Copthill Invitational Cross Country

It was fantastic to return to Copthill for their Annual XC event which Covid19 has put a stop to for the past two years. Though the conditions were not favourable, the St Hugh's team rose to the challenge and embraced the rain, mud and hills!

Our Director of Sport, Katie Felton reports on the event:

"The U9 girls opened the event which saw runners covering a distance of 1.4km. Ensuring we arrived in good time was critical as this gave us the opportunity to walk the course first which is always helpful as it gives the runners a chance to become familiar with the route and note any inclines, change of terrain and so on. It was a fun undulating course as well as a scenic one and there were even some donkeys and goats there to support!

The team consisted of Charlotte J, Penelope L, Coco W, Tabitha H-S, Olivia A and Arabella G. These girls were the top six finishers in the recent set cross country. With a slight delay to the race, the girls eagerly awaited the start having found themselves a good position on the start line. With a mass start of over 50 runners the team did well and Charlotte secured a position in the lead pack. Every team member gave it their all and battled hard through to the finish line. It was an outstanding performance by Charlotte J who crossed the line in 2nd place. Penelope was our second runner home followed by Coco, who both ran extremely well as Year 3's. Our fourth counter for the St Hugh's team was Tabitha H-S, followed by Olivia A and Arabella G.

Next up was the U9 boys and it was great to have Kaz running as a Year 3, joining our Year 4 boys - James F, Keegan N, Sam H, Rory S and George C. Once again, St Hugh's demonstrated good tactics when positioning themselves on the start line. It was an incredibly competitive start, which saw Keegan and James forming the lead pack. It didn't take long for Kaz to work his way forward and he ran as our second placed boy up to the final stretch where Keegan demonstrated a very strong finish. It was great to see James back in action and he didn't fail to impress. He crossed the line in third place, quickly followed by Keegan (5th) and on his back, Kaz (6th).  Our fourth counter was Sam H who put up a heroic performance earning crucial points for the team. Rory S and George C also had a pleasing run, showing grit and determination throughout. A superb team effort put St Hugh's in first place, winning the U9 Boys category!

The U11's had a slightly more gruelling course, which included two laps of undulating land covering a distance of 2.4km! Following a thorough warm up with Miss Britten, the runners knew what was in store and approached their races with confidence.

First up was the U11 Girls' race. Again, a team of six runners were selected which included two of our Year 5 Girls, Kitty and Millie. It was another fast mass start which saw Florence breaking out after the first 60m to set the pace. The other five girls did very well to to get a good start before settling into their race pace.

It became clear quite early on that Florence had competition with a strong runner leading the way. However, she did well to keep her in sight and not allow the gap to open. She held her position and finished in an impressive second place.  Charlotte and Ailsa followed,  maintaining their position in the top 12 throughout. Charlotte ran consistently over the 2.4kms and managed to achieve 6th place. Shortly after, Ailsa crossed the line as ninth girl overall and was our third finisher.

It was also a really pleasing performance from our younger runners, Kitty and Millie. Though Kitty had a few moments where she looked like she may drop her pace, she showed great resilience and finished extremely well. Millie stuck close to Kitty and it wasn't  until they emerged up the steep bank, that Kitty pushed on. Angelina followed shortly after and despite her knees troubling her, she gave it everything she had.  Kitty was our fourth runner to count followed closely by Millie and Angelina. Another superb team effort from the U11 girls which earned them 2nd place overall. They were delighted to finish as runners up.

The final race saw our U11 boys tackle the same course. They had a long wait in the cold drizzle and did very well to stay warm and keep focussed on the race ahead. This was quite a young team, with three Year 5's and three Year 6's. Aydin had an incredibly quick start over the first 100m to lead the pack but it didn't take Rupert long to work away and climb the ladder to lead the St Hugh's team. It was a competitive race and our boys worked hard over this challenging course. Rupert was our first finisher, crossing the line in 9th place. He did very well to make the top ten in a challenging race and it was lovely to hear his name being chanted by the younger pupils as he approached the final stretch. The chants then changed to Will L, as he dug in to finish as our second boy. Austin and Aydin followed to compete the St Hugh's team, showing good strong finishes. Matthew H performed well in his first event for the school team and even managed a smile for the camera as he passed me! Wilf worked as hard as ever, giving his very best. He left nothing in the tank and this was evident as he crossed the finish line. A pleasing effort from all.

A huge thank you to our loyal supporters who travelled to Copthill and got out on the course to cheer on every St Hugh's pupil. This always makes a huge difference to the runners and I know they appreciate it. Thanks must also go to Miss Britten, who clocked up a few kilometres whilst supporting -  and ended up a little muddy! To Mr Mayhew for warming the teams up and getting them to the start line and to our Headmaster, Mr Wyld, for his encouragement and support throughout the afternoon.

A great day for the St Hugh's runners who represented the school impeccably. Well done. We look forward to publishing full results once received from the organisers."