Juvenile National ‘B’ and Relay Cross Country, 24-Jan-2016, Dundalk

22The Striders Juveniles just can’t stop winning medals at the moment and even though competing at National level, today was no different, with a number of team and individual medals coming back home.

Big fields, lots of mud and a high level of competition was the order of the day. First up were our U11 Girls, who got us off to a great start. As always in these big races, Leona Berry got a quick start and was very strong all the way to the line. A top ten finish was good enough for Leona to win our first individual medal of the day. With a great team effort from Aisling Ryan, Ruby Murphy and Isabel Bawden, the girls were very close to winning a club medal also. The U11 Boys had to contend with a last minute withdrawal from one of their star performers, Caolan Costello, due to illness. Birthday boy Cosmo Hewlett ran the race of his life to finish in the top ten and collect a second individual medal for the Striders. Running along side clubmate Eoin Shannon for the majority of the race, Cosmo turned on the turbo boost in the second half and powered home. Eoin was equally impressive and was unfortunate not to win another individual medal. With Finn Kelly, Sean Lennon and Luca O’Connor also performing fantastically well, the team placed 5th in the club event.

At U13 level, Adam O’Connor was the sole Strider in the boys race. After hatching a race plan with coach Ted prior to the race, Adam made strong start, worked his way into the top ten and raced to yet another individual medal. This brings to an end a fabulous cross country season for Adam, who is in great shape43 for the upcoming track season. Illness deprived the Striders of one of their star performers, Clodagh Foran. However the remaining team, Eve Byrne, Louise Doyle and Erinn Shannon were superb and helped the Wexford county team to a bronze. The story of the race was Erinn slipping on one of the many muddy bends, getting spiked, but having the presence of mind to continue the race and the ability to work her way to an excellent finishing position.

Our final athletes in action, in the National ‘B’ races, were Aisling Power, Rebecca Bawden, Aaron Browne and Cian Flanagan, who put in great efforts to finish a handful of places outside the top ten. This was a fantastic result for all, who were a year out of their age group and finished strongly.

Following all that excitement, we still had the cross country county relay BU12 event to look forward to. Remarkably it was four Striders who were selected to run for Wexford and clearly they would have their work cut out, being a club team, competing against county teams. However this was no ordinary club team. Despite being out of his age group, Myles Hewlett ran a scorcher and handed over in a medal position. The ever dependable Owen Lennon, was sick all day Saturday, but still made the long journey to help his team and ran a great leg to keep momentum going. Leinster champion Aidan Shannon gobbled up ground on all his rivals to hand over to Darragh Flannelly who set off in third place, with a very slender margin over the Carlow team. For the second week in a row Darragh was rock solid, on the last leg of a relay event and brought the all Striders team to a comfortable third place finish.

Well done to all athletes who performed remarkably well at national level and all parents and supporters who made the long journey. A special thanks to David who travelled from the Enniscorthy branch of the Striders supporters club.

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