SOUTHEND High School for Girls are celebrating their most successful crop of cross-country runners ever.
The school’s intermediate girls team won the English Schools Cross-Country Cup final title for the second year in a row.
And three of the team also won the national title as junior girls in 2009 – making them the most decorated athletes in the school’s long and illustrious cross-country history.
The three – Liberty Good, Olivia Sofroniou and Victoria Hiscock – have also been at every national final since they were Year 7 pupils. And on the only occasion they didn’t finish on top of the podium they were runners-up.
“That is a record for our school,” said Southend High School for Girls head of PE Sue Simpson. “It is a fantastic achievement.
“These girls are a credit to themselves, their school and their parents. It has been an absolute pleasure to work closely with them.”
The trio were joined in the victorious intermediate girls team by Abigail Uden, Natasha May and Roisin Browne, as they wrapped up the title with ease, beating their nearest rival by 45 points over a challenging course in Bolton.
Hiscock led them home with a fantastic run for fourth place, followed by Uden (25th), Good (26th), May (28th), Sofroniou (34th) and Browne (84th).
“Victoria had a storming race,” said Mrs Simpson. “She was really unlucky not to finish in the top three over what was a really tough, muddy cross-country course.
“Our top four were all in the top 30 which is a brilliant result. To do that in a national final is no mean feat.”
And though for many of that intermediate girls team, the race in Bolton was their last in the competition, the success of the school’s junior girls squad means the High School’s strength looks like it will carry on for plenty more years to come.
The junior girls team of Katie Feint, Megan Richardson, Ella Healey, Joanna Rimmington, Juliette Le Mare and Lainey Terkelson finished runners-up, much to the delight of their teachers.
“They didn’t even qualify for the final last year,” Mrs Simpson said. “So to come runners-up a year later is an incredible achievement.
“It was a surprise. We know they have been getting better because they have been working so, so hard. We have been trying to encourage them to run together and they’ve been learning to do that.
“I thought they might finish in the top six, I didn’t think they’d get second!
“It was really hard for the girls just to make the squad and the team that went to the national finals was not the same one that came through the qualifying rounds.
“We had a lot of trials and ended up picking horses for courses because we knew the course at Bolton was tough. So we picked the girls that were running best over the Hadleigh Downs in training.”
Iona Doyle and Rebecca Hurford were the unlucky girls to miss out on running at the finals but whose efforts in the qualifying rounds ensured the team made it to Bolton.