Chichester Runners’ under-17 cross-country team took gold medals as the Sussex League series drew to a close.
Both Chi’s men’s and women’s 17-and-under age group teams lead the way going into the final fixture at Hickstead Showground.
With parts of the usual course unable to be used after heavy recent rain, competitors tackled a new-look track.
Both races were over a 1,000m circuit, compromising five laps to make the 5k distance.
Going into the final race meet of the series, both Chichester under-17 teams had a slight lead at the top, so there was no room for any complacency.
From the gun, Chi’s male team had four athletes in the top ten. Will Broom and Leo Stallard were prominent in the lead group, while Luke Campbell and Brodie Keates chased hard.
A previous county champion, Joe Body, was up with the lead pack, while individual leader Tom Eames was also in contention.
With Broom and Eames fighting it out at the front, the latter pulled away in the closing stages to win by a three-second margin.
After Brook scored second, Chichester’s next finisher, Stallard, was fourth overall. Campbell then claimed sixth to ensure Chichester’s under-17 men’s team collected 12 points from the Hickstead meet.
Following this fine performance, Chi took the male team title by a whopping 26 points from Brighton and Horsham.
Chichester’s under-17 women’s squad faced a far sterner test in the final race. Leading the way by just eight points from Brighton & Hove, they were without injured Sussex Senior Schools’ champion Grace Wills.
Beth Brown stepped in for Wills to join regulars Alice Cox-Rusbridge and Florence Smith. All three were prominent at the start, knowing a good early position on a tight, twisty circuit. would be crucial as they went in search of a cross-country championship gold.
Running with both seniors and veterans, the race began to spread but Cox-Rusbridge was able to maintain contact with the leaders to finish 12th overall and crucially third in the under-17 category.
Brown and Smith were in a larger pack behind but did manage to finish in under-17 age-group top ten.
After Chichester collected a total of 20 points overall, a tense wait followed to see what Brighton & Hove had scored. Fortunately for all Chi Runners supporters, they could only muster 16 points, meaning Chichester took the season title by a four-point margin as Chi’s under-17 teams completed the double.
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