Bicester AC’s Sophie Wheeler capped a magnificent season winning the overall under 13 girl’s Oxon Mail Cross Country League title when she placed 2nd in the final event of the season held at Harwell on 2nd March. Wheeler ran a canny last racing holding back in the early stages but picking up places in the 2nd half of the 2000 metre course to come through for a strong finish in the final stages clocking 8mins 11secs. The event, held in conjunction with the Oxon County Cross Championships, rewarded Wheeler with an excellent bronze medal in the County event. The overall Oxon Mail League title made up for the disappointment of 2 years ago when Wheeler was denied a high placing in the under 11 event succumbing to injury before the final event. She has also become Bicester’s first overall cross country title winner for several years.

Sophie Wheeler 1st place

The under 13 girl’s team have been Bicester’s strongest team and they just missed out on overall 3rd place in the team event. Amy Gould has made prodigious progress in her first season at this age group, coping with the extra 800 metre distance in admirable style and produced another fine effort on Sunday to take 8th (8mins 36secs) which earned her 9th place in the season standings. Molly Acton has had a consistent season and she finished strongly for 22nd (9mins) one place in front of Jennie Proctor who recorded the same time. There was further reward in the County Championships as the team of Wheeler, Gould and Acton collected the team silver medal. Other under 13 places included Maisie Silvester (31st), Lauren Garisde (33rd), Holly Hunter (36th), Sydney McDiarmid (40th), Lucy Stowell (41st) and Ellie Laurie (52nd).

Georgia Usher was very unlucky not to collect an overall title in the under 9 races as they combined the boys and girls races. This meant that although she has beaten every girl competitor of her age group, as she was overall 8th in the combined race standings, she missed out on what would have been a deserved title. Nevertheless as first under 9 girl again at Harwell she had the compensation of being crowned county champion. Michael Cadle could not live with Usher on this occasion but still finished 8th and he was overall 5th in the final standings.

There were fantastic cross country debuts in this age group for Lottie Doherty (12th) and Molly Doherty (14th). Other under 9s, who collected a medal for completing the series, and including their positions at Harwell were Erin Disbrey (49th), Ruby Silvester (46th), Joseph Nuyent (22nd) and Ben Groves (29th). Other under 9 finishers on the day included Imogen Cox (39th), Marvu Arumugham (49th), Ava Neptune (52nd) and Alex Watts (55th).

Bicester’s under 11s have perfomed with great credit this season. Millie Couzens built on her brilliant effort at Cirencester with a strong 7th place in the under 11 girl’s event, run over 1200 metres, for a final 8th placing in the overall standings. She was well supported by ever consistent Amelia Cox (18th) and the very much improved Rushaini Arumugham (19th). Other under 11 finishers included Freya Smith (33rd), Emelia Sims (45th), Evie Price (47th), Nicole Heiyink (48th), Katie Ford (52nd) and Millie Cox (53rd).

Freddie Taylor has been Bicester’s star performer in the boy’s under 11 age group and once again he was Bicester’s best performer at Harwell placing 7th and achieving the same place in the final standings. He was supported by James Rendell (27th), Samuel Worfolk (34th) and Will Court (41st). Tom Couzens has been Bicester’s best performer in the under 13 age group and he was again 12th clocking 8mins 2secs over the 2000 metre distance and placing 12th in the overall final standings. Couzens was supported on the day by Billy England (19th) and William Sims (23rd)

Tom Gould just missed out on a top 3 placing in the under 15 category overall standings as all three Bicester finishers in the under 15/17 category were separated by just 17 secs. Gould just got the verdict in 23rd place (20mins 32secs), two places in front of Dan Heiyink (20mins 42secs) with Owen Cox just 7 secs adrift of Heiyink in 26th spot.