On the run: Suffolk win Sussex Trophy at English Schools Cross Country event
- Credit: Andy Abbott
Lewis Sullivan and April Hill led the way as Suffolk enjoyed a successful day at the annual English Schools Cross Country Championships, held in bitterly cold conditions at Temple Newsam Park in Leeds on Saturday.
The talented Sullivan spearheaded the junior boys’ team to a marvellous second spot in the team section, while finishing ninth in the individual stakes, and Hill posted an impressive 12th spot finish in the junior girls’ age group.
The day was crowned by Suffolk boys winning the Sussex Trophy, for counties of a similar size (in terms of pupil numbers), and Suffolk girls finishing second to Durham in the equivalent Sidney Rose Trophy.
It has been an excellent season for Sullivan, a member of Saint Edmund Pacers and a pupil at Sybil Andrews Academy on Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds.
Having finished fourth at the English National Championships, at Parliament Hill, Sullivan had taken 10th spot at the Inter-Counties Championships in Loughborough, staged just a week before this English Schools event.
He was a fine ninth at Leeds, finishing just 21 seconds behind the winner, Surrey’s Woody Jerome, and just 12 seconds off both silver medallist Tom Heal (Somerset) and bronze medallist William Ashfield, of Cheshire.
Surrey crammed their six scorers into the top 22 (each county can field a squad of eight, with only six count to the team), but Suffolk also packed well to finish second in the junior boys’ age group.
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Just two seconds separated Charlie Turner (23rd) and Oliver Hitchcock (25th), while the trio of James Peck (39th), Elliot Gladwell (15:11) and Freddie Adams (15:24) all had good days to complete the Suffolk sextet.
Hill was the second highest Suffolk finisher, thanks to a strong showing in the junior girls’ section.
The Ipswich Harrier, who was 12th at the South of England Championships in Brighton, at the end of January, finished 12th again last weekend, just 20 seconds behind bronze medallist Faye O’Hare, of Merseyside.
Tilly Aldis offered good support in 55th spot, although there was then a gap before the team was closed out by the quartet of Mia Dann, Francesca Mann, Lila Battell and Lottie Smith.
Suffolk had two good results in the intermediate boys’ (under-17s) competition, James Pettersson taking 31st place and Nathan Goddard finishing in 66th slot.
Tom Adams led home Suffolk’s senior boys (under-19s) team. The Ipswich Harrier was 41st, backed up by Alex Tripp (123rd) and Tom Mead (133rd).
Suffolk’s intermediate girls were on top form to take fifth spot in their team section, behind winners Surrey.
This was a great effort, set-up by strong runs from Maddie Jordan-Lee (22nd) and Holly Fisher (26th), just three seconds separating this leading duo.
Maddie’s twin sister Millie Jordan-Lee (Stowmarket Striders) finished 52nd, just two seconds ahead of team-mate Katie Challinor (57th), and the six-strong scoring squad was closed out by Mimi Salsby (98th) and Katie Cuddihy (189th).
Finally, Suffolk’s senior girls were 19th in their team category. West Suffolk AC’s Megan Newton, a specialist 3,000m runner on the track, was the star performer in 36th position, with Olivia Allum just outside the top 100 in 105th spot.
Confirmation of the final aggregate team standings saw Suffolk boys win the Sussex Trophy (group three) with a tally of 1,991 points, well clear of runners-up Norfolk (2,203) and third-placed Somerset (2,203).
Durham’s girls clinched the Sidney Rose Trophy (group three) with 1,850 points, but Suffolk took a deserved second with 2,194, ahead of Dorset (2,222) and fourth-placed Norfolk (2,432).
Meanwhile, Milly Presland, a member of Colchester Harriers, helped her Essex team to victory in the junior girls’ race. Presland finished 29th in 12:07, the fifth Essex scorer behind Abigail Ives (fifth), Megan Harris (10th), Natalie Sewell (17th) and Sydney Foley (20th). Maddie Harris (119th) completed the team.
Elsie Gray, of Colchester & Tendring, was part of the eight-strong Essex squad that won the senior girls’ team competition.
Khai Mhlanga (sixth), Kate O’Neill (eighth), Rachel Broome (21st), Sinead Clark (24th), Jessica Mitchell (51st) and Abbie Rex (79th) made up the scoring sextet, followed by Sophie Rand (90th) and Gray, of the CATs, who clocked 18:46 in 149th position.
Danny Millward, of Colchester Harriers, posted a 178th finish (19:56) in the intermediate boys’ age group, in Essex colours.