Snow stayed away for U18 Trial on Croob

Seventeen talented junior athletes travelled to Slieve Croob for the U18 Trial, to select the team for the International in Saluzzo, Italy on the 25th June.

Last year saw the unusual format of a Time Trial, followed by small group races, a format that was created to avoid large fields during 2021. However, this format offers a couple of benefits, namely the reduction in a home advantage, as all athletes get to run the course at pace before their race. This is particularly beneficial to the travelling athletes, who a trip to Slieve Croob for a recce, is often a trip too far for their long suffering parents.

Additionally, it allows an opportunity for young athletes to develop pace judgement (though some senior athletes have still to master this skill!), learning from going out too fast or slow on their Time Trial lap.

Ethan McMullan of Newcastle AC and new face, Poppy Hastings of Mid Ulster set the fastest times in the Time Trial….the question was, had they left anything in the ‘tank’ for the race.

Race 1 – Female U18

A tight group headed up the hill, with parent and coach observers unable to predict the outcome as the athletes disappeared from view towards the summit.

Poppy had clearly paced her time trial correctly, as she took 49 seconds of that time to finish in 13:32, closely followed by two more new faces, Jessica Blaney of Lagan Valley AC and Eve Welsh of Newry AC. The girls field was extremely competitive with runners four and five only 10 and 14 seconds later, Katie Graham and Niamh Campbell.

U18 Female Race
PositionRace TimeTime Trial TimeDiff

Race 2 – Male U18

Ethan McMullan and Oliver Robinson (East Down) have battled backwards and forwards all season, but it was to be Olivers day, passing Ethan on the final descent in sight of the line.

The battle for third was even more dramatic, with Ben Acheson (North Down) and Rudy Mayne (Loughview) switching positions from their time trial, but finishing only 10 seconds apart. Jacob, Yasin and Patrick completed the group, bringing the male field home, all in under 14 minutes – 2 mins splitting first to last.

U18 Male Race

A big thankyou to all the parents, coaches and helpers who marshalled, marked out and cleared the course, to make it such a success.

Selection letters will be sent out by Tuesday, after a final selection meeting on Monday evening.

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