A tremendous day for Sussex, at the Inter-counties cross country championships at Prestwold Hall in Loughborough, on Saturday saw one gold medal for Bethany Cook and four Top Ten team places.
Both the U17 teams finished a splendid fifth place, the senior men a remarkable seventh and the U15 girls filled ninth place - all significant team performances.
The course was really tough with mud that Dave Leach, the men’s team manager, described as, “the worst I’ve seen this century”.
Cook continues to shine in whatever competition she races and in her first year in the U15 girls she retained a remarkable unbeaten record for this season and again it was a dominating victory.
Sticking her nose out front from the very start, Cook romped home 18 seconds and more than fifty metres, clear of the rest of the runners.
Cook also led her team into a fine ninth team spot with Maggie King having her best run of the season to finish 50th, Maya Ramnarine placed 73rd and Lois Dooley completed the scoring four runners in 82nd place.
The senior men recorded one of their best team results ever despite the absence of more than half their 'A' team. Their best ever placing was fifth in 1955 and they achieved sixth team spot a few years and Saturday’s effort of seventh was a remarkable performance particularly as they finished all six scoring runners inside the first 100 finishers. It must always be remembered that in this event every runner is a top notch County athlete.
James Westlake the County silver medallist and former footballer, led the team home with his best ever run to finish 30th while County champion Tom Evans finished 58th with Kevin Moore in an excellent 61st place. Jack Leitch, who had led the U20 team home at this event last year, finished 69 while veteran Neil Boniface and James Turner closed in the scoring six in 81st and 98th respectively.
The stars however were the Under 17 teams with both the women and men snatching fifth team spot, a wonderful effort.
Almi Nerurkar led the women home in 18th place, which although four places higher than last year was not quite up to the tremendous form she has been showing this year. Olivia Wiseman was not far behind in 21st place while Darja Knotkova-Hanley had her best run to date in 38th place and Alex Richer completed the scoring four in 63rd place.
In the men’s U17 race Will Broom had an inspired run to finish in 23rd place with Leo Brewer having an excellent race in 35th, Tomer Tarragano 38th and George Pool 41st while Tom Eames squeezed home in 50th place.
In the senior women’s race last minute drop outs meant Sussex did not complete a scoring six though there were fine runs from Nicole Taylor in 14th place and Beth Garland who certainly had her best run to date to finish 23rd.
The U15 boys’ team finished 15th being led home by Liam Dunne in 57th place while Daisy Burton, in 66th, led the U13 girls’ team into 17th place and Henry Yelling in 57th place led the U13 boys’ into 20th place while the U20 men placed 24th with Ben Morton leading the team in 109th position. Lauren Wormley, running for Surrey, had a fine run to come 23rd in the U13 girls race.
Nicole Edmunds was the first Sussex runner home in the U20 women’s race but they failed to complete a scoring four athletes.
Running for Hampshire Jamie Knapp, the Sussex League champion, had a tremendous run in the senior race finishing in ninth place while Chris Smith, running for Middlesex, another regular Sussex League performer placed 17th.
You can watch footage of all the races here.