YOUNG hopefuls from 12 Swindon schools took part in a cross-country championship for the chance to represent the town in the county and national finals.

Hundreds of pupils from Years 7 to 11 were put through their paces at Nova Hreod Academy.

Janine Mason, head of PE at the academy, organised the event and has done so for the past five years.

She said: “It was a very successful morning. The weather was lovely – perfect for doing cross-country.

“This always gives the students a chance to shine and they really enjoy it.

“This year, we extended the course to go to Shaw and under the railway bridge, so it was newer, longer and more difficult than before, but the students took to it very well."

She added: “It was also a great opportunity to use our facilities, as the course started at Nova Hreod and went through Moredon Fields and Shaw forest before returning.

“We had a nice selection of runners to take through to represent Swindon in the next round.

“The students were in teams of six and the top 10 teams and individuals from each category will take part in the Wiltshire event.

“I hope some of them make it to the national rounds, we had some really good runners this year.

“One teacher from each school and our entire PE team and senior leadership staff help out on the day, so it’s a lot to organise but it’s always worth it.”

The next round of the competition will be held in Chippenham next month.

The top three Year 7 boys were Sam Rai and Finn Skittrell from Lydiard Park Academy and Zak Rejek from Kingsdown School.

Maisie McCala from Commonweal and Millie White and Freya Davidse from Ridgeway School came first, second and third in the Year 7 girls’ race.

Jonathan Vodden from Ridgeway, Aidan Andow from Highworth Warneford, and Connor Watts from Commonweal topped the tgable for the Year 8 and 9 boys, while Kelly Marsh from Commonweal, Katie New from Kingsdown, and Beth Davidoe from Ridgeway placed highest for the girls.

Harry Woods and Will Palmer from Ridgeway and Jac Gunning from Commonweal were in the top three Year 10/11 boys. Lauinia Rai from Lydiard Park Academy, Sarah King from Nova Hreod Academy, and Ayla Tonkin from Ridgeway were in the top three girls.

Teams of Lydiard Park’s Year 7 boys, GWA’s Year 7 girls, Highworth Warneford’s Year 8 and 9 boys, Commonweal’s Year 8 and 9 girls, Ridgeway’s Year 10 and 11 boys, and Nova Hreod Academy’s Year 10 and 11 girls all took first.