Following on from Princethorpe College’s dominance of the ISA Midlands Qualifying Cross Country Championships a strong team of thirteen athletes prepared for the National Championships held on home turf on Saturday.
For once not a drop of rain spoiled the almost cloudless sky although conditions underfoot were at the worst point ankle deep in mud. Six other regions from across England made the trek up to the Midlands with seventy runners in each of the races.
First up were the U14 girls. Year 7’s Amicia Collet was bristling with confidence after her outstanding win at the Midlands but with Year 8 runners Eugenia Bessey and Mollie Dibb also in the mix it was all to play for. An early break by Bessey saw her on the shoulder of the lead girl with Dibb well back as they entered the dog leg turn into the mile walk.Millie Higgins worked hard across the early stages to hold her position midfield.
The pack was tight and not until the top field were the first five runners starting to stretch out. Down the final straight it emerged that two black Midlands vests were in second and third. With Bessey leading just ahead of Dibb the order remained unchanged to the line. A fine second and third place by Eugenia and Mollie respectively with Amicia coming home in 4th. Millie Higgins held her place to finish in 28th.
The U14 boys had three runners: Year 8’s Matty Rush and Oli Taylor with newcomer Connor Hughes from Year 7 completing the trio. This was a rapid race with the lead boy winning by a good eighty or so metres. Rush fought hard groaning as he sprinted towards the finish, the look on his face said it all. An admirable 17th place made him the first Princethorpe runner home. Connor finished in 23rd proving himself to be potential force to be reckoned with next year when he will top the age group. Oli held his place to run a strong 34th.
Ella Bromley’s supreme victory at the Midlands was fresh in her mind. Recent County success has also given the Year 10 athlete a spring in her step. This talented runner held a front position from the start but she was out paced by a good ten metres towards the closing stages to bring her home in second place 20 seconds ahead of the following athlete. Caitlin Mills, whose pre-race snack clearly paid dividends, came home in 17th whilst Bethan Ellis – ever determined strode over the line in 35th. Twin brother Lloyd was one of four Princethorpe athletes representing the Midlands in the Boys U16 race. Taking in a distance of nearly five kilometres over a well churned course was no easy task but Lloyd flew to the front in the early stages. Paying the price for such a quick first kilometre Lloyd dropped back with Year 9’s Mikey Redmile taking up the lead mantle for Princethorpe. Mikey’s steady pace paid off with him crossing the line in 20th.
Clearly fatigued Lloyd fought well to take 32nd place ahead of Etienne Callaghan whose imposing height made him easy to spot as he descended the final hill in 35th. With Will Dunderdale completing the quartet in 45th all Princethorpe runners were home and dry.
Head of Girls Games Debs Brookes described the day as, “ a fantastic advert for Princethorpe – reflecting the depth and strength of our runners. For many of those running today athletics is not their first sport but these results show what quality all round athletes the College has.”