Snow-Hit Brecon recovers as Welsh Schools Pupils descend on Penlan in midweek championships! Print
Written by Nathan Jones   
Wednesday, 07 March 2018 18:49


For the 56th time, Welsh Schools hosted it's national cross country championships at the Penlan Playing fields in Brecon, for the seventeenth consecutive year on Wednesday 7th March 2018. Not only medals were awarded to the winners, there were Welsh vest opportunities at stake for the under 15's to under 20's at Nottingham last this month.

Fe ddaeth Bencampwriaeth Traws Gwlad Ysgolion Cymru i Aberhonddu am y 17eg tro Dydd Mercher gyda lle yn nhim ysgolion Cymru ar gyfer cystadleuaeth SIAB yn Nottingham ar Fawrth 24ain, yn yfantol.

Having been hit hard with the wintry and adverse weather conditions 72 hours earlier in Mid Wales, the venue and the event was in doubt however with improving conditions hour by hour, the championships got the green light despite a last minute change to the course map to ensure the route was clear. A great view was available of the mountains covered in white in the distance.


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Eight districts were represented on the day: Afan Nedd Tawe, Cardiff & Vale, Dyfed, Eryri, Glamorgan Valleys, North East Wales, Powys and South East Wales. Each district had held qualifying selection races for the right to battle it out against other school pupils across Wales. Each team could field up to 12 athletes per age group per race with the first six finishers scoring for their team.

For the spectators, they enjoyed a total of eight races featuring around 500 athletes, starting with the year 7 athletes, making their first appearances at the national championships followed by juniors, middle and seniors. All sort of weather conditions were experienced, from sunshine to rain and hail mixed in half way through.


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There were some great races and individual performances and here's a round-up of the action race by race / Crynhondeb o'r cystadlu Dydd Mercher:


The opening race on the programme at 1pm was expected to be a tight one with several of the favourites performing well over the winter season. After a tight first lap, a group of four or five took off and it was Samia Jones (Eryri) who had enough left to race clear to win in impressive fashion. She crossed the line in 13:50, 26 seconds clear from her nearest rival. Eryri secured a one-two thanks to Jones' teammate Abbi Parkinson (14:26). Abigail Davies (Glamorgan Valleys) completed the podium positions (14:43) with only a 3 second gap to fourth.

Cardiff & Vale team took team gold scoring six in 14 with South East Wales second and Eryri third.


As mentioned in the event preview, it has been a case of "West is Best" for the junior boys category this winter and it was no surprise to see them dominate this event too. Llanelli's Adam Beer has improved greatly this year and he can now call himself Welsh schools champion as the Glan Y Mor's pupil took victory in 14 minutes. The North East Wales and Afan Nedd Tawe pairing of Huw Jones and Charlie Holland were amongst the top six with four of the next five positions heading to Dyfed: Iori Humphreys (14:22); Liam Edwards (14:31); Frank Morgan (14:31) and Dafydd Jones (14:37).

The boys can look forward to their trip on the Welsh schools team bus up to Nottingham very soon. Cian Harries' 15th place was enough to see a clear win for Dyfed in the team competition, scoring a low 35 points. Eryri went one better from the JG to claim silver with the North East Wales scorers coming through to take bronze.


Race 3 on the event programme was the Senior girls, with some of the athletes making their final appearance on the schools' stage. Powys' Abigail Fisher battled her way through to ensure the district's first victory of the day (19:12). Kiara Frizelle (Cardiff & Vale) was in second with Dyfed's Abbie Williams 7 seconds further back (19:40). The finishing numbers here were up in previous years, with 41 completing the course.

Cardiff & Vale's 4th, 7th, 9th, 15th and 19th saw them take their second win with Glamorgan Valleys and Dyfed teams also getting on the podium in silver and bronze respectively.


This was the first chance to see what the year 7's could produce at school level. Their course consisted of 1 small and 1 medium lap. With the lead changing hands a few times, anything could have happened towards the end and so it proved. The Eryri duo Harri Morgan and Dylan Robb were the leaders heading into the final straight, but it was Jack Organ (Powys) that came through with around 30m to go to take gold in 10:47. Morgan and Robb recorded times of 10:49 and 10:52.

All eight districts scored here with Organ leading his Powys team to gold. Having already been successful, Eryri and Cardiff & Vale continued their fine form with Dyfed in fourth overall.


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Again, the girls' corresponding age group turned to be a thriller too. In a repeat of the boys' race, another Powys athlete Maddie Griffiths left it late to sprint her way to victory by 2 seconds (12:03). Dyfed's Chloe Hale and Ella Grundy came through to win silver and bronze and score valuable points for their districts. The three were clear leaders by 10 seconds. It was pleasing to see such high numbers out on show in the year 7 age groups having qualified.

Six scorers in the top 20 saw Dyfed top the table with 75 points. Cardiff & Vale's girls enjoyed second while South East Wales came through to win bronze.


The senior boys had to contend with the worse of the weather conditions as the hail started to come down at the Penlan playing fields. Despite the conditions, the race was in the balance with less than half to go before a group of five broke away. In the end, the experienced James Vincent (Cardiff & Vale) won followed by the Afan Nedd Tawe duo of Dominic Smith and Elliot Lawrence. The next two were separated by only a few seconds: Larry Ryan (Cardiff & Vale) and Ben Bartlett (Afan Nedd Tawe). A great tactical race from the boys!

Three South Wales districts - Cardiff & Vale, Afan Nedd Tawe and Dyfed took podium positions.


The penultimate race of the afternoon was the middle girls over 4130m, where the white vests of Afan Nedd Tawe took full control. When the defending champion from 12 months ago had to pull out half way through, it was left to Ashleigh Willis to take her opportunity as she won by 19 seconds from Nia Clatworthy, representing Glamorgan Valleys. Third placed was Sioned Cordiner of North East Wales with the Swansea trio of Eluned King, Darcie Bass and Caitlin Gwyther finishing 4th, 6th and 7th. Bethan Davies (Eryri) was fifth.

Beth Thomas' 9th place finish was good enough to see Afan Nedd Tawe become the age group champions. North East Wales and the Cardiff & Vale teams were the latest medallists.


After seven races, the middle boys found themselves contending the hardest underfoot conditions. It was another tough race to call but Finley Hines (Afan Nedd Tawe) managed to produce a sprint finish in the home straight to win the eighth race (17:18). He finished ahead of Louis Spencer (Cardiff & Vale) and Joe Reardon (Glamorgan Valleys) a further two seconds back. Penrose and Perrin also with enough experience secured their place in the SIAB team in fourth and fifth.

Perrin's top five helped his team to win the middle boys team category by only 3 points from South East Wales. The third place went to Glamorgan Valleys.


Team Result Final: 1 Cardiff & Vale 107; 2 Eryri 103; 3 Dyfed 98; 4 South East Wales 87; 5 Afan Nedd Tawe 75; 6 Glamorgan Valleys 73; 7 North East Wales 73; 8 Powys 71


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Dyfed schools had another good day with the best results of the day no doubt coming in the junior boys and year 7 girls teams, where they were victorious. In addition, the junior boys team had plenty of strength in depth with the Carmarthen, Pembrokeshire and Llanelli athletes dominating throughout.

Those wearing the vest of the district qualified for the main championships through the Dyfed schools selection race, which took place at Parc Dinefwr, Llandeilo in mid February. Some not able to compete that day were brought in to fill spaces for Brecon.

Over 80 athletes travelled and competed for the Dyfed district in Brecon on Wednesday and the Dyfed schools secretary Hedydd Davies wishes to thank both the athletes and parents / teachers who supported the championships in Brecon.


Dyfed Year 7 Girls / Merched Blwyddyn 7 (first)

2 Chloe Hale Bro Gwaun (12:05); 11 Mila Blackwell Greenhill (12:41); 13 Faye Jones Bro Teifi (12:50); 14 Ffion Ouseley Preseli (12:53); 15 Amy Greatrick QE High (12:55); 20 Bethan Adams Strade (13:08); 23 Gracie Griffiths Tasker Milward (13:12); 29 Emma Brazier Emlyn (13:19); 49 Cerys Lawson Penweddig (14:00); 50 Elen Morgan Penweddig (14:05); 51 Chloe Simmonite Coedcae (14:06); 57 Yasmine Jones Bro Pedr (14:23)

Dyfed Junior Girls / Merched Iau (fourth)

9 Daisy Thompson Bro Myrddin (15:12); 11 Phoebe Davis Bro Dinefwr (15:29); 31 Megan Thompson Sir Thomas Picton (16:28); 35 Awen Roberts Maes Y Gwendraeth (16:42); 40 Jessica Morris Pembroke (16:53); 53 Tanwen Moon Maes Y Gwendraeth (17:23); 54 Sara Price Bro Dinefwr (17:25); 56 Amy Tucker St John Lloyd (17:39); 67 Halle Brace Greenhill (18:18); 68 Megan Poupard St Thomas Picton (18:19); 69 Kelsey Thomas Aberteifi (18:19); 72 Tirion Lloyd Henry Richard (18:55)

Dyfed Middle Girls / Merched Ganol (sixth)

14 Eva Edwards Bro Myrddin (17:24); 18 Kaitlin Morgan St Thomas Picton (17:36); 24 Alice Evans Sir Thomas Picton (17:53); 37 Heledd Jones Bro Teifi (18:54); 38 Sioned Wallwork Penglais (19:01); 42 Caitlin Williams Bryngwyn (19:09); 47 Siwan Jones-Evans Bro Dinefwr (19:28); 60 Wiktoria Rejniak St John Lloyd (20:47); 61 Rhian Griffiths Henry Richard (20:48); 64 Cayli Herbert Dyffryn Aman (21:01); 71 Lucy Gaul Penglais (21:28)

Dyfed Senior Girls / Merched Hyn (third)

3 Abbie Williams Pembroke (19:40); 10 Lucy Omnet Pembroke (21:20); 22 Eliza Martin Preseli (23:00); 25 Ellie Kiff Bro Dinefwr (23:16); 26 Dwynwen Davies Penweddig (23:54); 27 Carys Jones Maes Y Gwendraeth (23:57); 32 Grace Page Bro Pedr (24:54); 33 Cerys Davies Bro Myrddin (24:55)


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Dyfed Year 7 Boys / Bechgyn Blwyddyn 7 (fourth)

13 Rhys Jenkins Aberaeron (11:34); 19 Jack Thomas QE High (11.46); 25 Morgan Williams Pembroke (11:49); 31 Iwan Wilson Strade (12:02); 32 Will Hockenhull Henry Richard (12:05); 33 Fletcher Broadhurst Greenhill (12:09); 39 Owen Baxter Strade (12:17); 43 Ryan Esny Glan Y Môr (12:20); 45 Zach Elvy Bro Myrddin (12:24); 46 Seth Woodhouse Preseli (12.27); 61 Dan John Sir Thomas Picton (12:54); 64 Brynmor Peters Bro Myrddin (12:58)

Dyfed Junior Boys / Bechgyn Iau (first)

1 Adam Beer Glan Y Môr (14:00); 3 Iori Humphreys Pembroke (14:22); 4 Liam Edwards Bro Myrddin (14:31); 5 Frank Morgan Bro Myrddin (14:31); 7 Dafydd Jones Bro Myrddin (14:37); 15 Cian Harries Sir Thomas Picton (15:29); 22 Ioan Cressey-Rodgers Bro Myrddin (15:46); 23 Scott Price Bro Dinefwr (15:47); 28 James Price Tasker Milward (16:00); 31 Rhys Llewellyn Tasker Milward (16:04); 36 Lewis Peck Emlyn (16:20); 67 Gwion Owen Henry Richard (17:20)

Dyfed Middle Boys / Bechgyn Ganol (eighth)

40 Tomos Griffiths Milford Haven (19:22); 47 Sam Bird Bryngwyn (19:33); 48 Iwan Dugmore Preseli (19:34); 49 Lewis Jones Bro Pedr (19:37); 50 Callum Campion Bryngwyn (19:40); 55 Joshua Jones Bryngwyn (19:52); 56 Ieuan Griffiths Bryngwyn (19:54); 73 Ben McEvoy Aberaeron (20:44); 76 Joey Lloyd Coedcae (21:02); 77 Joseph Davies Bryngwyn (21:34); Tomos Rees Dyffryn Aman DNF

Dyfed Senior Boys / Bechgyn Hyn (third)

13 Thomas Jones Bro Myrddin (22:41); 20 Morgan Llewellyn Dyffryn Aman (23:20); 26 Rhys Davies Pembrokeshire College (23:55); 31 Barnaby Evans Llandovery College (24:20); 35 David Evans Sir Thomas Picton (25:13); 36 Aled Sion Jones Penweddig (25:31); 43 Steffan Rees Preseli (27:04)


Selection for the upcoming U15 & U17 SIAB Schools & U20 Home Countries International match was also part of the championships with the top eight finishers in each age group being automatically chosen to represent Welsh Schools at the end of season fixture this year taking place at Nottingham on Saturday 24th March. More information including the team will be available in due course.

Congratulations to the athletes who will be heading up to Nottingham in a few weeks' time! Llongyfarchiadau i'r athletwyr sydd yn mynd i Nottingham mewn rhai wythnosau!

Thanks also to all the Welsh Schools officers and Welsh Athletics volunteers who contributed on the day.

With the winter season now coming to a close after the Welsh Sportshall Final and SIAB, attention will turn to the busy summer track and field season which will see a number of school league and cup competitions between April and August 2018.


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