Guernsey men's squad targeting Hampshire Championship medal
Guernsey will head into their annual Hampshire Cross-Country Championships challenge tomorrow with a strong men’s squad on paper.
How they will fare in reality is less certain.
Recent Guernsey champion Lee Merrien heads the Sarnian entry, but a recent niggle means his presence on the start line is not guaranteed and several other senior prospects face their own uncertainties or will be absent altogether from Botley’s Fairthorne Manor.
It would be a rare occurrence for the Guernsey men to return from the championships without a team medal, though.
Several athletes normally based in the UK, such as Boxing Day Cross-Country winner Alex Rowe, look likely to take prominent places in the island’s counting six.
‘Perhaps because of the timing, a few injury issues and many athletes’ concentration on last year’s Island Games, the senior squads are not at full strength, but the men should challenge for a team medal,’ coach and team manager Paul Ingrouille said.
‘We’d expect Southampton to be favourites, but we have good depth and we’ll hopefully be in the mix with Basingstoke, Aldershot and Winchester.
‘Our veteran men squad of four looks strong, with likes of Lee, Pete [Amy] and Matt [Jamieson] also probably threatening to score in the senior “six”.’
The U20s, seniors and veterans will compete at the same time, all racing a 10km course. This is shorter than the usual adult distance.
Unusually, Guernsey will not go in with a senior women’s team.
Off the back of their brilliant gold last year, injuries and limited interest mean that only two competitors will take on the roughly 8km senior women’s race.
However, both Nix Petit and Emma Etheredge are strong individual prospects and can push to be selected for March’s Inter-Counties.
The 22 junior athletes competing in the U13 to U17 groups bring further hope of securing silverware and county vests from the trip.