There was another fantastic Bicester turnout for last weekend’s combined latest Oxford Mail Cross Country League round and Oxfordshire Cross Country Championships staged at Horspath. Conditions were slippy underfoot with distances for some of the younger age groups longer than normal.

There were 19 Bicester finishers in the under 11 girl’s race and celebration for Bicester as Amy Gould collected her first ever cross country county medal finishing a fantastic third in the County Championships clocking 9mins 44secs. This was Gould’s best ever long distance performance and now places her 3rd overall in the Oxford Mail League standings. Also in third place in the overall standings is Maisie Silvester who ran another fine race on the day to finish in 6th place just 4 seconds down on Gould. One of the biggest improvers on the day was Lucy Stowell who produced her best ever cross country performance to place 23rd (11mins 16secs) some 9 places higher than her previous outing.

There was another consistent performance from Lauren Garside who was 26th (11mins 24secs) and she was just 8 secs ahead of Rishani Arumughan who recorded another strong top half finish in 29th place. Beth Hipwell performed well for 32nd (11mins 34secs) and she was just 7 secs ahead of another of big improver, Freya Smith who was 34th, some 12 positions higher than her previous placing. Other placings for the under 11 girls included Amelia Cox 35th, Daisy Newton 41st, Emelia Sims 46th, Mollie Bird 49th, Tomaka Moore 53rd, Evie Price 58th, Katie Ford 62nd, Tia Faulkner 65th, Molly Nuyent 66th, Nicole Heiyink 67th and Natalie Cox 68th.

There was also an excellent Bicester turnout in the under 11 boys race. Tom Couzens is one of Bicester’s most consummate performers and once again he showed his all round skill by being Bicester’s leading performer finishing 11th in 9mins 18secs. He had a battle on his hands as Lucas Jones had one of his best runs of the season finishing just 5secs down in 13th place. Billy England recorded another consistent performance in 16th place (9mins 43secs) and was comfortably ahead of old rival William Sims (24th in 10mins 18secs). George Starkey Vickers was back to form as he ran another solid race for 29th and 10mins 36secs. Other Bicester finishers included Freddie Taylor 41st, Michael Cadle 46th, Will Court 57th, Ben Groves 58th, Henry Lay 60th, Joseph Rayner 63rd, JosphNuyent 66th, Marvin Arumughan 69th and Tayler Garrett 73rd.

It is always tough when athletes go up an age group and several of Bicester’s athletes equipped themselves well against older athletes. Sophie Wheeler, who had swept all before her last year, has had a tough introduction into the under 13 age group. However she coped well again against older athletes and was a highly commendable 14th of the 43 finshers. Other Bicester placings included Kerry Hickman 32nd, Erin Higginbottam 34th, Ellie Laurie 38th and Sydney McDiarmid 41st. Tom Gould is having a fine season and was again Bicester’s top runner in the under 15/17 boy’s race. Although taking on older runners Gould performed well in 17th (24mins 49secs) and as 7th under 15 finisher may have a chance of being selected for the County. He was ahead of Jonty Renk (29th in 28mins 48secs). And James Minhin, who is still in the under 20 category, took on the senior men and had over a 100 finishers behind him as he placed 136th in 40mins 59secs.

Fergus Jones has had a quiet season so far but was back in action in the under 13 boy’s race and not disgraced in placing 22nd in 13mins 57secs. Kieran Bird was Bicester’s other finisher in this category (31st in 17mins 08secs). There were also two Bicester finshers in the under 15 girls race with Ellie Faulkner (34th in 25mins 18secs) leading home India McDiarmid (37th in 27mins 26secs).