The ladies of North Down AC further cemented their position at the top of the ANI cross country league with a solid team performance at the International Cross Country, staged at Greenmount College. With the team not at full strength and Rachel Gibson suffering a little from the latest head cold circulating, this result shows the depth of the ladies squad.
Amongst the other races on show the club had some great performances in the age groups and primary school races. Naomi Dunne improved her position in the final stages of her race as she finished in 16th. In the boys race Ollie Playfair went even better at the head of the pack when he finished in 5th place and Harris Massey was comfortably inside the top 20 with a solid 18th placing.
Lucy Cheatley was our first runner of the day in the girls U13 race where she finished in 41st. In the boys equivalent Jamie Gaw finished in a remarkable 29th after negotiating the Greenmount mud in his trainers, surely at least a handful of places improvement will be secured when he gets his spikes.
In the girls U15 event the girls packed well finishing in 20th – Tara McDonough, 23rd – Megan Briggs and 31st – Bryanna Catney. Adam Skelly was our only runner in the boys U15 and raced well to finish in 24th.
In the combined girls U17/20 race Rio Catney was first club runner home in 37th as she represented Ni & Ulster as an U20 runner. The U17 team of Murphy Miller, Jessica Scott, Caitlyn Turner and Alisha Turner claimed a team bronze medal as the they finished 50th, 55th, 57th and 61st.
The men’s combined U17/20 saw the U17 team claim 5th spot in the team list, not a bad result given the quality of runners on show. Jakob Swann continued his return to fitness with a healthy 69th placing. The remainder of the team finished closely with James McCaughey 82nd, Cameron Jenkins 83rd and Jack Logan 84th. The only entrant in the U20 was Craig McMeechan who was also representing NI & Ulster and who traded places with the leaders in the first couple of the three laps. Eventually he settled for 6th place and first NI runner home which guaranteed him a 3rd place finish in the British Cross Challenge.
Our ladies then showed their talents off as they mixed it with the internationals. Katie Moore made it home in her NI & Ulster vest in 28th, which was 2nd NI counter, followed by Sarah Lindsay running well to take 33rd and Jodi Smith not far behind in 37th.
An out of sorts Rachel Gibson was next in 38th which secured the team race for the ladies. Valerie McDonough led the next trio of ladies as she crossed the line in 61st followed by team captain Helen Byers in 67th and Jane Stevenson, 70th. Caroline Crothers 84th, Sandra Hall 113th, Elaine McDonnell 114th and Claire McGready 131st contributed the remaining points to the ND team.
Such was the quality in the men’s race that our top finisher, Francis Marsh, was 57th and 3rd O50. Eamonn O’Reilly followed in 85th after coming through the pack and David Massey wasn’t at his best but still managed a top 100, 98th. Our next 4 athletes were fairly well grouped, Philip Mulligan 117th, Scott Nelson 119th, Alan Massey 123rd and Steven Donegan 128th. Colin Walker 137th, John McGarvey 144th and Mitchell Brown 150th all finished within one minute of each other as Cliff McCausland completed in 180th, Gordon Matchett 182nd and Allen Cox 186th.