Welsh Schools Cross Country Championships Preview
For the top schools’ cross-country runners in Wales, all roads lead to Brecon on Saturday, February 12th, when the Penlan playing fields are again the venue for the 59th Welsh Schools’ National Cross-Country Championships. Over many years this event has provided an excellent platform for young pupils to excel in the sport of athletics. Olympian Jake Heyward, GB Cross Country representatives Osian Perrin and Cari Hughes and Commonwealth Games marathon runner Josh Griffiths have all started their journeys in Welsh Schools’ Cross-Country Championships. The races also provide an enjoyable experience for runners of all levels and have inspired many pupils to take up athletics and to join their local club.
As in previous years, the race will also act as a selection opportunity to represent WSAA at the SIAB Cross Country event to be held in Pembrey on Saturday, March 26th. The selection policy for SIAB Cross Country is attached alongside this preview.
There are large numbers of pupils entered across the 8 school districts of Afan Nedd Tawe, Cardiff and the Vale, Dyfed, Eryri, Glamorgan Valleys, North East Wales, Powys and South East Wales. This is testament to the teachers and volunteers in these districts who have managed to hold district championships and put together strong fields despite ongoing challenges during the pandemic.
The first races of the day will see the Junior Girls and Junior Boys compete for individual and team honours. In March 2020 Cardiff and the Vale took the Junior Girls team title and Dyfed the Junior Boys team title. Millie Gold (St Illtyd's - Cardiff and the Vale) and Libby Hale (Bishopston - Afan Nedd Tawe) start as the favourites in the Junior Girls event but are likely to be pushed all the way by Ruby Herdman (Brecon High -Powys) and Josephine Hurst (Alun School - North East Wales). The Junior Boys is likely to be a more open race with recent Welsh U15 indoor 1500m champion Kerby Beltran (Corpus Christi - Cardiff and the Vale) and Welsh U15 indoor 3000m champion Miguel Jenkins (Ysgol Friars-Eryri) looking to feature.
The year 7 races are always very open as pupils get their first taste of Welsh Schools’ championship competition. In the team event, Cardiff and the Vale and Dyfed will be looking to defend their respective Girls and Boys titles.
In the Middle Girls race Beca Haf Bown (Bodedern - Eryri) will be the one to beat following her 2nd place at the recent Celtic Cross Country International in Belfast. She will however face a strong challenge for the individual title from Mali Macduff (Cowbridge - Cardiff and the Vale), Bethan Hardman (Cowbridge – Cardiff and the Vale) and Mai Davies (YG Gwyr -Afan Nedd Tawe). Iwan Thomas (Glan-Y-Môr - Dyfed) also recently excelled at the Celtic Cross Country International in Belfast and will lead the charge in the Middle Boys race. Powys will no doubt be gunning for the Middle Boys team title with Aled Breeze (Newtown), Callum Morgan (Welshpool) and Jack Organ (Gwernyfed High School) all in contention for the top spots. Recent Welsh U17 indoor 3000m gold medallist Henry Evans (Monmouth School - South East Wales) will also be looking to get amongst the spoils.
Previous medallists in the Junior and Middle age groups Moli Lyons (YG Bro Morgannwg - Cardiff and the Vale) and Samia Jones (Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen -Eryri) start as favourites in the Senior Girls race. In the Senior Boys race there will be an expected close battle between Frank Morgan (Bro Myrddin - Dyfed), Rhys Hardman (Cowbridge -Cardiff and the Vale), Deri McCluskey (Ysgol Llanfyllin - Powys) and Jacob Reynolds (Cardiff & Vale College - Cardiff and the Vale). Cardiff and the Vale will be looking to retain the Senior Girls team title whilst the Senior Boys is a wide-open team competition.
Welsh Athletics and Welsh Schools Athletics Association would like to thank all the staff, volunteers and teachers for their efforts in putting on what promises to be an excellent afternoon of racing.
The action starts at 13:00 with the Junior girls race.
For more information about the day, click here.