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English Schools XC 2012 -  Ilton Airbase, Somerset   -   Saturday 17 March 2012

Kieran Reilly's best yet helps Kent win Senior Boys Championship

   Alex and Bobby race each other to individual medals and international selection

      Five IEK in team of 8 Intermediate Kent Girls who are 4th county in England

         Rebecca Weston is highest ever IEK Senior Girl

            James Pitcher (intermediate Boys) beats Kent u-15 silver medallist

In his final year at School, Kent Schools Senior Boys silver medallist Kieran Reilly (Dover Boys Grammar) was 15th in his third English Schools race, his best showing yet at this level. In finishing as Kent's 4th man Kieran helped the county to team gold as they swept aside the strong challenge from Southern neighbours, EssexKieran has improved with each outing - from 72nd in Manchetsr (2010) and 46th in Nottingham last winter, 2011

Another IEK making a last appearance in these Championships was Rebecca Weston (Kent College) who has truly returned to competitive racing after missing last winter - she was 14th, the highest yet by a Senior IEK female, and almost matched her best ever placing, when as a Junior she was 8th. In this field of 307 runners Rebecca led a Kent team of 8 Senior Girls to 19th of 37 Counties

Once again the limelight at a national event fell on two IEK individual medallists from the two most recent Nationals - the English Clubs (Parliament Hill, end of February) and, a week later, the UK InterCounties in Birmingham. Those two races were both run under UKA club age group rules which had kept these two

fine athletes apart, one as u-17 the other as u-15.

At school together in Sandwich, both went to Somerset with big reputations and racing pedigree - Alex Clay with two National silver medals at u-17 and Bobby Clay with two National gold medals at u-15 as well as an undefeated record at cross-country all this winter

Under School age group rules the pair raced together in Somerset as Intermediates (yrs 10 & 11) and their titanic battle did not disappoint – on a flat airfield, Bobby clinched her 3rd consecutive national title - this time by 60m - Annabel Mason (Yorkshire) took silver for the 3rd time to Bobby in a national race, with Alex a close 3rd ahead of a couple of previous national champions.

The Kent Intermediate Girls' team of 8 consisted of no fewer than five (5) IEK athletes who between them helped Kent finish 4th of 42 English Schools counties - in her first full season, Emily McKane (Archbishop School) not only broke into the top 100 but also, in 83rd, was 3rd Kent Girl home, having finished 6th in the County trial in January

Next IEK athlete to finish was Kent College's Amy Old in 180th - Fulston Manor's Lilly Coward - called up only two days earlier - was 256th among 300 of the country's

best cross-country runners in her first National English Schools race

In the two biggest fields of the day Juniors (yrs 8 & 9) Anna Weston (Kent College) and Max Shepley (St Edmunds) were both recovering from colds but served Kent Schools well : Anna (93 - 3rd Kent runner) Max (188) was 8th Kent finisher  .

Another IEK athlete who improves with every race is James Pitcher (Archbishop School) who, in his first English Schools, was 131st Intermediate Boy and 4th Kent scorer, outgunning Kent's No.2 Jack Goss (Ashford AC) by a massive 150m margin

Finishing in the top 8 of either Junior or Intermediate age groups at English Schools means automatic selection to represent English Schools in the Home Countries event one week after these championships - this year in Scotland.

Both Boobby and Alex are excused this national call-up as both had already been pre-selected to represent English schools at the World Secondary Schools championships in Malta on 29 March, an honour so far achieved by IEK runners Henny Freeman (Latvia, 1998) and Beth Carter (Czech) in 2008



No photographs of this event are available