The Banbridge Academy cross-country athletes had their first competitive outing of the season last week at the Co Down District Championships held at Campbell College in Belfast.
On a cold crisp day Patrick McNiff once again took the headlines winning the Senior Boys’ race in some style – 50 metres ahead of his nearest rival. Bethany Nixon ran an excellent race to finish in the Silver medal position in the Inter Girls’ race, all the more impressive as she has another year in this age group. Nadia Radcliffe also medalled winning bronze in the Junior Girls’ race in a massive field of runners. In the Minor Boys’ race, Simon Ferris just missed out on a medal finishing in 4th position but qualifying for the Ulster Championships, as did Matthew Stevenson who finished 8th in the Minor Boys’ and Julia Knox who finished 14th in the Inter Girls’ race. Julia is also a year young for this category. All the athletes should be applauded for their superb racing in difficult conditions.
The Academy also had many other runners competing in the ten different races. In the Mini Boys’, Kian Moran (20th), Luke Charman (29th), Daniel Reid (35th) and Josh Brownlee (36th) all backed up Matthew’s performance to lead the team to an impressive 4th place overall. In the Minor Boys’ race Ronan Quinn (30th) and Daniel Douglas (44th) competed admirably in a field of 150 runners.
In the Mini Girls’ race, Emma O’Neill (26th) and Jemima Turkington (36th) enjoyed their first outing as Banbridge Academy athletes while Ruth Douglas, Holly Fisher, Pippa Wilson, Ruby Wilson, Jenna Whiteside and Sarah Williamson made up a formidable Minor Girls’ team who acquitted themselves well in a huge race of 140 competitors. Also in the Inter Girls’ race and backing up the performance of Bethany and Julia, Ruby McNiff (17th), Lucy Bradshaw (29th) and Kathryn McGrath (48th) ran extremely well but unfortunately, the team missed out on Ulster qualification by just one point! However, all the girls in that team have another year in this category and are sure to come back stronger next year.
So it was another outstanding day for the Academy runners and they all should be credited for their efforts.
A special well done to our six Ulster qualifiers and we wish them all the best for Wednesday 21 February at Mallusk Playing fields.