AFTER qualifying through school, district and county competitions, the top athletes from schools in the Herefordshire and Worcestershire area headed to Norwich to compete in Saturday’s New Balance English Schools’ Cross Country Championships at the Norfolk County Showground.
Competing against the best in the country and in races with more than 300 athletes, for most it is a tough competition, but there was no doubting the commitment of the H&W team.
Boys’ captain Conor Smith led the team by example as the Waseley Hills High School pupil finished seventh in the senior boys’ race, just 38 seconds off the first placed athlete from Leicestershire over the 7.2km course.
In the intermediate boys’ race, Chris McLeod from Woodrush High School, Wythall, had a great run to finish 38th – his best position in the four years he has qualified for this competition.
A complete newcomer to the event was Lily Saxon. As a year eight student from Alvechurch Middle School, this was her first year of being able to compete as a junior girl.
Her hard work and dedication rewarded her with a 22nd placed finish.
Lottie Roberts of Prince Henry’s High School, Evesham, finished 99th and Natalie Hatfield of St Bede’s Catholic Middle School, Redditch, finished 111th to help the team to 26th position out of the 44 county teams represented – the best team position for the H&W squad.
Girls’ captain Isabel James of Bromsgrove School was the first athlete home in the senior girls’ race in 49th, with Abigail Saker, also from Bromsgrove School, 94th.
In the intermediate girls’ competition, two of the H&W team placed in the top 100. Casarena Ferreira of Prince Henry’s High School, Evesham, finished the 3.75km course in 83rd place and Ellen Bowen of St Augustine’s Catholic High School, Redditch, was 94th.
In the junior boys’ 4km race, Josh Robins of Walkwood Middle School, Redditch, was the first finisher for the team in 110th place.
The Herefordshire & Worcestershire squad was as follows:
Junior boys: Josh Robins, Walkwood Middle School, Redditch; James Vaughan – Blessed Edward Oldcorne College, Worcester; James Rolinson – Winterfold House School, Kidderminster; Sam Davey – Christopher Whitehead Language College, Worcester; Joe Cunliffe – Ridgeway Middle School, Redditch; Harrison Mayne – St Augustine’s Catholic High School, Redditch; Scott Jones – Wigmore School, Leominster; Tirian Ashby – Hanley Castle High School, Malvern.
Intermediate boys: Chris McLeod – Woodrush High School, Wythall; Joe Hamilton – Trinity High School, Redditch; George Beardmore – Royal Grammar School, Worcester; Tom Deykin – Trinity High School, Redditch; James Dale – Nunnery Wood High School, Worcester; Laurie Higgins – Blessed Edward Oldcorne College, Worcester; Tom Bailey – South Bromsgrove High School; Stewart Greenhalgh – South Bromsgrove High School.
Senior boys: Conor Smith – Waseley Hills High School, Rubery; Luc Allberry – Prince Henry’s High School, Evesham; Kieran Walker – Bromsgrove School; Owen Cowden – Hereford Cathedral School; Patrick Mackie – St Augustine’s Catholic High School, Redditch; Alex Johnson – South Bromsgrove High School; Kristian Bayley – South Bromsgrove High School; Hugo Beattie – Bromsgrove School.