Tank powers to victory in Devon Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Stover

Poppy Tank

PLYMOUTH College’s Poppy Tank easily retained her senior girls’ Devon Schools’ Cross Country title at Stover on Saturday.

Tank, who was fourth in last year’s English Schools’ Championships at Blackburn, finished more than a minute ahead of Exeter’s Katie Olding.

City of Plymouth AC runner Tank clocked 14 minutes and 29 seconds, with Olding coming home in 15.44.

Plymouth Studio School’s Great Britain international modern pentathlete Kerenza Bryson was third in 16.15.

The only other West Devon athlete in the top eight in that age group was Plymouth College’s Seren Allin, who was sixth (16.45).

Great Britain youth international Will Battershill missed out on defending his senior boys’ title as he was away at a university selection weekend.

Battershill had won four back-to-back Devon titles, but in his absence Exeter College’s Jake Smith claimed victory in a thrilling race that saw less than 30 seconds separating the top five.

Nathan BrownSmith clocked 24.21 to finish eight seconds ahead of Ivybridge Community College’s Nathan Brown (pictured) in second.

This age group was dominated by West Devon, who filled five of the top seven spots.

Tavistock’s Will Dax was fourth in 24.47, Ivybridge’s Owen Parkin fifth (24.50) and Devonport High School’s Tom Blackford (25.17) and Jack Williams (25.42) sixth and seventh respectively.

West Devon did struggle in the other boys’ categories.

Ivybridge’s Sam Yearling was the only top 10 West Devon athlete in the junior boys’ race. He finished third in 14.21.

Mount Kelly’s Tom Brew was the region’s only top 10 finisher in the intermediate boys’ event, coming home in eighth spot.

However, there was a bit more success in the minor boys’ race, where Ivybridge Community College provided three top eight finishes – Harry Stone (third), Ben Scott (seventh) and Olly Woodmason (eighth).

Ivybridge also claimed three top eight finishers in the minor girls’ competition. Olivia Travers was second behind East Devon’s Megan Hamilton-Strong, with fellow Ivybridge athlete Megan Craig just behind in third and Phillippa Murray eighth.

There was a strong junior girls’ race at Stover. As expected Torquay’s Molly Canham won in 13.03, but Mount Kelly’s Natasha Farrington was not far behind in second (13.12), with Plymouth High’s Jenny Milburn third (13.38).

There were no West Devon athletes in the intermediate girls’ top 10 – a race won by Dawlish’s Caitlin Apps.

Devon will now select their teams for the South West Schools’ Cross Country Championships on February 7 at Gloucester and the English School’s Championships in Nottingham on March 5.

View full results from the Devon Schools’ Championships HERE

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