The 2012/13 Athletics NI Primary School Cross Country League kicked off this week with P5 – P7 pupils competing across 6 counties, Down, Armagh, Antrim, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Londonderry (North West & Causeway Coast).
This year the league is sponsored by Flahavan’s, Ireland’s leading porridge oats producer. Schools in the Causeway Coast area were competing for the Springwell Cup. The first race in the series organised by Springwell Running Club in Association with Athletics NI took place on Wednesday 17 October at The University of Ulster Coleraine.
The top six pupils from each school count as the team score. The Schools that have the best overall score (taken from two out of three races) will be eligible for an overall county prize and the top three schools from the area plus the top five individuals will be entered into the ANI Primary School Cross Country Final. The top 20 Boys and Girls form the Final will be invited to join the ANI Junior Cross Country Squad.
Despite the heavy rain and howling winds on the day for the duration of the races nearly 200 primary School Boys/Girls completed the 1K two lap course.
The girls got the proceedings underway setting off at a blistering pace down the opening straight. By the end of the first lap the field had spread out with Niamh McCusker (St Marys PS) leading the way with the rest of the field close behind. Niamh maintained the pace on the second lap to win in 3.49, with fast finishing Hermoine Skuce (Irish Society PS) second in 3.50 and Ellie McBroom (Irish Society PS) third in 3.54.
The Boy’s race went off at a frantic pace with last year’s series winner Andrew Gordon (Garvagh PS) leading the field, a position which he held all the way to the line, finishing well clear in 3.22, he was followed in by Eoghan Gormley (Termoncanice PS) second in 3.33 and Sean McCusker (Glenravel PS) third in 3.35.
After the races Springwell’s London Paralympian, Sally Brown presented the medals to the top three in each race and signed autographs for her many young fans.
In the team events St Marys PS, Maghera lead the Girls, Termoncanice PS, Limavady lead the Boy’s and St Marys PS lead the Best overall School.
Springwell Running Club would like to thank the University for the use of their facilities and Sally for taking the time to present all the prizes. Thanks also to schools and parents who turn up to support the event and their kids also the members of Springwell who helped marshall the races in terrible conditions.
The next race in the series will over a 1200m course at the Riada Stadium, Ballymoney on Wednesday 5 December at 10.30 another exciting days racing is expected as the competition for the prizes at this early stage is very tight.