For some of the cross country club, the track season is the dessert to the main course of cross country. It’s the treat.
And Varsity Athletics 2014 certainly was a treat. The Men’s Blues team took the match against a very strong (and confident) Cambridge Blues team, whilst the Mens Seconds narrowly lost a close-fought contest. The Women’s Blues and Seconds both lost, but not without valiant performances in the long distance events.
Starting with the Women’s, Rose Penfold and Sarah McCuaig ran away (quite literally) with the points in the 800m race, with quality performances. Both doubled up in the Mile too, coming away with 2nd and 3rd. The contribution to the team from both runners cannot be underestimated on a hot and punishing day at the track. Kate Neihaus and Emma Hodson gave it everything in the 5000m, but Cambridge’s strength in this area shone through giving them 1st and 2nd.
In the Men’s, OUCCC’s hero Tom Frith showed the adoring masses that he’s still got it. Knicknamed “The Donkey” due to his famed kick*, he took the 800m title (again) in a race controlled by Fresher Will Durkin from the gun. A valiant performance from Cambridge’s Lloyd Hilton gave Cambridge 2nd. Alex Howard showed that “you can’t win anything with kids” was just as wrong in 1998 as it is now (quote Alan Hansen, on Match of the Day) with a win in the 3k Steeple. Big things expected from this boy. In the Mile and 5000, Cambridge’s Matt Leach showed his quality with a Double win. Fresher William Christofi performed valiantly to finish strongly in 2nd in the Mile. Chris Phillips-Hart gave Cambridge a scare in the 5k, but it unfortunately a Cambridge 1, 2 meant that the Light Blues edged the distance events by one point. Far from “embarrassing”, but not a win. Looking forward to next year. *not actually one of Tom’s knicknames
In terms of the Men’s and Women’s Seconds, special commendations go to Jamie Parkinson, winning the 5k in 15.18. Unfortunately for Jamie (and Cambridge), a cross country season beckons for him. Aidan Smith and James Taylor secured the 1,2 in the 3k Steeple, whilst Katie Hickson’s won in the Mile was the stand out performance for the Women’s Seconds.
One last mention must go to Cambridge’s Paul Hodgson, helping Oxford Blues’ steeple chaser Tom Quirk across the line in their race following Tom’s sustaining of a bad foot injury. There’s the good and the great. The good win their races. The great give even more than that.
Onto the next Varsity match.