Schools XC

There was a fine turnout of over 50 cross country runners from the West Sussex West area at the Sussex Schools cross country championships at Waterhall, Brighton on Wednesday 16th January 2019 among record fields totalling near 550 of the best schools and colleges from across the county.


No less than 35 of the local contingent were from Bishop Luffa school who turned out complete teams in 5 out of the 6 races, coming away with one team gold, one bronze, two 4th places and a 7th and can be regarded as one of the dominant schools in the county across the age groups.

It was in the Senior Girls race where they showed amazing strength in depth with a team win by the largest margin of the day in any age group. The race itself was won by Olivia Macdonald, the only representative from Seaford College who gradually pulled away from Ellie Farrow from Bishop Luffa  with almost a local clean sweep with Alice Cox-Rusbridge continuing her recent good form in 4th and ensuring these three will have automatic selection for the English Schools Championships in Leeds in March. Four more Luffa pupils packed well to all finish inside the top 16 with Olivia Wiseman 11th, Rachel Laurie 12th, Alice Ward 15th and Beth Brown 16th.


In the Senior Boys race Leo Stallard gained Sussex selection in 5th place followed by Luffa team mate Ned Potter in 8th with Oliver Shergold in 22nd and Harry Sage 24th giving the team a total of 57 points in 3rd place but agonisingly just 6 behind winning the gold medals. Alfie Spurle of the Regis School finished in 21st place.


There was another near miss for Bishop Luffa in the Intermediate Girls race with Olivia Toms and Maggie King both having fine top 10 runs in 6th and 9th respectively supported well by Rose Potter in 44th and Amelia Bromell in 67th for 126 points and 4th place with the winning team just 13 points ahead. In the same race Nicole Boltwood finished 26th for Felpham and Emily Weymouth 40 for St Philip Howard.


There were two more top 10 placings in the Intermediate Boys race with James Gardam from Bishop Luffa having his best run of the season in 5th while Felpham’s Ethan Ward had a fine 9th in his first year in the age group. Good backing from Luffa trio of Angus Matthews, Sam Weller 64th and Toby Payne 68th enabled them to match the girls’ efforts with a well-deserved 4th place. In the junior races at the start of the programme, there were some good individual performances but team wise they could not match the older age groups.


The highest placings were from Harvey McGuiness from Bishop Luffa and Fionn O’Murchu from St Philip Howard in 12th and 13th places respectively in the Junior Boys race in the biggest field of the day with 146 finishers.  The pair who are usually Chichester club team mates, both have another year in the age group and show much promise. Bishop Luffa managed 7th place thanks to Gabe White in 32nd, Max Sydenham 66th and Oli Fuller in 80th for 190 points while Jude Raza finished 44th for Felpham CC.


There were not complete local school teams in the  Junior Girls race but three runners from different schools finished inside the top 50 out of a field of 140 finishers with Cerys Dickinson from St Philip Howard in 21st, Amelie McGurk from Bishop Luffa in 39th and Izzy Isitt from Felpham CC in 41st.


A further two more members of Chichester Runners were in action in the Hampshire Schools event at Southampton on Saturday with Liam Dunne securing county selection with an excellent 3rd place in the Intermediate Boys race running for Bohunt School while Joe McLarnon from Ditcham Park made the top 20 with a battling performance finishing 17th in the Junior Boys race.