Prep Runners Impress at Regional Cross Country Championship
Our Prep runners truly rose to the occasion again at the Regional Championship showing great character in a collective display of quality distance running to add to their growing collection of silverware this season.
For the second consecutive year, Kimbolton Prep runners truly rose to the occasion at the East Anglian Prep Schools' Cross Country Championship showing great character in a collective display of quality distance running to add to their growing collection of silverware this season.
Indeed, every runner gave it their all, with generally-sound tactical nous, to ensure the Prep positioned second out of 19 schools when team scores were tallied up in our four races.
Having made the long drive down to new hosts Woodbridge School, the other side of Ipswich, our under-10 girls shook off any travel fatigue and lined up in buoyant and expectant mood - after all, all four girls had been involved when winning the team title 'a year young' at Framingham College last year. Hopes, then, were high and the girls did not disappoint...
Our quartet went charging off in their one-miler and led the field as a unit at the first bend - a great example of how to get out strongly. Maddie Todd, advised to use her cross country more as base fitness for her national swimming exploits, soon reverted to her favoured front-running and built up an unassailable lead. Indeed, heading home with a 60-metre gap, Maddie's only opposition came from her great friend and rival, Lucia Mosca. However, unlike at the county championship in January, where Lucia pushed Maddie to within a vest width on the line, the only question was whether Lucia could hold on to second. Off the final bend, she was lying in third but, after her customary rush of Italian fire, sprinted home strongly to take the silver.
Not far behind them, Olivia Corner battled hard and strode home strongly for an excellent 5th whilst credit must go to Anna Price - only recently brought into the team - who ensured all four of our girls came in the top 10 using her renowned sprinting prowess to power home in 9th. With just eight points (first three athletes to score), Kimbolton took a massive victory with the second-placed team scoring 40 in a field of 55 runners.
The girls' achievement clearly lifted belief in their counterparts. Indeed, the under-10 boys were visibly ‘pumped up’ and got out very quickly - maybe a little too quickly - but they could not be faulted for their enthusiasm over a slightly longer course to the girls. The evergreen Sam Evans led by example, running an evenly-paced race to finish a very commendable 11th. By his own admission, Ed Lawrence paid for his fast start noticeably dropping his stride length towards the end but still finishing 20th. Hot on his heels were the gutsy duo of Guy Cubitt in 24th and, making his Prep debut, Ben Knights in 29th – learning a great deal from the experience. 55 points saw us finish a creditable 4th in a field of 59 runners.
Our senior girls’ team, running the same 1800 metres distance as the junior boys, were the next to go with two ‘rookies’ making their prep debuts. Holly Orchard (24th) and Mollie Beavan (46th) donned the purple stripes for the first time and deserve a lot of credit for their perseverance and team spirit on a hilly course. The contributed to our team placing 7th.
Holly and Mollie, clearly looking for inspiration, needed to look no further than our most experienced team member, Sophie Faulkner who put in a sensational performance. Sophie began her cross country career at the prep a year early in Year 3 amidst a very strong group of Year 4 girls which included the reliable duo of Katie Jackson and Amelia Farrington. By her own admission, things have not always gone her way since, particularly in having to deal with the current Year 5s snapping at her heels! However, this year Sophie has trained hard – eager to use her talent to the best of her capability – and, with a more determined approach, the results have improved race-on-race.
Starting out strongly, Sophie headed to the front of the field and ran the race of her life to come in second (proving her coach wrong who predicted an outside shot in the top-10!), only succumbing to the distinctive blonde-haired, professionally-trained athlete from Orwell Park. To use a Mr Wells maxim, it just goes to show ‘practise, practise, practise’ and you will ‘get it right’!
The under-11 boys, going over 2100 metres, were spurred on by Sophie’s achievement and, as a team, produced their best result of the season. Spencer Taylor led the purple charge coming in sixth after looking as if he would get among the medals through halfway. Chasing hard behind, and having their own personal battle, James Noakes (14th), Max Willis (15th) and Max Rossi (20th) switched places a few times and ensured our team packed well for useful team points. Alas, another year we might have been close to taking the team title with 35 points but this was only good enough for 4th place against stiff competition.
So, a highly-productive and -profitable day out with one gold, two silvers and a team trophy in the cabinet. Of course, a big thank you to Mrs Evans, who accompanied me, and our band of vibrant supporters ensuring a great day was had by all.
With thanks to Mr Richard Hart for this write-up.