We had ten young athletes taking part on Saturday 8 February 2020 at the Northern Schools Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at the very picturesque, but very muddy Lowther Castle.
Daniel Buffham had his best ever run in the schools event and was third home for Northumberland in the senior boys. Will Collinson was flying as usual and finished 4th for Northumberland, both will be going to the English Schools finals.
The Durham team was a different situation, because the original trials were cancelled, Saturday’s event was sudden death, dog eat dog, first eight athletes over the line go to the English Schools finals.
The only races this did not apply to were the Year 7s, Matthew Levy and Joseph Wormald were two young stars, finishing 2nd and 6th for Durham. Ellie Fellows produced an amazing run to finish 6th Durham athlete, she stormed up the final hill to book her place, a year young.
Cecilia Reid didn’t have her best run, by her own admission, but still did enough to get to the English Schools for the fourth time. Our two junior boys both justified their selection, Joseph Lonergan 13th and just behind, James Gray in 16th.
The big drama of the day was in the last race, the senior girls. Because India Pentland is reigning English Schools Champion, she was, quite rightly, pre-selected, this meant only seven girls would gain selection. Our two girls, Abbie Lewis and Jessica Levy, battled all the way, both were dead on their feet coming up the last hill, neither could have given any more.
It was Abbie who finished 7th, gaining the last guaranteed place, and Jess suffered the heatbreak of just missing out, no amount of words from Reg and myself could console her at the finish.
Not many athletes give up an English Schools place, but if they do, it is always the senior girls that do, so all Jess can do is stay fit and keep her fingers crossed.