Scotland East and Scotland West took gold and silver medals in the U17 Women’s race at Loughborough (photo by Neil Renton)
Weather conditions at the Inter-Counties XC and final British Cross Challenge event of the season at Loughborough was dry with occasional bright intervals – making a welcome change from recent championship events.
And the bright performances, in Scottish terms, came mainly in the women’s division.
Undoubted star of the show was Megan Keith, wearing the red vest of the North of Scotland.
Once again, Megan coped effortlessly with the thick, cloying mud to win the U20 Women’s championship by an impressive 36 seconds.
Cera Gemmell took fourth place and with Rhona Mowat (West) and Sarah Tait (East) sixth and eighth respectively showed excellent Scottish strength in depth.
‘The race actually did not unfold as I planned,’ said Megan, who is coached by Ross Cairns.
‘I wanted more girls to come with me at the start but, as it was, I went out at a fair pace, realised I was on my own and then had a long grind to the end. But it was nice that it didn’t come down to a sprint finish.
‘I’ve never raced here before or in the Inter-Counties XC and was really just hoping to get myself in the hunt for a good position. As it is, I have surpassed all expectations.’
Unfortunately, late withdrawals ensured no Scottish District could field a team of four athletes.
It was different in the U17 Women’s race, however, as superb performances saw Scotland East take the team golds as Scotland West landed well-deserved silver for a fine one-two.
The top individual performance was Anna Hedley in fourth with the West’s Hannah Anderson in seventh and the East’s Pippa Carcas one place behind in eighth.
In the Senior Women’s race Michelle Sandison was the first Scot home in 26th place with the West team finishing sixth.
Hannah Ryding of Scotland West took a fine second place in the U15 Girls race.
Overall it was a disappointing day for the Men’s team – although Jonny Glen had a fine run for the West to take seventh place in the Senior Men’s race and, subject to confirmation, take second place in the scottishathletics XC Grand Prix.
With four athletes in the top 27, Scotland East took bronze medals in the U15 race from Suffolk and Surrey.
Late call-offs reduced the West U17 Men’s team to three athletes with Harry McGill the top Scottish performer in 18th.
In the U20 Men’s race, Scotland East finished in ninth with Christian Graham the best performer at 27th.
With thanks to John Rodger