Report from Croy Thomson

Photos courtesy of David Chong and Dudley walker

“The weather was foggy and the ground was boggy, but our athletes ran with style over every hilly mile, until their wee legs went groggy.” – Not Robert Burns.

Giffnock juniors were out in force for their schools last weekend at the National Schools Cross Country Championships, hosted this year in the unfamiliar fields beside Dean Community High School, Livingston.

First up were the youngest girls and catching the eye were Zoe Flower for Hutchesons, in sixth, to lead her team to silver behind Ecole d’Haute de Glasgow, Isla Ward 10th and Eva Chong 32nd. Also overcoming a tough course were Mary Rose Cairns and Grace Studham. The equivalent boys’ race saw Joe McKay, Hugh Shiels, Joe Davison and Michael Moynihan brought St Ninians home in fourth. Also fighting hard over a course that was churning up splendidly into chocolate mousse were Williamwood’s Charlie Tomkinson and Craig Cameron.

In the C Races, we had girls galore blazing by in a rainbow of different colours, but your highly trained observers were proud to note Kate Richardson in a strong sixth for Eastwood, followed brilliantly by Francesca Davidson, Helen Chong and Jill Carswell (9th, 11th and 12th). Also in the thick of it (chocolate mousse varies in consistency: this was getting thicker with every passing race) were Emma Chamberlain, Niamh McWilliams, Leila Hickey-Fugaccia, Anna Young, Tara Garioch and Stella Cowey. Hutchie claimed a fine gold, while St Ninians landed another fourth.

The Boys C race featured Ethan Carolan who was looking good in the lead bunch until injury struck, but he battled on for Shawlands Academy to finish 15th in the spookily coincidental time of 15 minute and 15 seconds. Nicholas Duffy was also clocked, moving well over and through the goo.

If you imagine the Group B Girls’ race as a pencil, Giffnock names were at the sharp end. Heather Barnes put in her signature powerhouse effort to claim individual silver for Mearns Castle, and was followed closely by Lynn McKenna, Charlotte McKenna and Sofia Kirkpatrick in 5th, 6th and 8th. Clare Wallace, Emily Crusher, Zoe Coyne and Zoe Jamieson also put in commendable efforts, before Hutchie took silver and Eastwood High – after an anxious debate with officials, which involved clever use of Snapchat to prove who had what numbers – won bronze.

In contrast, in the Group B Boys event, Giffnock runners were few and far between (unless I’ve missed some – entirely possible), but Ben Shaw and Andrew Robertson typically fought hard before having to settle for 15th and 40th respectively in high-class company.

As the fog gathered eerily, the temperature dropped like an icicle from a sneezing snowman’s nose, and the gloopy ground gripped grimly on the ankles (who writes this stuff? Stephen King eat your heart out), the penultimate race brought a hard-earned silver for Erin Wallace, who outclassed everyone except a gloriously gliding Anna MacFadyen from Forres Academy. Danielle Kelly ran strongly for 14th  while Kirsty Griffiths and Megan Kane were to the fore for the Hutchie team who won bronze.

Bringing down the curtain were the oldest lads, in Group A. Andrew Love was first home over 5k, with Michael Lowrie, Nikolai Gajic – who took two falls but never submitted and typically got up again to fight on – Oliver Watson-Sweeney, Nicholas Boyle, Joe Lowrie, Harry Nimmo and Neil Anderson all in there too. Williamwood ended up 4th, Hutchesons 6th and St Ninian’s 7th. 

Thanks to organisers, officials, teachers, First Aiders, mums, dads, grandparents and other cheerers-on. Apologies to anyone I’ve left out (I know I’ve missed some – Eoghan O’Donnell, for one, fought a good fight but was forced to drop out so doesn’t appear on the results). Well done everyone and fingers crossed for those hoping to get the Scotland call-up.

Croy Thomson

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