A Record number of Eight of our top junior athletes were selected to represent Staffordshire Schools at the English Schools Cross Country Championships held at the Royal Norfolk Showground, Norwich on Saturday. This event is the culmination of races which started back in September when athletes ran for their schools to qualify for District level, then ran for their District to qualify for their County. The top schools athletes from the length and breadth of the country headed to Norwich on the Friday, stayed overnight in hotels and then competed as one of the top 8 athletes from each County at this huge event. We had representatives in the Junior Girls (1), Inter Girls (1), Inter Boys (3) and Senior Girls (3) Races. The Showground course was unlike 99% of the courses all the athletes had competed on this season as it was virtually flat and mud free.
First up was Elizabeth Clarkson who was competing for the first time in the Intermediate Girls race which was held over 3750m. Lizzie was 7th in the Staffs starting pen but ran a really strong race passing runners throughout to finish as the 5th Staffordshire counter in 233rd out of 345 finishers. Lizzie helped her Staffordshire team to finish in 40th place.
Our next representative was Misha Twardochleb who was also running for the first time at the championships, this time in the Junior Girls Race which was run over 3250m. Misha was hampered on the day with a foot injury but competed well to finish in 238th out of 344 finishers and was Staffs 7th finisher. Misha and her team mates finished in 15th place.
Next up were our three Intermediate Boys, Lewis Nagington competing at his first Schools Championships and Jordan Nixon and Jacob Droogmans both competing at their 4th Championships. The Inter boys race was held over 6000m and first back was Jordan who achieved his pre race aim of finishing in the top 200 with a final position of 199th, next in was Lewis, running despite falling ill the evening before the race to finish in 280th with Jacob not too far behind in 312th. The three athletes helped Staffs to finish as 35th Team.
The final race was the Senior Girls, with Grace Ranford making her debut at a Schools Championships, Rebecca Twardochleb running her second and Sophie Goodfellow running her 6th Consecutive Championships (a fantastic achievement to qualify every possible year whilst at Secondary School and College). The Girls raced over 4000m and it was Becky who was the first finisher for Staffordshire in 50th position an improvement of 6 places on last year, Sophie ran a controlled race finishing fast in 203rd place with Grace having a great run finishing in 220th out of 301 finishers after starting in 7th in the pen and passing 80 athletes over the last 3600m. They helped the Staffordshire team finish in 19th position.
Congratulations to all our athletes who qualified and represented the county so well at the championships, a fantastic achievement by you all. The club are extremely proud off all our competing juniors and they were all a credit to the club over the weekend. The athletes were supported by many of the parents and also two of our club coaches and it was great that they received so much support over the weekend and out on the course. Next years Championships are to be held at Temple Newsam Park, Leeds on 17th March 2018, looking forward to seeing how many of our juniors will take on the challenge to qualify.