2022 Cross Country Season Review
30 March 2022
After the previous cross country season was cancelled due to the pandemic athletes were eager to get back competing in the mud and it ended up producing one of the clubs most successful seasons. With 11 individual medals and 13 team medals being won in the Gloucestershire League, 18 individual medals and 15 team medals at the Gloucestershire County Championships, 2 South West Championships medals, 1 English Championship medal, 1 English Schools Championship medal and 1 athlete running for England.
The season began back in November with the first round of the highest quality cross country league, known as the Cross Challenge Series, held in Cardiff. The race proved to be a stepping stone towards a brilliant season for Kiya Dee and Kaitlyn Sheppard. Dee came 10th in the European Cross Country Trials in Liverpool earning her the chance to run for England at the Home Countries International in Belfast where she ran brilliantly to finish 3rd U17. She won County and South West U17 gold, won an amazing U17 bronze at the National Championships. In league events she took U17 gold in the Gloucestershire Cross Country League and an impressive bronze in the Cross Challenge series.
Sheppard had a similarly impressive season winning County gold, South West silver and completing the season with her best performance, a bronze in the English Schools Championships.
(Photo: Kaitlyn Sheppard receiving English Schools bronze and Kiya Dee on her way to National bronze)
With so many athletes competing through the season there are plenty more performances worth shouting about.
U13 Maddie Thomson won the two Gloucestershire League events she competed in giving her the overall league title. She also won County gold, South West Schools bronze and came in the top 30 in both the Intercounties and English Schools competitions.
(Photo: Maddie Thomson with her league individual and team gold medals)
Fellow U13 Patrick Paul impressed with South West Schools gold, County silver, a fantastic 4th at the National Primary Schools Cross Country and 32nd at the Intercounties.
Ella Burfit competed only three times all season and in doing so wrapped up the SW Gloucestershire League title and finished 46th at the BUCS Cross Country Championships.
Sam Wilson and Dominic Martin were almost inseparable all season; Sam took County silver to Dominic's bronze but the league saw Dominic come on top with overall silver.
The Gloucestershire League, although shortened to just three events, demonstrated huge dominance for the club, with an array of individual and team medals, as can be seen in the table below.
Maddie Thomson (U13)
Kiya Dee (U17)
Jamie Bell (U20)
Ella Burfitt (SW)
Martha Marsden (U11)
Patrick Paul (U13)
Dominic Martin (U15)
Bexley Turbard (U17)
Andy Gore (M50)
Olivia Avery (U13)
Harriet Smith (U15)
Masters W A
(Photo: Part of the U13 girls teams receiving their league gold and bronze medals)
In the Midland Women’s Cross Country League, despite a rocky start in fixture one, the club rebounded well. It was brilliant to see Kaitlyn Sheppard, Brittany Crombie, Holly Derrick and Jane Fairbairn make their league debuts and score so highly for the team.
Similarly, in the Birmingham Cross Country League , despite being relegated to division 2 for next season, the men actually produced some impressive results. Chris Wagstaff finished in 37th, his first time making the top 50, the ever reliable Andy Gore put together three brilliant performances, there were also league debuts from Harrison Miles, George Sheppard, Sam Gilder, Rupert Denny, Rhys Pippard and Ross Swain.
The Gloucestershire County Championships saw 3 golds (Maddie Thomson U13, Kiya Dee U17 and Kaitlyn Sheppard U20), 7 silvers (Rachel See SW, Eleanor Thomson U11, Michael Ede M65, Vickie Wilkinson L45, Ciara Thornley U17, Sam Wilson U15 and Dan Minors M50) and 8 bronzes (Chris Wagstaff SM, Jamie Bell U20, Dom Martin U15, Jack Pennell U13, Chloe Sheppard U17, Petra Vymetalova L35, Nicola Whiteman L40 and Martha Marsden U11). The club's strength in depth saw them also take home 7 team golds, 3 team silvers and 5 team bronzes!
The club also had a good showing at the South West Championships as well as Kiya Dee’s gold and Kaitlyn Sheppard’s silver, Patrick Paul was 5th in the U13B race and Dominic Martin (U15) and Ciara Thornley (U17) were both 6th. Only two athletes competed in the Midland Championships but they both had good runs with Scarlett Eagland finishing an impressive 10th in the U13Gs race and Rachel See finishing 25th in the Senior Women's race. At the British University Championships out three competitors finished within 40 seconds of one another with Ella Burfitt coming 46th, Georgia Palmer 51st and Rachel See 63rd.
At the English Champs Kiya Dee’s brilliant bronze was backed up by a 21st place finish by Kaitlyn Sheppard in the U20 race and strong runs in the Senior Men’s race by Harrison Miles (975th), Matt Evans (1232nd) and Roman Tibbs (1403rd). The Schools equivalent it was Sheppard’s turn on the podium with a fantastic 3rd place, with Dee running well for 8th. In total 14 Harriers competed for Gloucestershire and 4 made the top 40, thanks to impressive event debuts by Maddie Thomson (24th) and Sam Wilson (17th).
There was also much to celebrate at the National Primary Schools Cross Country Championships; Patrick Paul finished an impressive 4th in the Year 7 boys race, Olivia Avery was 12th in the Year 7 girls race and Eleanor Thomson was 10th in the Year 6 girls race. In total 19 Harriers were selected to compete for their county, 8 finished in the top 30 and all 19 finished within the top 100!.
The biggest race of the season, the Intercounties Cross country Championships, features teams of athletes from every county across the UK, making it a fiercely competitive race. 23 athletes were selected to compete for Gloucestershire with Kiya Dee placing highest in 8th in the U17W race. Kaitlyn Sheppard was 10th in the U20W race, Maddie Thomson was 21st in the U13W race with fellow Harrier Olivia Avery in 90th, Patrick Paul was 32nd in the U13M race and Jamie Bell was the final Harrier inside the top 100 in 73rd in the U20M race.