CALLUM Bampton’s hopes of a big finish to the season at the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships on Saturday ended in bitter disappointment – but in contrast fellow Swindon Harrier Will Crisp was left smiling.
Ridgeway School student Bampton had high hopes for the finale of the season at Donington Park after winning the county championships and then a bronze in the South West but in a cruel blow the 16-year-old didn’t even make the start line for the inter boys’ race.
“I travelled up with the team on Friday but my Achilles tendon was really hurting and I knew that even from walking there was no way I could run,” said Bampton.
“It is a problem I have had on and off for a while and it just flared up. In one way it was an easy decision to make as I couldn’t walk properly let alone run and I could have done real damage had I tried to compete but it was still very disappointing and frustrating that I had to pull out.
“But I can’t afford to dwell on it. I’ll have some rest to get rid of the problem and then get ready for the track season.”
Fortunately clubmate Crisp, who had suffered a similar feeling the previous week after a bad performance at the Inter Counties, bounced back in style with an excellent run in the junior boys’ race.
Running aggressively from the gun the 14-year-old, who was representing Oxfordshire as he is a student at Farrington Community College, crossed the line in 13th for a massive improvement on his 177th 12 months ago.
“It was a really good performance from me and I beat the people I wanted to,” said Crisp.
“I knew after my bad run in Birmingham it was a mental thing so I went out hard and got among the leaders early on. I dropped back to 25th at one stage but then came through strongly at the finish.
“That is a really good end to the season for me and now I can look forward to the track season.”
Another Harrier to show up well was 17-year-old Lillie Bellamy, who was wearing the colours of Gloucestershire as she is currently completing her A Levels at Cirencester College.
Her preparation hadn’t been as good as she wanted but nevertheless Bellamy came 29th of the 321 finishers in what proved to be her second best result of her schools’ career with a 15th in the 2010 junior event her highest finish.
“Looking at the bigger picture I should be pleased with making the top 30 but I always feel slightly negative afterwards,” said Bellamy.
“I think I am as happy as I could be considering various problems. But it was also sad and emotional afterwards being my last appearance in the English Schools’ and thinking this was the end.”
As expected top Wiltshire performer was St Laurence School student Alex Carter, who finished 10th in the senior boys’ race on his farewell performance in the event.
“I know I won a bronze in this race last year but you can’t win medals every year and I knew I wasn’t in as good a shape as 2013,” said Carter.
Leading runner in the inter girls’ race as Malmesbury’s Zoe Wassell in a very creditable 27th which is her best performance in the event. Shaldon School’s Gemma Shepherd, who is a former member of Marlborough & District Juniors, was 31st.
The Howorth twins of St Augustine’s School both made the top 50 in the junior boys’ race finishing 21st and 46th respectively.
English Schools’ Cross Country Championships RESULTS Junior boys – 35th, Wiltshire 1070 points: 21 John Howorth (St Augustines); 46 Robert Howorth (St Augustines); 210 Jack Bennett (Sarum Academy); 214 Finley Lloyd-Gilmour (Stonehenge); 281 Nathan Huynh (Ridgeway); 298 Taylor Oakley (BWS).
Inter boys – 40th, Wiltshire 1,667pts: 56 Will Stockley (Melksham Oak); 58 Cameron Perkins (Hardenhuish); 193 Sam Rockett (St Laurence); 253 Jaymee Domoney (St Joseph’s); 300 Jesse Bacon (Corsham).
Senior boys – 39th, Wiltshire 1,327pts: 10 Alex Carter (St Laurence); 171 Ciaran Cooper (New College Swindon); 226 Connor Wright (Sheldon); 244 Ben Complin (BWS); 298 Harry Butt (BWS).
Junior girls – 29th, Wiltshire 1092 pts: 47 Caitlin Wosika (John of Gaunt); 157 Jade Littlechild (Corsham); 206 Anna Tuck (SWGS); 215 Scarlett Rockett (St Laurence); 230 Katie Strange (Hardenhuish); 237 Chloe Crippen (Nova Hreod); 329 Jess Tregoning (Godolphin School); 331 Arian Watling (St Mary's).
Inter girls – 22nd, Wiltshire 832 pts (27 Zoe Wassell (Malmesbury); 31 Gemma Sheppard (Sheldon); 150 Yasmin Watling (St Mary); 153 Elen Lindsay (Sheldon); 215 Miranda King (Malmesbury); 256 Eve McCormack (Lydiard Park Academy); 300 Kirstie Roberts (Malmesbury); 319 Hannah Thomas (Lavington).
Senior girls – 33 Wiltshire 1,138: 77 Alex Mundell (Godolphin School); 139 Kirsty Stanley (Sheldon); 147 Emma Clarke; 236 Angharad Jenkins (SWGS); 268 Maddie Perrins (Dauntseys); 271 Lizzie Rayner (Malmesbury); 286 Ellen Whatley (SWGS); 313 Kerri Allen (Sheldon).