A good sprinkling of young athletes representing their districts travelled to these annual championships on a cold overcast Saturday morning.
These champs have the extra incentive of the first six home being selected to represent Essex at the English Schools in Leeds in March. Moreover, the top 20 would represent Essex next month at Popham in the South East Schools Inter Counties. From these races a further two athletes per age group would be added to the six previously selected for the English Schools.
In the Junior Girls race we had five Woodettes on the start line from 80 odd competitors. Kezia Beeton should be happy with 7th, just missing out on automatic qualification to the English Schools - but she has a chance to make these championships next month. Kezia was actually only 8 seconds shy of 4th spot. Next in was top year Miya Maeda, with a good 11th, not far behind Kezia, which earned her a county call-up. Like Kezia, Miya has a second chance of making the All England Schools when she runs at Popham. Much credit to the other three girls: Mary Hardy 24th, Larna Morgan 32nd, and Bronya Overington 39th. These girls were all bottom year in this race.
In the Junior Boys race Jimmy Geller (photo right) had a brilliant run to be crowned Essex Schools Champion - even more so as he bottom year. Jimmy took the lead midway during the race and needed a sprint finish to hold off the second-placed athlete, Howells, who was the pre-race favourite. A boy who may well be joining our ranks is Danny Raymond, who finished in an outstanding 7th place. Danny has never trained for running prior to this race but is a keen footballer. This performance earned him his first county vest, and if he replicates this performance on Saturday week he could be joining Jimmy at the English Schools. The following runners, all bottom year, should take great credit for their performances. Luca Gormley 21st (reserve for Inter Counties), Nathan Wright 24th, Ben Savidge 39th, William Kok 45th, and Thomas Kok 56th. Around 90 started.
In the Inter Girls race Ellen Savidge had a really good run for 22nd, just missing out on automatic selection for the Inter Counties - but she should make it next year as, like so many others, Ellen is a bottom year runner. Poor Wren McLean-Jackson found it hard going for 28th. However Wren has bounced back from her disappointment with some fine sessions since and is in good spirits. Great credit to her.
In the Inter Boys race three of our lads toed the line. Kai Boggon was always in the leading pack of four until late in the race. Aaron Samuels broke away to win. Kai battled hard and put in a great sprint to gain bronze medal position and automatic selection for his third English Schools in the last two years. Rhys Edwards was not that far adrift as he claimed an excellent 7th place, with Kieran Allgood, coming back from injury, in 9th. Both Rhys and Kieran will be giving their all on Saturday week for the final two spots for the English Schools.
Louise Gilbert placed 14th in the Senior Girls race. Louise felt she misjudged this run and is confident she can grab one of the two remaining spots for the English Schools at Popham.
Thomas Adolphus had a fine run for 17th place and secured his first Essex selection in the Senior Boys race.