This year’s English Schools Cross Country Championships took place on Saturday 17th March at the picturesque venue that is Temple Newsam Park, Leeds. The course was extremely well-planned and prepared despite the difficult weather conditions in the lead-up to the race, and it presented a stiff test for all participants who had to overcome freezing temperatures, strong winds and blizzards as well as testing ground.
Eight members of D&T’s Middle Distance Squad were on the start line, representing their County Schools Associations. To gain selection an athlete must generally finish in the top eight of their County School Championships so the standard at this National Championship is extremely high.
All eight athletes ran well and should be proud of their performances. Two members of the squad stood out, however, for their results on the day: Kristian Imroth (pictured above), running in the Intermediate Boys race (Years 10 and 11), and Olivia Edwards, in the Junior Girls (Years 8 and 9).
Kristian (Year 11) is a force to be reckoned with at all the major championships especially following his outstanding winning performance at the National Cross Country Championships in Nottingham last year. In this Inter Boys year’s race, contested over 5.2km, Kristian was very disappointed with his 13th place finish – out of 339 finishers. He sets himself the highest standards but there are so many variables that can effect the outcome. He had the worst of draws and had to use up valuable energy at the start just to get in to contention. In this class of field that can take its toll, as it did, when the race reaches the closing stages.
In the end, Kristian was only 40 seconds behind top spot, and he was the first across the line for not just Hertfordshire but from any of the powerhouse neighbouring counties of Beds and Bucks. He can be proud of his achievement and will bounce back with even more determination.
Olivia Edwards (Year 8), who was running a year young in the Junior Girls (3.1km), excelled to finish in 38th place out of a field of 342. Olivia was third across the line for Bucks, helping her county team place eighth out of 44 counties, The first two girls in Olivia’s race had some distance on the field, but notably, 60 girls from third place to 62nd, came through in the space of a minute.
Olivia is running with such confidence and has been so determined and consistent at all this year’s major championships. She can take enormous pride from all her achievements this winter.
In the Junior Boys race (4.1km), Joe Chamberlain (Yr 9) performed extremely well to finish 85th of 346 runners. Thomas Ashton (Yr 9) can be proud of his run finishing in 265th. Stella Whitlum (Yr 8) finished 265th in the Junior Girls and can be pleased with her participation and result.
Freddie Truman-Williams (Yr 10) contested the Intermediate Boys and finished 230th. He has another year in this category and will have learned much from his experience.
Jamie Ayres (Yr 12) took part in the Senior Boys race (6.8km) and finished a credible 168th in a field of 312. Scarlett Wager-Leigh (Yr 13) ran in the Senior Girls (4.1km) to finish 160th of 323. Scarlett has been a very welcome addition to the squad this year. Look out for her in her preferred event of the 800m’s this summer !
Report by Jonathan Edwards, Assistant Coach, Middle Distance Squad