Year 12 pupil Rebekah Nixon was the star performer for Banbridge Academy as she bagged a gold medal in the recent County Down Schools’ Cross Country Championships.
Rebekah recaptured her old form and led a talented field in the Inter Girls race from start to finish to claim the gold medal and a place in the Ulster Championships.
Her performance was backed up superbly by not one but two members of the McNiff family: a flu-ridden Patrick and younger sister Ruby both had good days and qualified for the Ulster Championships.
Patrick, who was placed fifth in last year’s Irish Schools’ Championships, was severely under the weather yet still ran a controlled race to claim Silver. Ruby, new to the Academy in Year 8, ran brilliantly in a field of some 130 athletes to finish 13th and also qualify.
While these three stole the plaudits, they were not alone as some 25 athletes from the Academy participated in the annual Championships, once again held at Delamont Country Park.
On the day, some 1250 runners ran in 10 races and it was a magnificent spectacle of athletic endeavour and ability.
The Academy individuals and teams fared as follows:
In the Mini Girls race, Ruby was supported by five other talented runners. Lynsey Orr ran well to finish 20th and Bethany Nixon, sister of Rebekah, also scored well in 23rd. Suzy Neill 30th, Lucy Bradshaw 35th and Eve Purdy 89th completed the talented team which overall came a very impressive 5th.
In the Mini Boys race, Joel Nixon, Bethany’s twin, ran brilliantly to finish 18th in the largest field of the day of some 160 runners.
In the Minor Girls race, Elizabeth Little, Hannah Saul, Carly Wilson and Victoria Turner all ran well with Lizzy finishing 21st, Hannah 57th and the others well placed to score team points and finish 16th overall.
Adam McKibbin was the Academy’s sole Minor Boy and he raced well to finish a creditable 39 in a field of 125.
Kate Allenby and Katie Bingham ran well in the Junior Girls race while Tom Stannage 44th, Bailey Russell, Ross Scott and Oren Shimmons made up our Junior Boys team which finished 14th overall.
Rugby Dowds and Louise Priestly joined Rebekah Nixon in the Inter Girls race and both competed well to finish 28th and 54th respectively and the team finished 7th overall.
Finally, Caolan Quinn and Ryan Jordan ran in the Inter Boys race alongside Patrick McNiff and both boys played their part to finish 33rd and 76th respectively.
All in all, it was a most successful day for the Academy runners and we wish Rebekah, Patrick and Rugby well as they progress to the Ulster Championships on Tuesday 24th February at the Mallusk Playing Fields in Belfast.