Action Photos
Sherborne Girls Minors vs  Dorset Schools Championships
On: Thursday, 16 Jan 2020
Venue: Away

Today is the day...the Dorset County Championships and the beginning of the journey to the pinnacle of schools XC, the ESAA English Schools, this year to be held in Liverpool in March.

A day when we hope and dream that all the previous training and preparations pay off, and the selected girls from the endurance squad are able to pull off fine performances, and gain a Dorset representative vest. This is a tough task, with schools already asked to select their six best in an age group, and then the actual race, with up to 150 runners at the start for the junior girls.

To say the weather forecast was bad could be seen as an understatement, the remnants of Storm Brendan perhaps? We were prepared though, dry robes for all, flasks of hot chocolate and complete changes of clothes in the hope we were ready for anything the day could throw at us.

Despite driving through the expected rain, acres of flooded fields and low cloud shrouding the stunning Dorset Countryside we were were pleasantly surprised to arrive at Kings Park in the dry!

Being so close to the coast, and with sandy soil, the course was remarkably good with very few muddy patches and puddles. It is a great test, flat fast playing fields combined with a steady prolonged uphill through the woods concluding again on level ground in sight of the stadium. This will also be the venue for the South West Schools in a few weeks time. For many of our runners this was a very familiar route and the ritual of walking the course gave them an opportunity to blow away a few cobwebs and stretch legs after the journey.

The rain started to fall as the start became imminent, fortunately it was light and although windy, not as strong and gusty as expected. We were extremely fortunate that coach Ian had arrived on site early and pitched the tent as our team base, on loan from WAC, thank you!

First up were the minor girls, the youngest runners and this included our Westies, competing in their first championships. With plenty of apprehension and nervous energy they set off with approx 150 others on the 2.4 km course, Amelie leading the way followed by Winnie and Liberty. All three girls show real promise for the future.....keep training hard.

The junior girls’ route incorporated an extra loop, a distance of 3km. We had seven runners in an SG vest on the start line, only Birdie and Alice with previous experience.

Birdie harbouring a nasty temperature and virus, put in the race of the day, showing real grit and determination despite feeling rotten, finishing in the top 10. With Georgia in 7th and Annabel in 10th we are hoping all three will be selected into the Dorset team for the South West Schools in February.

For us, the final race of the day was the Inter Girls, a distance of 3.9km. Most were familiar with the course, and keen to put themselves into a top finishing position, with the incentive of subsequent selection possibilities. WAC team mate Emily Shaw, led from the start, showing her class, currently with two England vests she didn’t get challenged. There was a real battle, however, for the remaining podium places, three class runners with English Schools’ experience vying for two places. To our delight Marianna, looking in great shape, had arguably her best performance in this competition taking the 3rd place, with team mates Hebe 9th, Emily 10th, Sophie 12th and Selene 16th. With so many in great finishing positions, we will await the results with interest to see how many gain selection to represent Dorset.

Well done to all the endurance squad who competed today they demonstrated real determination, mental toughness and commitment. We will await the results with anticipation. Great job girls!