HEREFORD & WORCESTER Schools’ Athletics Association runners produced some impressive performances at the annual ‘Dave Sunderland’ County Schools’ Cross Country Trophy event on Saturday.
Knights Grange Sports Complex in Winsford, Cheshire, was the venue for the competition which featured nine counties.
This was the first time H&W were involved, racing against athletes from West Midlands, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and Surrey. It was an opportunity to see how they might fair ahead of their forthcoming County Schools’ Championships and potential selection to compete in the 2019 national events.
Despite only having 21 athletes, H&W came away with two of the 18 medals available. There were also another two top ten finishers, so it was a promising start against counties fielding more than 50 athletes.
Conditions were tough in the wind and rain, but they all enjoyed the experience, with a desire to have more H&W athletes involved next year so as also to be in contention for team medals.
Lily Saxon from South Bromsgrove High School ran a storming race in the intermediate girls age group. She was in the lead group throughout the gruelling 4km course and moved into second place on the second lap and maintained that position to claim the silver medal behind the winner from Staffordshire.
Saxon’s county and district team-mate Natalie Hatfield (Bromsgrove School) battled hard to stay in contention with the leaders and placed eighth overall from the 100 finishers.
Just as impressive was the performance of Harvey Shaw in the year seven boys’ race. Shaw, from the Royal Grammar School in Worcester, claimed third place and the bronze medal from a field of 130 runners.
He was closely followed home by Matt Bevins (Aston Fields Middle School, Bromsgrove) who finished fourth, with Will Pridden (Bromsgrove School) in 27th.
In the year seven girls’ competition, the highest Hereford & Worcester athlete was Lilia Mico from Malvern St James School. Also competing were Amelie Ranger (Alvechurch Middle School), Ana Nicholls (Royal Grammar, Worcester) and Philippa Taylor (Dodderhill School, near Droitwich).
The junior girls’ race saw Amelia Hartshorn (Haybridge School, Hagley) and Esme Ranger (South Bromsgrove) finish in the top 20, with another Haybridge athlete – Frankie Teague – also competing.
The junior boys achieved two top 50 placements from Henry Faizey (Woodrush High School, Wythall) and Seb Purvis (Bromsgrove School), with Linus Burnage (The Chase, Malvern), James Thompson (Alvechurch Middle) and Flynn Powell (Woodrush) also competing.
The four H&W intermediate boys finished their 5km race in the top 50, led home by Harrison Mayne (St Augustine’s High School, Redditch). Team-mates pushing him were three Worcester district athletes – James Rollison (Royal Grammar), Sam Davey (Christopher Whitehead) and Ben Harle (King’s School).