On Saturday 17 March, six of our top athletes competed for Suffolk at the England Schools’ Cross Country Championship in Leeds.
All 44 counties entered their top 8 athletes, so 352 elite cross country athletes competed in each race in the sleet and icy wind.
In the Junior Girls’ Race April Hill had the race of her season finishing in 12th place and just missing selection for the England Team (top 8) by 3 seconds after two miles in the mud. This was a quite fantastic effort at the highest level, an amazing return to form for April after a few years of injury disruption, and a very proud day for the Hill family.
Bea Thomas was immensely proud to earn her second England Schools’ badge (still aged only 13) and she once again competed very well against the best in England finishing in the 200’s.
In the Junior Boys’ Race Charlie Turner had his best ever result on the National stage finishing strongly in 23rd place. A top 25 at England Schools’ is an outstanding national level achievement. Charlie was only 45 seconds behind the winner.
Not to be outdone, Kit Evans Lombe had his best ever result at Nationals, finishing 101st. To give the result some context, after 4.1 km in the mud there were only 5 seconds between Kit and 82nd place.
In the Inter Boys’ Nathan Goddard was unlucky to pick up a midweek head cold but still travelled to compete for the Suffolk Team. Fighting hard all the way Nathan once again recorded a top 100 finish in 66th place. His Suffolk teammate, with whom he had run all year, finished 31st giving Nathan a pointer as to what might have been.
For Alex Evans Lombe, this was a debut England Schools’ performance and he competed exceptionally well to finish in the 200’s. Alex only started to take cross country seriously 18 months ago, and this winter he qualified for three County teams which is a testament to his work ethic and commitment.
Saving the best for last, the Junior Boys’ Suffolk Team unbelievably finished second overall in the team standings which is quite incredible when you consider the size of the County compared to the might of some of the other 43.
In fact, there were further Inter County Competitions on the day in which each county was classified according to population. Suffolk is a ‘C’ County and in that category Suffolk won the overall boys’ and were second in the girls’. A fantastic result!
Well done to all the Woodbridge School athletes for their contribution. A well-deserved rest lies ahead, before we switch to track and a long-awaited summer!