YOUNGER school pupils took a chance to show their talent in the Years 5 to 8 West Sussex West
cross-country championships at Bishop Luffa School.
Jessie Younghusband School made a fine impression in winning all four of the primary age groups with perhaps the star turn coming from Olivia Wiseman in the combined Years 6 and 7 girls’ race. She gained an outright win, beating Year 7 winner Chloe Croad from the Selsey Academy.
Next to follow were Midhurst Rother pairing of Annie Fraser and Eloise Maine in third and fourth respectively and with team-mate Izzy Barrett close behind in eighth giving them the team title.
In the boys’ Years 6 and 7 race, two of Chichester’s stars from the Sussex championships produced a dominant display.
Ben Collins, another Midhurst Academy pupil, was matched stride for stride by improving Leo Stallard from Bishop Luffa and was able to break clear only in the final few metres to cross the line in first place.
Chasing them home was a fine run from Ned Potter from Jessie Younghusband in third and, with Reuben Gallop fourth and Callum Peyman seventh, their team total of just 14 points was too good for the rest including top Year 7 team from Bishop Luffa with 17.
The Year 8 runners had races of their own with the boys producing an exciting finish with Alex Smith from Bishop Luffa just getting the better of Josh Eeles from Midhust Rother for the individual honours.
With Huw Wiseman third and Oliver Stonefrost fourth, the Luffa team score of eight points was almost a record score for the day.
This was beaten by the Bishop Luffa girls’ Year 8 team of Katie Hains, Anna Hains and Olivia Pine, who occupied the first three places in their race for a perfect score of six points.
The afternoon’s activities had started with a combined Year 5 race won by James Gardam from Jessie Younghusband in front of Owen Hennessey from Barnham and Jake Oberman from Central.
In the girls’ standings, Lily de Lacy came out on top making it a clean sweep for Jessie Younghusband from Saffron Bush from Barnham and another Jessie pupil Leila Karim in third.
This Saturday sees the older cross-country runners go for glory in the Sussex schools Championships, to be held for the first time in several years at Bexhill.
With the schools structure having different age group to club athletics, many of Chichester’s medal-winning teams from tghe county event in Brighton will find themselves running in different races.
Rose Ellis will be in the intermediate race with Charlotte Reading and Tara Bage from the club’s under-15 winning team, but Saskia Gardam, who narrowly missed out on an individual gold, will still be in the junior race and looks like being the one to beat.
Harry Leleu, winner of the under-17 county title, will be in the intermediate race with Josh James, while James McKenzie moves up to the senior age group, running with some of the under-20s.
Such has been the form of local runners across the board, many will be confident of challenging for places in the Sussex teams for the prestigious English schools’ championships later in the season.