27 Bicester AC athletes braved what were very challenging conditions for the penultimate round of the Oxford Mail Cross Country League staged in Cirencester Park on Sunday 7th February, and were rewarded with the best set of collective results of the winter so far.  There were two individual wins and a team win and several Bicester athletes hold podium placings in the overall standings going into next month’s final heat.

Max Nicolle has had a quite fantastic first season over the country and he ran a superb race to record his maiden victory in the under 13 boy’s race contested over a 2,000 metre course.  Nicolle stopped the clock at 8mins 42secs, which gave him a lead of 8secs at the line.  Nicolle’s heroics spurred his teammates to a fantastic first place in the team race.  One of Bicester’s most improved cross country runners, Samuel Worfolk placed 8th, and Freddie Taylor made it a clean sweep of top ten finishes in this age group (10th) with Bicester’s other finisher James Rendell placing 19th.

Bicester’s other win came from the excellent Ben West, who has been positively burning up the fields of Oxfordshire this winter.  West’s age category (under 15) is always combined with the under 17’s.  And in the race itself, West placed 2nd ,  just 14 secs behind the winner.  However he was the leading under 15 finisher, some 41 secs ahead of the runner up.  This enabled West to retain his strong overall lead with one event to go.  Other Bicester finishers in the combined under15/17 age group were Tom Couzens (22nd) and Tom Gould (23rd).

Millie Couzens nearly made it a hat trick of Bicester wins as she finished 2nd in the under 13 girls race.  Her time of 9mins 6secs for the 2000 metre circuit was just 9 secs behind the winner.  Other Bicester finishers in this race were Amelia Cox (19th) and Freya Smith (27th).  Georgia Usher ran another fantastic race in the under 11 girl’s race contested over a 2,000 metre circuit.  Usher’s 4th place leaves her in 4th place in the overall standings with one race to go.  Imogen Cox recorded one of her best placings of the season in 13th  place with Bella Couzens in 16th.  Other Bicester finishers were Anna Couzens (22nd), Ava Neptune (38th) and Isabella Groves (40th).

Amy Gould has performed well in her first year in the under 15 girl’s age and she again placed well in the under 15/17 girl’s race clocking 14mins 21secs for 9th place which maintains her overall 4th in the under 15 girl standings.  Molly Acton was 32nd, two places ahead of teammate Libbie Nicklin who was 34th with the Bicester finishers completed by Holly Hunter (38th) and Bethany Liversidge (41st).

Michael Cadle led the under 11 boys home with a solid 11th placing which placed him 11th in the overall standings with one race to go.  And other Bicester finishers in this age group were Timothy Jones (24th), Harry Rendell (25th) and Ben Groves (27th).   In the combined under 9 race Holly Keeble was 17th and Oliver Frogley (22nd).