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Three cheers for our Senior Cross Country girls and their run of recent successes. Firstly, our Year 9 and 10 girls came second in the English Schools Cross-country Cup National Final which took place in Newquay, Cornwall.  Secondly, the same year groups’ team won Sevenoaks School’s prestigious The Knole Run, arguably the most prestigious cross-country race for independent schools in the south of England. Thirdly, our Year 9 to Year 11 girls have qualified for a second English Schools Athletics Association national cross-country competition Final on 19 March.

Mr James Morrow, who looks after Cross Country in the Senior School, expressed his delight: “Our exceptional girls’ school cross-country team has had an outstanding season’s running. From finishing second in the English Schools national cross-country final to winning the prestigious Knole Run, this will be a year to go down in the annals of Highgate School sport. The credit of course lies with the girls for their extraordinary talent and their commitment; they should be enormously proud of what they have achieved. With many of them still only in Years 9 and 10, the best may well be yet to come!”

Izzy, Millie, Garance, (all Year 10), Gaia and Amaya (both Year 9) were on the winning team in the ESAA Cross-country Cup National Final. Mr Morrow, who looks after Cross Country in the Senior School, shares his memories of the competition just before the Christmas break, and the extra layer of excitement travelling down to Cornwall added for the girls:

Mr Morrow and Ms Pride with the Y9 and Y10 pupils at Paddington en route to Newquay (before their win as silver medal team for the National Championships!)

“Arriving in Newquay early on Friday afternoon we were greeted with the predicted grey blustery showers. Picking our way through the rather tired town we arrived at our lodgings, the hotel ‘Victoria’, last decorated, it appeared, in the time of Queen Victoria.

The next morning, after a carbohydrate rich breakfast, it was off to the event to make our team declaration.  The girls, warmed up and full of nervous energy, took their positions on the starting line. They were ready. The gun sounded and they were off – with Izzy quick to take a position amongst the leading group. The girls settled into their race rhythm. With Ms Pride, Mr Morrow and Ms Pegg stationed around the course shouting encouragement as the girls ran past, they pressed on. A final sprint over the last 100 metres and it was over. Needless to say, the girls were elated with the result. It is testament to the girls’ hard work and commitment to the sport. They should be very proud of what they have achieved.”

And slightly more recently, runners Izzy, Millie, Garance and Gaia won the girls’ team race at Sevenoaks School’s The Knole Run. The girls’ race is a single age group so the Highgate team were racing against girls in Year 11, 12 and 13 as well as year 10 and year 9. With finishing positions of 3,8,11 and 15 (out of 60 runners) their team score was 35, nearly twice as good as 2nd place!

Finally, Izzy, Millie, Gaia and additionally Lauren (Year 11) have qualified for a second English Schools Athletics Association national cross-country competition (this time representing their county, Middlesex). The qualifying round brought together runners from 9 boroughs and dozens of schools across London. Gaia finished 4th out of 61 in her race, and Izzy, Lauren and Millie 1st , 2nd and 4th respectively (out of 57) in theirs.  The girls are now in training for the Final on Saturday 19 March.

Ms Pride, Director of SpEx would like to give a special mention to Highgate runner Mia (Y13) who has raced for the School on a number of occasions, including this year’s Knole Run and will be leaving us in July. She says Mia is “very talented and utterly committed to her running, represented the school at countless fixtures, highlights of which include being part of a Knole Run medal winning team for 6 years in a row and being a medallist at Middlesex Schools’ championships on several occasions including 2018 U15 1500M county champion.” Mia says of her running “has just been a lot of fun!” and that she will continue with it at least for fitness.

Mr. Morrow says: “We will be very sorry to say goodbye to Mia. We couldn’t have asked for a more committed or talented runner. Not only has she run some of the finest races on school record but the consistency of her performances over the years has been exceptional.”

Mia, Izzy and Lauren in action at the ESAA XC regional round in St Albans