MOUNT Kelly College’s Oliver Smart joined some illustrious company by winning the English Schools’ Cross Country title at Temple Newsam in Leeds on Saturday.
The Tavistock Run Project athlete, who is unbeaten in 2019, showed great strength in tough conditions to pull away from the country’s best athletes in the final quarter of the 5,220m intermediate boys’ race to win by eight seconds.
Surrey’s Will Barniscoat took silver, with Kent’s Louis Small third.
Smart’s Devon team-mates Flynn Jennings and Johnny Livingstone finished fifth and eighth and so will join the Mount Kelly pupil in the England squad for the SIAB International in Dublin next Saturday. It will be Smart’s first international appearance. Devon’s good showing meant they claimed team silver.
Double 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic champion Mo Farah and Olympic 1,500m silver medallist Peter Elliott are previous winners of the intermediate boys’ title, while the likes of Paula Radcliffe and Alistair Brownlee are also previous English Schools’ Cross Country winners.
The last Devon athlete to win the immediate boys’ crown was Kairn Stone in 1993.
Smart had been disappointed last year when he suffered a fall and a nasty injury on the first bend and was forced to settle for 17th place in the same event.
Devon won two medals at a wet and windy Temple Newsman with Scarlett Livingstone taking bronze in the junior girls’ race behind Cornwall’s Maisy Luke, who took second, and Gloucestershire’s Kiya Dee, who won the title. In that same race, Mount Kelly College’s Amelia Riggott finished 36th and Devonport High’s Emily English and Ivybridge Community College’s Krisyna Cade were Devon scorers that helped them finish as fourth team.
There were top 100 finishes for Plymouth College’s Chloe Olford and Cornwall’s Tavistock athlete Bradley Stevens.
Also competing in Leeds were Hele’s Ethan Phillipson, Mount Kelly’s Edward Smart, Tom Brew, Nicole Dunn and Natasha Farrington and Devonport High’s Jamie Williams and Elyse Kedzior-MacDonough.