The UWCSEA East Dragons boys and girls teams claimed their first ever SEASAC Cross Country titles on home soil as they battled against some of the best schools in Southeast Asia, over two days of intense competition. This year’s championships were also hosted and organised by the UWCSEA East Activities team.
Day 1 saw 80 boys and 65 girls from 13 different schools take to the trails of Coney Island and Punggol to race over a 5000m course, designed perfectly for fast times. With teams comprising of five athletes, the race also took on a team format, with the top four to finish from each school scoring points for their team. East came out on top for both boys and girls as several runners finishing high-up in the pecking order in both races with Nayana Jain (4th) and Will Bruhn (5th) were the teams’ best finishers. With strength in depth, East were also able to enter B-teams, with many athletes posting personal best times.
On the second day, students took to the familiar site of Bedok Reservoir, their home training venue, but this time on a brand new route, where athletes took part in a 5 x 3000m relay. In the boys race, Aaron Kiss, recovering from illness, got East off to a great start, running a strong first lead leg to place East second behind AIS. East’s B Team were narrowly behind in third, thanks to a strong run from the team’s most improved athlete, Auguste Fagniez. A strong second leg from last year’s individual champion, Matthew Saurin, put the Dragons in a commanding lead which Kentaro Okumura and club captain Johann Singh extended in legs 3 and 4 respectively. By the time Will Bruhn has crossed the finish line, East where over 80 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals, Alice Smith, to claim a comfortable and well deserved victory.
In the girls relay race, India Bruhn ran a storming first leg to put East’s B team into second place, narrowly behind BPS and just ahead of Yuko Okumura in the East A team. However, 11 year-old Tanisha Patil, ran a commanding second leg to put East A at the front of the pack Dominant runs from Natasha Kaeller, Hui Li Askvik and Nayana Jain followed which saw the Dragons finish over 2 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of the their nearest rivals. East’s B Team finished an excellent 4th.
Full details on the SEASAC Championships, along with race results, can be found on the official website.
The championships marked the climax to a very successful season where, earlier in November, both the boys and girls Dragons teams also claimed the ACSIS cross country titles in Singapore. With training sessions taking place up to four times a week, virtually every athlete in the team achieved a new personal best during the season.
Thank you to the coaching team of Mr Deeth, Mr Dunn, Mr Thomas, Mr McClure, Mr Jacobson, Mr Meek, Ms De Kloe and Ms Radford who guided our teams throughout the year.
A huge well done to everyone who represented the team and a big thanks to our excellent captains, Johann Singh and Yuko Okumura. We wish our other Grade 12 leavers all the best for the future and hope they continue running wherever they are heading to!
Five Fun Facts about the 2016 Cross Country Season
New boys and girls 5km school records were set this season by Will Bruhn (17:52.22) and Nayana Jain (21:09.84).
This year’s SEASAC team consisted of three sets of siblings: Tanisha and Tanmayi Patil, Kentaro and Yuko Okumura, and India and Will Bruhn.
Former Great Britain cross country international Michael Skinner, who has represented his country at five world and four European championships visited the team this year to pass on his expert advice. Michael now works as a sports agent for the two biggest names in world athletics, Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.
Over 100 different students attended high school cross country sessions this season.
East boys athletes ran a total of 25 sub-20-minute performances and East girls a total of 21 sub-23-minute clockings for 5km.
By Ian Deeth
East Dragons Cross Country Coach and
Head of Primary School Activities