ATHLETICS: The third round of the Oxford Mail Cross Country League took place at Middleton Cheney.
As was the case last year this round was combined with the county championships and Bicester Athletics Club were able to hail their first cross country county champion for many years as Sophie Wheeler took the U11 event over a tough 1200 metre course clocking 4mins 41secs.
This was her second victory of the winter in the Oxford Mail League and propels her to first place in the overall standings with just two events to go. Amy Gould recorded her second top ten finish of the season as she followed Wheeler home in ninth (5mins 3secs) leaving her in eighth place after three events.There was a good Bicester representation in the U11 girls race making up 25% of the 52 strong field. Olivia Bruce enjoyed a rare victory over Molly Acton as he finished 19th (5mins 21secs) but Acton (who was 21st in 5mins 30secs) is still flying high in the overall standings (11th place). Maisie Silvester has been splendidly consistent throughout the winter and she ran well again for 23rd position and 5mins 32secs) while track star Lauren Garside is gaining valuable stamina from her winter exploits as she placed 30th in 5mins 47secs. Further down the field Charlotte Whittingham was a big improver in 34th (5mins 57secs) while Lucy Stowell was placed in the first 40 for the first time finishing in 39th (6mins 7secs).
In the U11 boy’s event run over the same distance there was another close battle between Fergus Jones and Tom Couzens. Jones just got the better of Couzens finishing sixth in 4mins 35secs just four seconds ahead of Couzens who was seventh. Lucas Davies consolidated his fine last run with another solid placing in 16th in 4mins 50secs. He had to work hard to hold off a resurgent Billy England.
U13 girl Rhiannon Penfold continues to make pleasing progress. For the third time running she improved her position completing in 25th place (13mins 49secs). Jonty Renk and Tom Gould had a tremendous scrap in the U13 boy’s race and only one second and one placing separated them as they both finished in the top ten with Renk 9th (11mins 25secs) and Gould 10th (11mins 26secs). U17 James Minchin ran a very creditable 164th in the senior race.