Griffiths displays his battling qualities to retain Welsh crown
DEWI Griffiths was forced to dig deep to hold onto his Welsh cross-country title after briefly losing touch with the leaders in the second half of the race at the Glanusk Estate, Crickhowell.
The former Carmarthen Harrier went into the race having only recently overcome an illness and suffering from a heavy workload through exams.
He was always in the leading group in the early stages, but then began to fall off the pace in the second half of the race.
But just as Wales's brightest young distance prospect looked set for a minor medal at best, with Swansea Harriers club-mate Phil Matthews and two-times champion Ian Mitchell setting a hot pace, he found an extra gear and motored back into contention.
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Having bridged the gap, Griffiths proceeded to break the spirit of Matthews and Mitchell by powering up the final hill before going on to complete the 10,240 metre course in 33 minutes six seconds, to beat Tipton Harrier Mitchell by two seconds.
Carmarthen Harriers had a successful day at the event.
The under-15 boys' team won gold medals and the under-13 girls' team bronze medals.
The under-13 boys' team finished fourth with the same points score as third-placed Cardiff.
Nikita Neary was third in the under-15 boys' race.
Under-15 boys: 3 Nikita Neary; 7 Achraf Liles; 12 Brychan Williams; 18 Aled Phillips; 20 Ioan Thomas.
Under-13 girls: 8 Sioned Glynn; 18 Ellie Kiff; 23 Non Morgan; 27 Ella Barnwell; 34 Elen Hawkins; 41 Emily Maslin.
Under-13 boys: 8 Thomas Jones; 14 William Thompson; 24 William Thomas; 27 Jack Beech.
Under-20 men: 4 Lloyd Heckler; 11 Ronan Llyr.
Senior men: 73 Gordon Orme.
In the primary schools races, the Harriers won a total of 11 medals — eight gold, one silver and two bronze.
Year 5 boys — 1 Iwan Glynn; 3 Harri Tomas; 13 Rhys Smith.
Year 6 boys — 2 Archi Morgan; 3 Tomos Rees; 9 Aled Thomas.
Year 5 girls — 1 Phoebe Davis; 3 Sioned Jones Evans.
Year 6 girls: 3 Taylor McArthur.
Next Saturday at Brecon High School, 96 Dyfed secondary schools battle with seven other districts in the annual Welsh Schools Cross Country Championships.
Dyfed have an outstanding record in this competition, having won the overall team title every year since 1991.
This year both Cardiff and Vale and Afan Nedd Tawe Schools teams are strong.
After the championships, Welsh teams will be chosen to compete in the Schools International Cross Country and Home Countries Under-20 international in Dinefwr Park Llandeilo on March 23.
The event is only held in Wales once every four years.