BUAC Leagues Ahead

Updated: May 17

After a fruitful trip north to the Manchester Relays on the penultimate day of October, two weeks later brought the combined running of the Birmingham & District Invitation XC League, and Midland Women's XC League, generating another trip up the M6 for BUAC's intrepid cross country athletes.


The venue was Betley Court Farm, a lapped course that stretches the definition of Midlands to the limit, with the two mile loop of rolling hills tiptoeing its way along the Cheshire-Staffordshire Border.


In the women's fixture, Amelia Quirk took an effortless victory to lead home a women's team with five athletes in the overall top ten, extending her record in the league to an immaculate 3 wins from 3 appearances.

Quirk distancing herself from the field on the second lap
Tom Keen (694) and Charlie Davis (475)

In the men's match, cross country skipper Charlie Davis showed those under his captaincy exactly how it's meant to be done, taking fourth place overall to lead home a men's team that was head and shoulders above its competitors on the day.


Elsewhere, at the Milton Keynes Cross Challenge, there were some stellar results as both Liam Rawlings (18:01, 5.9K) and Charlotte Alexander (17:25, 4.9K) finished second in their respective U20 races, the former missing out on the win by only three seconds.


In the senior races, there were impressive finishes for Joe Hudson (8th) and Maisie Grice (16th), while another four athletes secured top 20 finishes in the U20 races.


Maisy Rose and Finley Proffitt had a pair of eighth places, with Freya Bennett 12th and Ed Blythman 15th.


Full results from the Cross Challenge can be found here.

 

Women's Race

Taking on two laps, it took approximately 500 metres for Amelia Quirk to put separation between herself and the other 339 athletes taking part in a busy start. From that point, the Bracknell athlete was only seen again by those behind her as she charged into the distance, a comfortable gun to tape victory seeing her take the win in 21:39, sixteen seconds ahead of Birmingham YTP athlete Amelia Samuels.

Quirk leading midway through the first lap

BUCS team medallist in 2020, Kirsty Walker, finished in 22:04 for the final podium position, before a swathe of BUAC athletes took four of the next five positions.


Saskia Millard and Emily Thompson had been in a pack with Samuels and Walker for a fair portion of the race, but found themselves slightly adrift on the line as they finished in fourth and fifth respectively, with times of 22:24 and 22:36.

L to R: Samuels, Thompson, Millard, Grace Carson

With four to score, the positioning of Kate Palfreeman-Watt as the next BUAC athlete across the line in 7th (23:04) gave a highly impressive team score of 17.

Palfreeman-Watt on the way to a top 10 finish

Elsa Palmer was the first non-scorer home, her 8th place giving BUAC half the athletes in the top ten on the day. Maya Todd McIntyre looked impressive as first fresher home, finishing close behind in 12th.

Todd McIntyre on her competitive BUAC debut

The next athletes in for BUAC were two guests, as Ellie Bull and Lucy Thornton finished in 27th and 28th for Reigate Priory and Lincoln Wellington, followed by another close pairing of Maddie Mastrolonardo and Laura Trask in 33rd and 34th.

Hopkins (L) and Higgins (R) tackle the second lap

Katie Hopkins was another top 50 Birmingham athlete in 43rd, while Lily Higgins, racing for home club Halesowen, followed her home in 48th.

Mundell enjoying her race

Committee member Tash Mundell finished 76th overall, with Siobhan Gregory also sneaking inside the top 100, with a placing of 94th.

White nearing the finish

Abigail White and Charlotte Waddington were the final BUAC athletes across the line, in 140th and 160th respectively, for a total of sixteen finishers, and a firm grasp on the women's team competition.


Full results from the Midland Women's League are not yet available.

 

Men's Race

James (481), Bridgeland (472), Bilyard (470)

With the course freshly churned up by the women's race, the combined 651 athletes of the three divisions of the Birmingham League took on three laps of the Betley course.


Whilst an early breakaway lead was established by a Birchfield Harriers duo, closely followed by Worcester's George Beardmore, a large chase pack formed on the first lap, with four Birmingham athletes in a group of around 15.


A further split occurred on the second lap, as some fell away, unable to maintain the early pace.


The three athletes who broke away early were the first to complete the course, with Birchfield Harrier Omar Ahmed taking the win in 29:05, followed by Kadar Omar and Beardmore.


With six to score for the BUAC team, the first across the line was Charlie Davis, placing fourth in 30:09. Shortly after, Tom Keen found himself sandwiched between two Leamington athletes for sixth place, and a time of 30:23.


Tomer Tarragano and newly Boise State-bound Ollie Newman were separated by just two seconds on the line, with Tarragano racing to 30:39 for eighth, and Newman 30:41 for ninth.


Rounding out the BUAC team were Welshman Morgan James, 14th overall and 13th in Division 1, and Zach Bridgeland in 15th (17th overall) for 31:06 and 31:23 respectively

The stellar packing of the lead athletes in red and gold meant a team score of 55, far and away the best team performance on the day, as the only club to have brought home even half of their athletes before the BUAC team finished was Birchfield.

de Jong on his final lap

Outside of the lead six, 1:50 800m man Tyler Bilyard pulled off a major disappearing act, as despite crossing in 26th position, his performance was nowhere to be found in the first issued set of race results.


Of those to be found in the results, Shreyas Kanyady put in a strong showing for 34th, in his first competitive race since October 2020. Next home was George Rowland, 53rd a convincing performance for the fresher.


Back with his home club of Cannock and Stafford, Bill Chesters was the 9th man home in Division 2, for 70th overall, closely followed by the tightly packed trio of Matt Clutterbuck (84th), Tom de Jong (89th), and Aidan Banfield (90th).


Just into triple figures, fresher Oliver Morgan placed 104th, the Basingstoke athlete followed home by Windsor's Ross van Heerde in 123rd.

Associate member Prince Laryea came home in 134th for Solihull and Small Heath, while the final trio of athletes to finish were Masters student Joshua Dowling (193rd), Bromsgrove & Redditch athlete Patrick Mackie (222nd), and fresher Michael Stevens in 265th, his debut at 10K cross country.


Full results from the Birmingham League can be found here.

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