AS FAR as Callum Bampton was concerned it was mission accomplished as he finished among the medals in the South West Schools’ Cross Country Championships in Bournemouth.
The 16-year-old Swindon Harrier had to work hard in a highly competitive inter boys’ race and left his move until late on the fast King’s Park course.
“My aim was to get onto the podium and I am delighted with my bronze,” said the Ridgeway School student, who had outlined his goal after winning the county schools’ title the weekend before.
“At the end of the first lap I was only 19th but I was working my way through the field.
“I was up to sixth after the second lap and then I knew it would be down to my sprint finish to get a medal and luckily I won that as well.”
Bampton secured the bronze by two seconds and was closing fast on the silver until he ran out of ground.
“I didn’t realise I was that close (four seconds) to second place until I saw the official results,” he continued.
“I need to work on starting faster and it is something I am talking to my coach about, especially for the English Schools’ Championships because I cannot afford to go off too slowly there or the race will be over for me.”
On the basis of his improved form this year - he now boasts two golds and a bronze in three events - there is no reason to suspect Bampton won’t raise his performance again.
Another Harrier enjoying good form is clubmate Lillie Bellamy. The 17-year-old was representing Gloucestershire as she is currently a student at Cirencester College and she was also delighted with her bronze medal in the senior girls race.
“It is my last year in the schools’ competitions so I am very pleased to win another medal,” said Bellamy, who won silver last year.
“I know the two girls in front of me as we race against each other a lot and are always competitive. I tried to stick with Isobel Glaisher (the eventual winner) and that was probably over-ambitious as she is in such good form and I paid for that towards the end.
“But overall I am happy and really looking forward to the English Championships although it will feel weird doing it for the last time.”
Wilshire’s top performer again proved to be 18-year-old Alex Carter (St Laurence, Bradford-on-Avon) as he won the senior boys’ title on his farewell appearance in the event.
There was also a silver for Sheldon School’s Gemma Sheppard in the inter girls race and bronze for Robert Howorth of John of Gaunt in the junior boys. Abigail Burn of South Wilts Grammar was runner-up in the minor girls race.
Behind Sheppard, Malmesbury School’s Zoe Wassell, who won the Wiltshire Schools’ title the previous weekend, finished sixth with Yasmin Watling (St Mary’s) eighth.