Hawick Schools Cross Country Champions were crowned last Friday at a bustling Wilton Lodge Park.
The annual event organised by Teviotdale Harriers in association with Live Borders Active Schools, attracted over 400 enthusiastic runners competing in four keenly contested races with individual and team prizes up for grabs.
As well as the yearly Primary Schools P6/P7 boys and girls races, for the first time High School S1/S2 pupils would also race for boys and girls prizes.
Ava Hughes, Irvine Welsh, Maisie Ballantyne and Thomas MacAskill emerged worthy winners on a heartening day for the town, when every standard of runner accepted the challenge and tackled the courses in impressive fashion.
The Primary Schools girl’s race was first underway. Boasting 120 runners, the girl’s excitedly sped off to tackle the well-marked 1850m course and it was Drumlanrig St Cuthbert’s Ava Hughes who would emerge victorious. Although still only in P6, Ava raced home determinedly to claim gold in 8:23. Emily Gibson (8:33) finished a spirited second representing Trinity, with Poppie Gibson (8:42) running for Stirches a strong third.
Trinity claimed the girl’s team prize with a total of 56 points. Emily Gibson (2), Sophie Swan (8), Rhae Pringle (10), Emily Stormont (17) and Ellen Dobbie (19) were the counters. Drumlanrig (57) finished second only one point adrift with Wilton (90) in third.
In the 133 competitor boy’s race, another P6 runner was to claim the title. Wilton’s diminutive Irvine Welsh raced to victory in an impressive 7:37. Rhys Elliot (7:47) ran well for Stirches to secure second with Wilton’s Fraser Casson (7:49) finishing fast in third.
A strong Wilton quintuple romped to victory in the team competition as Irvine Welsh (1), Fraser Casson (3), Robbie Welsh (5), Jack Turnbull (8) and Taylor Rafferty (12) scored an impressive 29 points. Again Drumlanrig (58) took second with Denholm (95) completing the top three.
The overall Champion School Trophy was secured by Drumlanrig (115), with Wilton a close second (119) and Trinity (190) third.
Individual prizes were awarded at the picturesque Bandstand by Harriers club President Alan Coltman and the pupils and teachers dispersed back to their respective schools to make way for the older competitors.
Again the girls were first to race and 87 young S1/S2 Teri’s stood on the start line, ready to head out on the slightly further 2450m route. With a much coveted House competition up for grabs there was plenty to race for. Maisie Ballantyne running for Turnbull completed an impressive double, winning in 10:46. S1 student Maisie followed up last year’s Primary School victory with a tenacious run.
Kelly McKay (11:07) made it a Turnbull one-two running with great intent from start to finish. Tiegan Singleton (11:12) and Sophie Allott battled neck and neck to the line but it was the former, competing for Scott who prevented the Turnbull clean sweep by taking third in a close finish.
Unsurprisingly Turnbull won the girls team competition with Maisie Ballantyne (1), Kelly McKay (2), Sophie Allott (4), Sophie Allen (9) and Phoebe Gale (10) reaching a total of 26 points. Scott finished second (29) with Turnbull ‘B’ (88) third House.
The final race of the day included 92 boys and the promising Thomas MacAskill ran impressively for Douglas to take the gold in 9:16. Fellow Douglas House mate Ben Morozzo (9:41) gave a good account of himself to take silver with Jai Patterson (10:02) running purposefully for Turnbull completing the podium.
Douglas secured the team title with a dominant 23 points, Thomas MacAskill (1), Ben Morozzo (2), Matthew McDonald (5), Martin Goldie (7), Rocco Cuthbert (8) the five scorers. Turnbull (43) finished second with Scott (71) third.
These results earned Turnbull the overall Champion House title on 69 points, with Scott (100) second and Douglas (112) third.
Event organiser Rory Anderson couldn’t have been happier with how everything went: “Friday was a huge success and was great to see so many keen runners over the four races.
“It’s good to take part in such events but also be competitive and push for the best position you can get.
“I would also like to thank the continued support of our eight local schools and now also Hawick High School, the teachers, staff and helpers, all of whom gave up time and effort to back this worthy event and make it so worthwhile.”
A Harriers spokesperson also added: “We would like to thank Paul Scott and Euan Lindores for their efforts over the last few months, Gordon Webber for the gazebos and Hawick Waverley for use of their changing rooms.
“Last but not least a huge thanks to everyone who marshalled, officiated and provided any form of assistance in making this inspiring day such a success.”
If anyone who ran on Friday enjoyed the event and would like to give running another go Teviotdale Harriers meet every Wednesday 6pm, at Teviot Church in St George’s Lane.