Twenty-three Chiltern Harriers U13s and U15s featured for their schools in the English Schools Cross Country Cup Final at Mount St Mary’s School, Spinkhill near Sheffield on Saturday.
Continuing a strong tradition of success in recent years, Dr Challoner’s Grammar School won the Junior Boys race and the Dr Challoner’s High School team won the Intermediate Girls competition. There were also good runs from other harriers in other races.
The Intermediate Girls (Years 9 and 10) were first off on a fast, undulating course billed as 3.0k. In-form Holly Henderson ran well to be fifth and twin sister Abbie, despite having a cold in the week, battled well to be sixth. Maddie Hughes was ninth and Alice Brown 14th to register a total score of 34, way ahead of second and third who both scored 116. Completing the DCHS team were Ellie Shield in 47th and Hannah Ashby in 69th.
The next race featured the Junior Boys (Years 7 and 8) over the same 3.0k route. The DCGS team was not strongly fancied having lost out to Chesham Grammar in both county and regional rounds. Experience made a difference however, and good packing from Isaac Jessop-Tranter (15th), Max Baxter (16th), Alex Hughes (22nd) and George Beddoe (23rd) left the team on 76, just ahead of Oxted School on 80 and Eastwood Academy on 82. Ethan McCall was 37th and Daniel Munn 54th. Chesham Grammar were badly affected by illness. Leading runner Euan Pinder could not race and brother Archie was not 100%, finishing third scorer in 57th. Callum Powell was fourth Chesham scorer in 103rd and the school ended up 12th.
The Junior Girls 2.4k circuit saw a good run from DCHS’s Lesedi Nkoane to be second, but Frankie Baxter, pre-race favourite, had a temperature and could not run. Rebecca Lawson was fourth DCHS scorer in 100th. The school were 17th, headed by The Misbourne who finished a creditable 13th, thanks in large part to great runs from Marea Logan (14th) and Lily Jessop-Tranter (35th) – first and second scorers.
The final race on the card was the Intermediate Boys (4.4k) and there was a strong Chiltern presence in the DCGS team that ran well for fourth. Thomas Redmond was eighth, Thomas Askey 17th, Matt Aldred 25th, Oakley Denson 57th and Nathan Sweeney (61st). The points total of 107 was just six points off third place. Local rivals John Hampden Grammar School were fifth, second scorer being Mac Nisbet who was 27th.