School Sport: Coopers pupils make history
PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 December 2015
Best yet for cross-country and swimming squads
Coopers Coborn pupils produced some excellent displays at the Cross-Country Cup National Finals at Bedford at the weekend.
The junior boys and girls teams travelled to the event after winning the Essex round and finishing in the top three of the North Thames regional event, leaving them among the top 24 teams from thousands of secondary schools nationwide.
And the boys built on their successful display at the Knole Run, when they won a team medal, to finish seventh overall and record the highest ever finish by a Coopers boys team at the finals.
Alex Ford led them home in 13th place, with Josh McGill (32nd), Henry Lay (44th) and captain Ben Naish (52nd) completing the scoring quartet as Bradley James (94th) and Dominic Jarvis (121st) also competed.
The girls finished eighth overall after a superb display from Abigail Ives, who tracked two other runners until halfway through the race and then with around 800m to go burst to the front of the pack and came home in first place for a stunning individual victory.
Ives finished 30m clear of the field, with Alice Brown (53rd), Poppy Ellis (55th) and Hannah Panchal (65th) completing the scoring as Alice Atkins (114th) and Ava Poulson (127th) also finished.
Assistant headteacher Mark Duncan said: “The students stayed overnight which really helped the team bond even further and this was definitely reflected on the field.
“They gave everything for one and other with all students crossing the line having left it all on the field.
“The boys showed outstanding spirit amongst the whole team with an inspirational talk from captain Ben at the start line.
“It was also a great team performance from all of the girls and a special mention must go to Abigail.
“It was a fantastic weekend away with the team and great to see such enthusiasm and passion for cross-country running from all involved.
“It’s a brilliant end to this term and we now set our sights on the Senior Knole Run for our older runners, Essex Schools Championships and Radley Relays in the New Year.”
*Coopers pupils were also celebrating indoors after inflicting a first home defeat in 12 years on Harrow School in their annual swimming gala.
The Upminster school took three boys teams to a highly competitive meet, complete with electronic timing, and races were extremely close throughout.
Lewis Binning won the junior (Y789) 100m medley in 1.08.39 and the 50m butterfly in 30.75 while setting three school records, while Sam Little took the junior 50m freestyle in 29.25.
Joe Groves set a school record and won the intermediate (Y10-11) 100m medley in 1.10.39, while Dan Sida won the 50m butterfly in 32.42.
Coopers also saw senior (Y12-13) Harry Fox set three school records and win his 50m backstroke in 30.17, as Tom Badley took the 50m breaststroke in 33.63.
The success did not end there, though, as Coopers on the junior medley relay in a school record of 2.12.93 thanks to the efforts of Alfie Brown, Nathan Banga, Binning and Little and took the junior freestyle relay in a record of 1.58.70 as the same quartet combined to good effect.
All of which saw Coopers finish the gala with a total haul of 117 points, which allowed them to pip Harrow by a single point.
Assistant headteacher Mark Duncan said: “This is the first time in 12 years that Harrow have been beaten at home and it’s a remarkable result for the Coopers team and testament to the hard work as well as sheer grit and determination all swimmers showed on the day.
“The boys had several races each, more than most other galas, and definitely deserved this victory. Great hospitality was shown by Harrow School as well and all in all it was a fantastic fixture for our swimmers!”