Thornley who competed in the 3rd fixture only. 

(Photo: U17 Ladies team celebrating team Gold)

Sadly the U20 Ladies were struck by injury this season but it's worth mentioning the strong performances of Kiya Dee and Tallulah Robin-Redmond. Both athletes competed in two fixtures each with Dee finishing 2nd both times and Robin-Redmond 6th and 2nd, lots more to come from both athletes through the summer!

The senior ladies competition proved to be the most competitive it had been in years with Bath Uni and Team Bath bringing high quality teams to all four fixtures. Ella Burfitt held her own though, showing she is not to be underestimated, best three finishes of 1st, 2nd and 3rd earned her the Silver medal overall. Adele Potts finished 8th senior and Jodie Hatton-Belliard was =15th. Jo Wilkie was 6th in the F40 category and there was a superb win for Clare Hawling in the F60 category thanks to 3 fixture wins. A hard fought season saw the Women's Open Team finish 4th just 5 points off the podium with the B team finishing in 8th. The Masters Women's team enjoyed a successful season and rounded it off with team Bronze.

In the Senior men's category Max Thompson led the way in 8th after progressing from 23rd to 11th to 8th at the final fixture. Matt Evans finished in 26th place rounding off a strong season from him and in the M40 age group James Wilkinson was 15th. Andy Gore finished 2nd in three fixtures earning him Silver in the M50 category with David Whitfield just off the podium in 4th and Steve Bradley in 8th. There was also a Silver for Heath Bampton in the M55 category and Michael Ede in the M65 category. Overall the Men’s Open team finished in 6th with the Masters team taking 5th.

(Photo: Senior mens and woman's team at the final fixture)