THE COMPETITION is well and truly heating up as the second-last stage of the Wexford Juvenile winter league moves to Taghmon G.A.A. grounds this coming Sunday.
The six clubs taking part have all seen a huge turnout of young athletes running middle distance races since late November. Menapians (Wexford) were the first hosts in the Volunteers G.A.A. grounds and won that stage.
The next outing was to New Ross Town Park, hosted by United Striders, where again the host club took the glory. The third stage took place under lights in Adamstown in early December with the trend of host clubs winning the stage holding true as Adamstown took the honours.
The fourth leg and the first of 2013 took place in Our Lady's Island G.A.A. grounds, hosted by St. Paul's, and this time Adamstown took a narrow victory from United Striders, meaning that there is everything to run for entering the final two stages.
Menapians had been topping the league table since the outset, however Adamstown's victory in Our Lady's Island saw the two clubs drawing level on the table. And with United Striders making huge gains, they could be the club to watch out for.
The full standings are as follows: Menapians, 1,366; Adamstown, 1,366; United Striders, 1,394; S.B.R., 1,589; Taghmon, 1,694; St. Paul's, 1,806.
The scoring system for the league is calculated by taking the finishing positions of the first three athletes from across the line from each club. For example, third place, fourth place and tenth place would give 17 points for that race.
The maximum any athlete can be given is ten points, so third, fourth and eleventh are still calculated to give 17 points.
As the league is based on club teams of three, if there is only one scorer in a race the club automatically gets ten points for the other two. For instance, if the club has only one athlete in the Under-8 boys and he came fifth, the club would score 25 points for that race. Where there are no athletes from a club, the automatic club score is 30 points for that race.
The club with the lowest score at the end of the league will be the winners.
Most stages of the league are run off in just under an hour with 14 races in total for boys and girls aged from Under-8 to Under-16. Distances range from 300m for the Under-8s to 1,500m for the Under-16s, introducing middle distance running to a whole new cohort of young athletes. Participation and encouragement are given priority at all times during the races, and each athlete across the finish line is crucially important to the overall club scoring.
Given the success of this season's Juvenile winter league, it is envisaged that a similar competition will become an annual fixture in the Wexford athletics calendar.
The final stages will be hosted by Taghmon A.C. at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday next, January 27, with the final stage and awards ceremony taking place in Ferns hosted by Sliabh Buidhe Rovers in early February.