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25 October 2021

Trafford teams perform heroics at Graves Park - Northern XC Relays Report

On Saturday the Northern x-country relays took place at Graves Park, Sheffield.
First races were the U17W & M. Freya Griffiths ran a good 9.00 mins to finish 13th on first leg, a time only 30secs off the top 10 runners in the North. It was another improved run from Cleo Bentall on leg 2 as she clocked 10.02.
The U17M race was anticipated as being an exciting race with Trafford looking to push Britain's number one team Wirral. Leg one was a crucial leg with Wirral expected to get a big lead. Louie McCormack and Will Parker ran inspired legs to finish 7th and 11th but more importantly both were only 10 seconds behind Wirral 's A and B team respectively. Will Stanway then ran the perfect leg to move into 2nd place only 2 seconds down on Wirral. Joe Deighton maintained the same 10 sec gap in the race for 1st B team as Wirral and Trafford B teams moved to 5th and 6th overall. Last leg had James Knockton setting off just behind Wirral. James caught and passed Wirral and recorded the fastest time of the day. In the race for the first B team, Wirral managed to hold off Trafford's Ned Silvey. Special mention should go to Trafford's C team of Jack Haworth, Sonny Wilson and Charlie Atkiss, all have another year in the age group and already pushing for places in the B team. 
Next race was the U11B and after recently finishing 4th in the North West Road relays expectations were that a top 10 finish would have been a good result. With a change in order the same three lads excelled. Thomas Aron ran first leg and came back 2nd with the 2nd fastest leg of the day. Thomas's younger brother Matthew then held on to second with a great run, but Salford, Sale and Liverpool were all closelybehind going into the last leg. Thomas Daly was under intense pressure but looked strong on the hill and pushed hard all the way to the line to claim a surprise bronze medal. Daniel White running for the B team had his best race and with 3 out of 4 of these having another year in this age group prospects look good for next year. 
Next race was the U13G. The team were led off with a great run by Rachel Bowden and backed up by Semrawit Tekle and Ursula Bailey meant the team finished 14th only 30 seconds from the top 8. With Ava Evans and Sadie McCormack running well in the B team both are pushing for places in the A team. In the boys race Trafford were again up with the leaders from the start, Pio Aron finishing 2nd and recording the 5th fastest time of the day. Evan Lewis stepped up at the last minute and ran his best ever race not only holding 2nd place but extending the gap to third. This left Ben Keeley to consolidate the silver medal with the 4th fastest time of the day. With all 3 runners being 2nd fastest runners on their leg it shows the depth Trafford have. Even with 2 top runners missing from the B team Adrian White in his first year in the age group could have stepped up and the team would have still finished 2nd.
In the U15 event the girls, all first year in the age group, finished 14th. Led by Daisy Atkiss with the teams fastest time of 8.53, Sophie Bowman ran well to hold the position and Martha McCormack enjoyed the shorter course to push Daisy for the teams fastest time. In the B and C Teams, Rosa Morrell showed a big improvement but it was Ophelia Jones a 300m specialist who showed great stamina to record the third fastest time from the Trafford girls. In the boys race Freddie Meredith once again had Trafford in the medal hunt finishing 2nd on leg 1 with the 3rd fastest time of the day. Luke Carrington in a close race held on to third place, handing over to Charlie Stanway. At halfway there were 5 teams covering 20 seconds, Charlie showed his experience with 2nd fastest run on that leg to hold 3rd place. The B team again showed great strength in depth finishing 2nd B team only 39 seconds behind Liverpool. There were only 12 seconds between all 3 runners with Josh Watson leading the team, Matt Gardner with his first race for a while and Jay Hutchinson improving. All three will be pushing for A team places this winter. 
In the senior women's race race Vicki Cronin had the standout run with the 23rd fastest run overall, she was backed up by Ruth Beresford and mum Sue Exon finishing the team in 30th.
The Senior men must have been inspired by the boys who medalled in every age group. Finley Proffit had a breakthrough race as a senior finishing 2nd on leg 1 and 2nd fastest overall. Cynog Williams on leg 2 took Trafford into the lead only 2 weeks after finishing his 1st marathon. Alex Jones under pressure on 3rd leg ran his best ever x-country to hold the team in third place. Jack Wilkinson then had a great run with 6th fastest on his leg to hold off some fast finishing teams for 4th place.
Trafford are the first team in the 11 year history of these Championships to win team medals in all 4 male junior age groups (U11, U13, U15, U17) on the same day.

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