Bicester AC had their best turnout of the season at last Sunday’s latest round of the Oxfordshire Cross Country League at a muddy Horspath.  Bicester had athletes competing across the age groups.  This round of the Oxfordshire Cross Country League also incorporated the Oxfordshire Cross Country Championships.

Bicester fielded a very competitive team of four runners in the under 17 men’s event staged over a 6k course.  At the end of the first of two laps Owen Stocker and Finley Colverson Martin were in a group vying for 3rd place.  Stocker, who is having an outstanding season, turned up the heat on lap 2 and manged to get distance on his rivals to take a superb 3rd place clocking 22mins 25secs, a result that is likely to move him up in the league standings after three events.  Stocker also won the bronze medal in the individual under 17 men’s Oxford County Championship event.  Colverson – Martin made a welcome return to action having not raced properly since the Spring so his 6th place in 22mins 55secs was a commendable effort given his long absence from competitive action.  The team’s scoring places were completed by improving Isaac Moran, running in his first county championship event, who placed 15th (24mins 22secs).  The under 17 men’s team achieved their highest team placing of the season, finishing 2nd, which will have moved them up in the team standings.  They were also silver team medallists in the County Championships.   Joshua Moran was Bicester’s other finisher running a well controlled race for 20th (25mins 27secs).  In the under 17 women’s race, also run over 6km, Anna Jolliffe finished a competitive 4th in 26mins 41secs which is likely to have moved her up a place in the standings to 4th after three events.  Jolliffe was also a bronze medallist in the individual under 17 women’s event.  

Darragh Cassidy ran another superb race in the under 13 boy’s race run over 3km to record his second top ten finish of the season with 6th place and a 12 mins 09 secs clocking.  Although the under 13 boys were not able to emulate their team winning performance of the previous race, they finished a competitive 5th, just 5 points away from the third team spot.  Other team scorers were Erlgean Appiahkornag-Mensah in 19th (13mins 04secs) closely followed by Max Finnegan who was 21st (13mins 11secs).  There was also a debut run for Thomas Perry who did well to master the conditions for 31st (14mins 24secs).

Edward Jolliffe made a welcome return for Bicester, and he led the men’s team home to their best team finish of the season with an excellent 37th out of the 277 finishers clocking 32mins 21secs for the 8km course. Jolliffe was also 8th in the under 20 men’s race which was incorporated into the main senior race.  Bicester’s 2nd finisher was also under 20 as Ben Groves again showed his all-round athletic prowess with 170th (39mins 51secs).  Paul Jones was next in placing 206th place (42mins 04secs) ahead of ain improving Arran Critchley who was 233rd (44mins secs).  The Bicester scorers were completed by Tom Gould in 259th (48mins 17secs).

Bicester AC’s other top ten finisher placing was from Tommy Lancaster who was making his competitive debut for Bicester, and he did well to finish 9th in the mixed boys and girls’ under 9 race run over 1.4km.  Bicester enjoyed their best turnout of the season in this age group with Samuel Wilson next finisher in 25th.  Olivia Maxwell, competing in her first race in Bicester colours, was 33rd, Brendan Kelly was 35th with brother Oliver, also making his debut, 42nd.

Bicester’s under 13 girls have performed consistently as a team throughout the season and were rewarded a superb team bronze medal in the Oxfordshire Cross Country Championships held in conjunction with the Oxfordshire League.  Ella Myers-Finnegan made the top third of finishers with a fine 11th and a 13mins 58secs clocking for the 3km course.  Kate O Malley produced another decent effort for 21st (15mins 51secs) with the team scorers completed by Emilie Stocker who was 35th (18mins 46secs).

Bicester had a good turnout in both of the under 11 races.  The Bicester trio of Lily Childs, Maya Korn and Nancy Alcraft were again closely matched, and it was Childs who came out on top on this occasion with a 6mins 43secs clocking for the 1.4km course.  Maya Korn ran her close and was just two places behind in 20th (6mins 50secs).  Nancy Alcraft was a further two seconds back in 22nd (6mins 53secs).  Bicester’s other finisher was Lily Rose Hopkins in 36th (8mins 05secs).

Cyrus Ariana contested his first Oxfordshire Cross Country League event of the season, and he led the Bicester runners home in 21st in the 42 strong field clocking 6mins 5secs for the 1.4km course.  Zachary O Reagan performed well again in only his second cross country event finishing 27th (6mins 17sec).  Cameron Waters has produced a good level of consistency this Winter and he was 30th (6mins 24secs).  Felix Cassidy improved on his debut run with 32nd (6mins 33secs) whilst Shay Gallagher ran his first Oxfordshire League race of the season finishing 34th (6mins 42secs).  Bicester’s finishers were completed by Ivan Stocker who was 40th (7mins 35secs).    

Bicester’s two competitors performed well in a competitive heat of the under 15 boy’s race run over 4.8km.  William Morris finished in 19th (18mins 56secs) with George Hart 24th (19mins 39secs).  In the corresponding under 15 girl’s race, run together with the boy’s event over 4.8 km course, Abigail Jones was 21st (23mins 28secs) with Bethany Wetton finishing in 28th (29mins 12secs).

Leanne Stocker became the 5th member of the Stocker family to compete during the afternoon in the final event the senior ladies event run over 8km.  She led home the trio of Bicester runners finishing 131st (50mins 04secs.  In only her second run for Bicester Katrina O Malley did well to finish in 155th (54mins 08secs).  And there was a welcome return to action for Emily Benfield, who showed no sign of rustiness in 158th (54mins 59secs).