The Cross-Country season has ended with John Fisher once again the no.1 comprehensive school in the country for the second year running.
Let me repeat that, the No.1 comprehensive school in the country. Where does this claim come from? There are many cross-country events in the year, all of which are important, however the truly significant meets and the races where a national comparison can be made are undoubtedly the Senior Knole Race at Sevenoaks School and the Senior XC Relays at King Henry VIII school in Coventry.
In both these events the JFS team ran superbly finishing 14th and 13th team – but crucially the first comprehensive school to finish. With the huge resource available to the type of school we are regularly competing against, evident by their kit, transport, staff and often training camps abroad the students in the cross country team have done themselves and the school proud once again.
This quote from an experienced runner sums up this sport:
"Cross country is the epitome of an endurance sport. It requires an incredible amount of mental toughness. Unlike many sports, you cannot step aside for a minute to collect your breath. You must stay tough and keep running. You cannot give up - even when the competition is breathing down your neck and you feel like dying. You cannot give up - even when you've been running for a solid 20 minutes and you're barely halfway there. You cannot give up - even when all you want to do is to stop and instead you must sprint down muddy slopes, push up to the summits of giant hills, and hurtle around hairpin turns with 80 other runners. You cannot give up- even when you're standing on the starting line knowing you have 40 solid minutes of pain awaiting you. Cross-country runners are some of the toughest people out there. Cross-country is a wonderful, challenging, rewarding, impossible sport."
The level of commitment shown by all of the JFS runners, in what is, let’s be frank hardly a glamourous sport and at a time when most at school are involved in Rugby is awe-inspiring.
The 2016-17 season has once again been a real success. Regularly in the top 6 positions at the many events we compete at with the highlight being the Seniors winning at Charterhouse and finishing in the top 3 at Lancing College, Radeley, SLH and at the South East Championships at Harrow. The Inters have finished 2nd at Hampton and Wellington College, and the Junior team finished 2nd at Charterhouse, 4th at Lancing and 3rd at SLH and Wellington.
In all we competed at 25 races or relays which is a very busy season. Regular Junior runners included the impressive Year 7 trio of Ebuka Nkamuo, Matt Conway and Leo Ostinelli supported by Charlie Kitchen, Paul Hewitt and a number of others. In year 8 Alfie Smith has had a tremendous season and is now a regular in the Senior squad – runner against boys 5 years older) joined of late in the Seniors by the ever improving Freddy Georgiou. Joe Conroy has been a notable mid-season recruit.
Amongst the Inters Pater Edwards has been consistent in Year 9 alongside Joe Logue and Harry Smith in Year 10.
The Seniors have excelled and next year will be even more competitive. Ben Brant and Dan Hodgson have run well, with Gianluca Ercolano and Jacob Jones both improving and impressing. From the 6th Form, Joe Halfacre and captain Sean McAllister sign off after 7 years of commitment to the Cross-Country team. Ricky Lutakome has led the line with distinction once again, and remains the Surrey Schools and Club Champion. He is a force to be feared by other schools and has claimed personal medals for his performances with regularity. He has been joined in a strong unit by Alex and Ryan Galvin whose dedication to the JFS cause has remained steadfast since Year 7, alongside the dependable Fabien Daburn and new recruit Finley Wells who has made the team stronger.
Ricky, Ryan and Finley recently ran in the National English Schools Final in Norwich representing Sutton and all ran with distinction. We are also delighted that uniquely all 6 Sutton entries to the mini-marathon this year will be from John Fisher.
So all in all a fantastic season with lots of medals to show for the boys hard work and commitment. The future looks bright with good depth in the Seniors and enthusiasm and skill on show from the lower age groups. The challenge remains to improve and get faster, after all we have a title to defend – Best comprehensive in the country!
The following 6th form runners are to be awarded school ties in recognition of their service to JFS Cross Country: Sean McAllister, Joe Halfacre, Alex Galvin, Ryan Galvin, Ricky Lutakome, Finley Wells and Fabien Daburn
The Cross Country Shield is awarded this year not only to the runner who has represented the school the most, 22 times out of the 25 fixtures, but whose improvement has been dramatic and the result of hard work and personal drive: Jacob Jones
Enormous thanks to Miss Tomes and Francis Upcott for their time and contributions.
M i/c Cross-Country