Nine Truro School athletes competed at the SW Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Stover School, Devon, on Saturday and it was Finn who caught everyone’s attention, winning the Senior Boys’ title against a current GB Under 20 international.
Having raced well at the Cornwall Schools, it was an achievement in itself to be selected for the South West Championships but now our athletes were racing the best runners from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Dorset, Avon and Wiltshire, so the standard of competition was high. The lovely Stover course (a mix of school fields, woods, moorland and a good hill) was particularly challenging after all the recent rain, with much of it under mud and standing water.
The sun came out for the first race of the day for the Senior Boys, involving Finn and Alexander, both a year young in this age group. Leading a strong Cornish team, Finn moved to the front from the start and it soon became apparent that the race would be between him and Hugh Sadler (who raced for GB Under 20s in Edinburgh only a few weeks ago). Over the 3 laps (6.4km) they pulled away from the rest of the field, but they were never more than a few metres apart. It was Finn, however, timing his finish perfectly, who would claim yet another title in this very successful season for him. Alexander also produced another strong performance to finish 16th out of 65 runners and both he and Finn helped the Cornish team win the team title.
Aimee and Anna were next on the course, competing in the Minor Girls category (2.2km). They both ran very well after the Senior Boys race left them with significantly more mud to contend with, Anna was 54th and Aimee was 58th out of 65 runners.
Ted and Ben competed in the Minor Boys race (2.8km). After his success at the Cornwall Schools championships, Ted was hoping for a top 10 finish and had an excellent race to achieve this, coming in 10th out of 65 runners. This was a fine result given the competition. Ben also had a very good race, coming in 60th.
By the time the Junior Boys (3.6km) competed, the mud had deepened, and this played havoc with current Cornwall Schools’ champion, Isaac’s race. Having to stop to re-fit his shoe twice, and finishing the race with only one shoe, he did very well coming in 23rd out of 62 runners.
The final race of the day (Intermediate Boys, 5.8km) included Harris and Benjy. A couple of weeks ago, Harris would have been expecting to challenge for the title and Benjy would have expected a top 10 finish. But, the colds circulating in the school put paid to these hopes. Both were a credit to the School, however, by deciding to run for their team despite their illnesses, and Harris managed a very decent 9th place, whilst Benjy was 37th out of 67 runners.
Congratulations to Finn, Alexander, Harris, Benjy and Isaac who have now been selected to race for Cornwall at the English National Cross Country Championships in Leeds in March and we wish them the very best of luck. Aimee, Anna, Ted, and Ben will have to wait until next year because there are no Minor Girls and Boys races at the Nationals.
Finally, the athletes would like to thank Mr. Knowles who was once again on hand to provide very welcome encouragement and support.
Images courtesy of Dave Buzza