Cracking runs from Bethany Cook and the Intermediate Girls and Senior Boys teams highlighted a tough English Schools Cross-country championships at Newsam Park, Leeds on Saturday.
Although the muddy course was thought not to be quite as bad as it was a Loughborough the previous weekend and the snow did not arrive until the end of the event they did have to battle with vicious North East winds.
Bethany Cook and Will Broom were the only Sussex athletes to place in the top twenty of the three hundred plus athletes who contested each of the six events.
Cook, who has had a tremendous season, lost her unbeaten record in the Junior (U15) but she repeated her second placing of last year and was selected for the English School team for next weekend’s Home Countries International event. Cook looked very tired at the finish as she had to give second best to Wiltshire’s Bea Wood, who had missed the previous weekend’s UK Inter-counties over the very heavy conditions at Loughborough. Wood was timed at 10:51 with Cook clocking 11:06. Rebecca Losh, Eloise Key and Poppy Palmer-Malins all gained places in the top one hundred placing 80th 88th and 96th respectively to help the team into 13th place.
In the senior boys (U19) event Will Broom had a tremendous run, as did Tom Tarragano to finish 20th and 22nd and with Luke Burgess 42nd, Jacob Cann 55th, Leo Stallard, who came into the team as a reserve, 67th and Jamie Boucher 105th they finished a brilliant third place in the team event. This was without their top runner Tom Eames who had had to withdraw because of a hip injury and most of the scoring team were in their first year in the age group.
There was another brilliant third team spot for the Intermediate (U17) Girls team with Olivia McDonald leading the team home in 28th place and Olivia Wiseman and Maya Ramnarine making the Top fifty placings in 31st and 42nd placings. Alex Richer 53rd, Milly Dickinson 89th and Lois Dooley 120th completed the scoring six.
The senior girls’ team finished 15th and were led home by Imogen Matthews in 68th with Darja Knotkova-Hanley not far behind in 74th place having lost their top two performers, which was not a bad effort
Carlos Nieto-Parr and Ethan Ward led the Junior Boys team into 18th place in 40th and 53rd places respectively but this should be revised upwards as Tom James was the first Sussex runner to actually finish but he had lost his chip in the mud and was not recorded.
There was also an 18th place for the Intermediate boys, who had also lost their two top runners. Leo Brewer had probably his best run of the season finishing 36th while Joseph Martin was 53rd and Ned Potter 59th.
Overall it was a pretty good effort for the Sussex performers and with forty counties contesting each race to complete a scoring six in each of the teams in each of the race and place them in the top half of the field is quite an achievement.
In the aggregate results the Boys finished fourth in Division one with 1746 points and the Girls also in Division one with 1739 points.