Going into Mitcham, the second cross country fixture of the season, Imperial were engaged in a battle to be the top club in London with none other than St. Mary’s University, Twickenham. Mary’s, the University of Mo Farah and a National Lottery funded British Athletics Program, was going to be a tough opponent to squash. In the first fixture, the two titanic forces of Imperial and Mary’s cancelled each-other out by going 2 - 1 and 1 - 2 in the men’s and women’s team races respectively.
With a strong Imperial team turning up in the cold fields of Mitcham Common, the athletes were quietly confident of a dominant performance over the Mary’s crowd. Later in the day, after the dust had settled on a ferocious battle in South London, they all eagerly awaited the team results as the brilliant individual performances became apparent; Georgia Curry led by example to take Gold in the women’s race, a performance that puts her top of the overall rankings ahead of super-fresher Laura Wright, who claimed the Bronze. This was on the back of Laura winning the U20’s Liddiard XC title at the weekend. The strong performances from Chloe Baker (6th) and Alix Vermeulen (8th) mean that Imperial hold places 1, 2, 4 and 6 in the overall individual women’s competition.
On the men’s side, Ollie Barbaresi, keen to overturn a stinging defeat at the hands of Mary’s’ Tom Butler, beat his foe this time around to take the Silver medal behind Mary’s’ Dan Jarvis. Ollie now tops the overall men’s rankings with Dan Mulryan moving into 3rd overall after finishing 4th again at Mitcham. Dan can be forgiven for acceding to Ollie on this occasion after smashing a 29:46 10k at the weekend.
Imperial’s strength in depth was on show, with Ollie Newton (8th), Niki Faulkner (9th), Joe Pomfret (11th), Tom Bayley (12th) and Misy Ormay (13th) packing strongly to outclass St. Mary’s rear order. Imperial now hold 8 of the top 10 spots in the overall individual rankings on the men’s side. The sheer depth in talent is staggering: for the men, Imperial’s E team are currently ahead of LSE’s A team, and in the women’s, Imperial’s D team is ahead of King’s’ A team.
All these brilliant performances across the spectrum meant that Imperial snatched the victory in the men’s and women’s competitions to take a 3 point lead in the uber-super-duper-big-dog-overall-competition: the Mike Baggs Trophy, which Imperial look to retain for a second year running (eyyy). The pressure now builds for Imperial’s men, who will be looking to match the women by improving their second place in the team standings so that Imperial can claim a clean sweep of women’s, men’s and overall victories at the end of the season.
While the feats listed above are certainly impressive, there is doubtless more to come from Imperial’s big guns. The season training plan is geared towards a peak far later in the year, when we will get the chance to show our mettle against the top teams in the country at BUCS competitions.
Aside from the dedicated training and racing, cross country members can look forward to a packed program of weekly socials, bi-weekly couch-to-5k, and trips to Snowdonia, Brighton, Edinburgh, Chamonix and yet-to-be-decided locations of Winter, Summer and Easter tours. If you would like to get yourself some of this action, contact our secretary Aymeric at firstname.lastname@example.org