Farewell to the track as country campaign kicks off

The start of the U11 cross country, including BWF's Felicity Barnes,  Bethany Whipp, Ellise Balshaw and Grace Blincacow
The start of the U11 cross country, including BWF's Felicity Barnes, Bethany Whipp, Ellise Balshaw and Grace Blincacow
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It was a busy weekend for Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde AC, with the first fixture of the cross country season and final outdoor track and field meeting of the year.

Cross country is associated with wet and cold conditions, but it was warm and dry at the beautiful Astley Park in Chorley.

Yazz Abdali and Hannah Maskill in the U17 200m

Yazz Abdali and Hannah Maskill in the U17 200m

The course was a true cross country test, with woodland, water features, stiff climbs and areas of mud.

The Under- 11 races were over 1.6k, and for the first time there was a team aspect to these races.

Felicity Barnes was an excellent second with 6:13, with Bethany Whipp ninth in 6:44 and Grace Blinacow 26th in 7:20 as the team finished second.

Also running were eight-year-old Holly Tickle, 48th in 8:10, and Ellise Balshaw, 51st in 8:20. In the U11 boys’ race, Jonny Goodacre had problems with his shoes and was 52nd in 10:35.

Ben Preddy leads the final climb in the U15 cross country

Ben Preddy leads the final climb in the U15 cross country

Caitlyn Preddy had a very good run for third place with 10:54 over the 2.5k course, with Lucy Tickle 14th in 11:35 and Natalia Luczak 18th in 11:47 and this team also finished second.

The U13 boys and U15 girls’ races were run together over a 3k course. In the U13 race, James Smith ran well to finish fourth in 12:28 with Bruno Eaves 22nd in 14:10 and Lewis Weaver 26th in 14:27. The team were fourth.

The first three teams, Preston Harriers, BWFAC and Blackburn Harriers in the U15 race all finished on 15 points, the order being decided by the position of the third counter.

BWF finished second, with Danielle Whipp in third place with 13:28, Jessica Jackson sixth in 14:16, Kate Jenkinson 10th in 14:45, Taylor Holland 20th in 16:00 and Jessica Mangnall 14th in 15:26.

Ben Preddy had a battle with Kristian Wade of Leigh Harriers in the U15 boys’ race over a 4k course, finishing first by one second in 14:58.

George Robinson was 10th and Jack Tickle 17th in 17:15 to bring the team home in second place, behind Liverpool, Pembroke & Sefton Harriers.

The Blackpool Open track meeting took place at Stanley Park the following day, when Bruno Eaves, Jessica Jackson, Taylor Holland and Natalia Luczak had changed their cross country spikes for track ones.

Bruno won the 800m in 2:42.6 and was fifth in the high jump with 1.25m.

Despite the hot, conditions Jessica won the 1500m in 5:19.3 and recorded a long jump personal best of 3.96m.

Taylor Holland was sixth in the long jump with 4.17m, fourth in the 300m with 48.4 and second in the high jump with 1.40m.

First year U13 Natalia Luczak scored an impressive pb of 4.12m to win bronze in the long jump and equalled her high jump pb with 1.20m.

One of the most impressive performances of the meeting was by U13 Jasmine Carey, who posted an excellent 2:39.4 in her first competitive 800m and later had three pbs, winning the high jump with 1.37m.

Other good U13 performances came from Poppy Hughes, who was third in the high jump with 1.20m, Ellie Owen, fourth in the 100m with a pb 14.6 and a 3.98m pb in the long jump, and Charlotte Jones, who went up age category to win silver in the U15 discus with a pb of 16.26m.

Also in the U15 girls’, Faith Wood won bronze in both the 100m and 200m with 13.7 and 29.8 respectively. Olivia Hanby won her 100m heat with 14.2, and Lucy Ball won bronze in the discus with 14.61m.

The best U15 boys’ performance came from Bradley Parson, who was fourth in the 100m with 13.0 and third in the 200m with 28.8.

In the U17 javelin, Louis Walker took gold with 48.84, Hannah Maskill silver with 28.9 and Yass Abdalibronze with 32.2.

In the youngest age a category, Zachariah Carter won U9 long jump silver with 3.08m and was third in his 80m heat with 13.7. Honey Harrison won bronze in the 80m with 14.1.