The curtain was brought down on the Oxford Mail Cross Country League last Sunday 3rd March in the final event staged at Harwell. Once again the Bicester AC turnout was high with 44 runners contesting the 8 races.

The Bicester under 11 girl’s team have had a fantastic season and none have been better than Amy Gould. She achieved her fourth top 4 finish on Sunday with 4th place and a 4mins 49secs clocking over the 1000 metre course. This was good enough for 4th place overall in the final standings. Maisie Silvester was an excellent 6th in the overall standings although she was a little below par in her final run placing 14th in 5mins 5secs. The biggest improvement of the day came from Lucy Stowell who placed 15th just 4 seconds down on Silvester. This was a remarkable effort given that she was only 43rd in race 1. Millie Couzens ran her normal consistent race and was 18th in 5mins 12secs to place 14th in the final overall standings. Other Bicester under 11 girl placings were Lauren Garside 27th, Freya Smith 28th, Emilia Sims 40th, Beth Hipwell 42nd, Molly Acton 50th, Paige Scarlett 51st, Katie Ford 52nd, Holly Hunter 53rd, Tomoka Moore 56th, Erin McWhinnie 63rd, Evie Price 64th, Caitlin Lovell 65th, Nicole Heiyink 68th, Molly Nuyent 69th and Natlalia Cox 73rd. There were 29 under 11 Bicester girls who competed throughout the series.

Sophie Wheeler was Bicester’s star under 11 performer last season but she has found life tougher in her first year in the older under 13 age group. However she saved the best for last as she placed a fine 7th in 8mins 34secs, just 5 secs off 4th place, to finish 9th in the final overall standings. She was well supported on the day by Jennie Procter who was having only her 2nd race of the winter finishing 16th in 8mins 51secs. Kerry Hickman recorded her best placing of the winter in 29th (9mins 56secs) ahead of teammates Erin Higginbottom (31st) and Ellie Laurie (35th).

Bicester’s oldest competitor on the day James Minchin, who is still under 20, and competing in the senior race, produced his best ever cross country performance over the 8000 metre plus course. Minchin, with what a real breakthough performance, was an outstanding 71st out of the 183 finishers clocking 35mins 41secs.

There was another excellent Bicester turnout for the under 11 boy’s race with 15 athletes coming under starter’s orders. With Bicester’s best performer of the winter Tom Couzens absent, there was a good scrap to lead the team home. In the event it was Lucas Davis who got the nod placing 10th in 5mins 19secs, just one place and 3 secs better than Billy England. William Sims ran his normal reliable race to place 20th (5mins 45secs) with Freddie Taylor confirming his recent advance in form with 23rd place (5mins 49secs). There was a personal best effort lower down the Bicester places from Ben Groves in 49th place. Other Bicester placings included James Rendell 26th, Samuel Worfolk 28th, Michael Cadle 39th, Joseph Nuyent 44th, Henry Lay 45th, Cameron Scarlett 47th, Joseph Rayner 51st, Will Court 56th, Daniel Lovell 62nd and Mathew McDonald 64th.

Tom Gould put in another fine shift in the under 15/17 boy’s race to place 20th in 19mins 52secs which was good enough for 7th overall in the final under 15 standings. Kieran Bird was the lone competitor hoisting the Bicester flag in the under 13 race and he placed 20th in 9mins 2secs. The track season cannot be too far away as two of Bicester’s track specialist got some extra stamina training with Litou Michaelidou placing 30th and Orla Welby 32nd in the under 15/17 girls race.