West Sussex athletes fare well in schools finals

Ben Collins, centre, was one of West Sussex's top performers at Blackburn
Ben Collins, centre, was one of West Sussex's top performers at Blackburn

WEST SUSSEX athletes fared well when more than 40 county schools associations picked their strongest teams for the English Schools Championships in Blackburn.

Sussex’s starring team were their junior boys, led out of their starting pen by the Sussex champion, Chichester’s Ben Collins, one of a quartet of Sussex runners to finish in the top 40, with 38th place.

With six to score, Sussex had to wait until 99th and 114th to complete their scoring team but a total of 340 points was good enough for a fine third team placing behind Berkshire and Hampshire. They beat powerful counties such as Surrey, Essex and Kent.

Also having the honour of making the Sussex team was Will Broom, who was next home in 185th place.

In the intermediate age group, Luke Campbell flew the flag for the Observer area and gained useful experience in his first national schools event in 283rd place. The good news is he stays in the same age group next year.

There were four representatives in the senior races, with Charlotte Reading 154th in the girls’ race, and three in the boys’ event with Harry Leleu making a national top 50 in 41st followed by Dan Eeles in 46th and Casey Keates in 127th.

With one Crawley athlete and a Worthing runner also making the top 100, the major disappointment for Sussex was the injury to county schools champion Stephen Ferroni, who collided with a post on the course just yards from the finish when lying in second position.

That ended Sussex’s chance of another team medal.