Chance leads Avon junior girls to sixth place in English Schools’ finale

Pacesetter: Laura Chance (No 21) pictured above in the Avon Schools’ Cross Country Championships

The English Schools’ Cross County Championships at the weekend may yet prove to be the last big hurrah of the winter season as the lockdown from the coronavirus pandemic takes hold so full credit to the Avon athletes and management who made the trip to Liverpool.

They joined around 2,000 other top young runners for the event at Sefton Park, with enthusiastic support from coaches and parents cheering on the sidelines and participated in some fierce competition with some notable results.

“Against the backdrop of epidemic fears the event was notably good spirited, with participants and officials alike eager to be part of a positive and memorable event,” said team manager Neil Miller.

“Avon’s young athletes were all enthusiastic and helpful, and everyone gave their best on the day.”

The best team result came from the junior girls. The South West Schools’ champions finished sixth overall from 44 completed teams while the senior girls claimed seventh from 37 teams.

Junior girls’ county champion Laura Chance of the Bristol Free School led the way in 40th with triathlete Ella Smith (Colston’s) and Charlotte Warren (Clifton College) also making the top 100.

Clemmie Lee (Redmaids), Millie Redman (Clifton High) and Keira Devereux (Bristol Free School) completed the scoring.

In the senior girls’ race Bristol Grammar School’s Rosie Hamilton-James coped superbly with a challenging, very varied course which alternated repeatedly between heavy mud and fast going to finish 18th, easily her best result in the event.

Behind her there was solid support from Bath College student Freya Spruit, Beechen Cliff’s Amy Richards and Claudia Spice of QEH as they all finished in the 100. India Ibbotson (Bath College) and Lizzie Narbett (Kingswood) completed the scoring.

Along with Hamilton-James the other outstanding individual performance of the day came from Megan Hornung in the inter girls’ race.

Racing the national championships for only the second time the Clifton College student improved from 54th in the juniors last year to 17th as a first year inter so at that rate all being well she should be a top ten contender next year.

Among the boys Bath student Alex Parsons (Beechen Cliff) finished 28th in his first year as a senior while Writhlington School rookie Joe Markey was 27th in the junior boys’ race.

English Schools’ Cross County Championships, Sefton Park, Liverpool

Senior boys – teams: 1 Lancashire 196; 2 Devon 269; 3 Kent 351.

17 Avon 719 (28 Alex Parsons; 105 Oliver Lock; 111 Sam Gentry; 145 Abdi Hasan; 156 Ben Hamblin; 174 Ollie Harper. Non-scorers: 194 Will Cheek; 241 Greg Hayward.

Inter boys – teams: 1 Kent 173; 2 Surrey 174; 3 Suffolk 205.

6 Avon 1240 (81 Seamus Robinson; 188 Artie Savage-Swaine; 214 Joe Milton; 220 Will Scott; 257 Ceredig Jones; 280 Steve Kerfoot). Non scorer: 287 Finn Gooodhew.

Junior boys – teams: 1 Kent 153; 2 Hampshire 194; 3 Surrey 277.

27 Avon 942 (27 Joe Markey; 105 Dylan Stoneman; 162 Sam Holloway; 180 Ishmael Bradley; 232 Alex Hearn; 236 Thomas Courtier). Non scorers: 304 Nick Pestell; 314 George Peacock)

Senior girls – teams: 1 London 336; 2 Surrey 387; 3 Hampshire 412.

7 Avon 486 (18 Rosie Hamilton-James; 71 Freya Spruit; 73 Amy Richards; 81 Claudia Spice; 119 India Ibbotson; 124 Lizzie Narbett). Non-scorer: 179 Emily Whitaker.

Inter girls – teams: 1 Surrey 284; 2 London 347; 3 Cheshire 371.

14 Avon 598 (17 Megan Hornung; 53 Kate Howard; 95 Amy Nicholls; 124 Amelia Honor; 126 Alice Bridger-Morales; 183 Danni Sinclair. Non-scorer: 226 Ella Treby.

Junior girls – teams: 1 Berkshire 290; 2 West Yorkshire 294; 3 Hampshire 342.

6 Avon 509 (40 Laura Chance; 49 Ella Smith; 81 Charlotte Warren; 106 Clemmie Lee; 116 Millie Redman; 117 Keira Devereux). Non-scorers: 243 Lottie Silverton; 342 Elen Ruck.