ELLEN BOWEN finished in a superb 56th place in her first year as an under 17 athlete at the New Balance English Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Wollaton Park in Nottinghamshire on Saturday.
It was a fine effort from the St Augustine’s High School youngster and she was not the only teenager from a Redditch school to impress at the event, which featured around 350 athletes from 44 counties in each race.
Athletes had competed through school, district and then county competitions to make the Herefordshire and Worcestershire county team and qualify for this prestigious national event.
The intermediate girls’ (U17) team was first to race, taking on a 3.9km route, and Bowen was followed in by Bromsgrove School’s Abigail Saker in 73rd place and St Augustine’s duo Alice Battey and Ellie Moss in 178th and 234th places respectively as the team finished 28th.
The junior girls’ (U15) race took place over a 3.5km course and first home for Herefordshire and Worcestershire was another St Augustine’s athlete, Anna Nicod, who finished in 104th place.
Bromsgrove School’s Orla Walker came 194th as the team finished 33rd.
A 5.7km course awaited the intermediate boys’ (U17) team and top of the pile for H&W was Christopher Whitehead’s (Worcester) Jake Cavens in his first year in the age group as he clocked 19.58mins to place 136th.
RSA Academy Arrow Vale’s Gareth Richardson was 145th, Woodrush High’s Chris McLeod 275th and Trinity High’s Tom Deykin 297th as the team finished 35th.
Girls’ team captain Bryony Haines, of Bewdley High, led the way in the senior girls’ (U19) race with a 21st placed finish and Sophie Tothill (Worcester Sixth Form College, 41st) and Isabel James (Bromsgrove School, 65th) also impressed.
The senior boys’ (U19) race saw the best individual placing of the competition for a Herefordshire and Worcestershire athlete as William Richardson of Baxter College in Kidderminster finished sixth to gain a podium place.
His time on the 7km course of 21.10mins was not far behind Alex Yee from London who secured victory in 20.24mins.