Head Coach: Mr Turtle
Assistant Coach: Mrs Reid
The Cross Country Club is held every Monday and Thursday afternoon from 3:30pm until 5:00pm, and is open to all pupils in Years 8-14.
Selected pupils will compete throughout the school year in NEBSSA and District competitions. Depending on placings from the Districts, pupils will then be selected to compete in the Ulster Schools’ Cross Country Championships and Irish Schools’ Cross Country Championships.
The Cross Country Club commenced early in September, with many of the previous club members returning for another year’s training and competing. A good turnout of Year 8 pupils resulted in 60 to 70 runners taking part most weeks.
Training took place each Monday and Thursday after school, ranging from speed sessions down at the track, to hill and endurance sessions around the Road Run course. The usual monthly Road Run timed races kept interest high among the runners and was a useful tool in determining fitness levels.
At the NEBSSA Cross-Country Championships held at the Ulster University, Coleraine, on Tuesday, 20th November, Ballymena Academy had a number of excellent performances. The Year 8 Boys’ team and Year 10 Girls’ team came 1st overall, and the Year 9 Girls’ team came 2nd overall. Five of our athletes were placed in the ‘top 3’ in their races. Overall the school came runners-up in the competition.
Year 8 Boys’ Team – Gold Medals: Reuben Allen, Thomas Evans, Samuel Francey, Robbie Mather, Connor McQuillan and Fintan Steele.
Year 9 Girls’ Team – Silver Medals: Katie Dael (3rd overall), Anna Duffin (4th overall), Leah Boyd, Gemma Clyde, Annabel O’Hara and Emma Weir.
Year 10 Girls’ Team – Gold medals: Tori Hopkins (2nd overall), Georgina Cherry, Emma Kinney and Charlotte Thompson.
Year 9 Boys’ race: William Francey (2nd overall)
Year 10 Boys’ race: Anier Campbell (3rd overall)
Senior Girls’ race: Sophie McCluney (1st place overall)
The District Championships were held at Thornhill College, Londonderry, with weather conditions threatening to postpone the event. Snow on the ground, coupled with very cold and windy conditions tested the competitors to the limit. It was undoubtedly the toughest Cross-Country event for many years!
In the Mini Girls’ race Esther Weir was first home, closely followed by Erin McGivern, Ellen Thompson, Olivia Drain and Lydia Gregg. The Mini Boys’ team came 1st overall, qualifying for the Ulster Championships. Reuben Allen was 6th overall, followed by Fintan Steele – 8th, Thomas Evans – 13th, Robbie Mather – 16th, Adam Wharry, Tom Wylie, Samuel Francey and Peter Gamble. In the Minor Girls’ race, Annabel O’Hara had a superb run, being placed 19th overall in what was a very tough race. She was followed by Katie Dael, Anna Duffin, Emma Weir, Leah Boyd and Gemma Clyde. The team were 5th overall. In the Minor Boys’ race, William Francey was 9th overall, qualifying to compete at the Ulster Championships. Cameron Eagleson and Samuel Wainwright also had good runs.
In the Junior Girls’ race Charlotte Thompson came 31st, followed by Rebecca Hilditch, Emma Kinney and Ella Thompson.
Harvey Pearson came 22nd overall in the Junior Boys’ race. Sophie McCluney was 7th overall in the Intermediate Girls’ race, qualifying for the Ulster Championships.
The Senior Girls’ team came an excellent 1st place overall, with Katie Agnew 2nd, Rachel Brown 6th, Lucy Millar 8th, Chloe Robinson 11th and Sarah McCloy 20th. Adam Wilkins was 14th overall in the Senior Boys’, and this was enough to qualify for a place at the Ulster Championships.
At the Ulster Cross-Country Championships held at Belfast Playing Fields, Mallusk on Wednesday 13th February, two teams from school competed, picking up medals. The Mini Boys’ team, which came 1st at the Districts, raced strongly and came 3rd overall in Ulster. The Senior Girls’ team, which came 1st at the Districts, came 2nd overall in Ulster and also competed at the All-Ireland Championships in Clane, Co Kildare. Katie Agnew was 3rd overall in the Senior Girls’ race. Sophie McCluney also qualified to race at the All-Ireland Championships in the Intermediate Girls’ race.
Mini Boys’ Team: Reuben Allen, Thomas Evans, Samuel Francey, Peter Gamble, Robbie Mather, Fintan Steele, Adam Wharry and Tom Wylie.
Senior Girls’ Team: Katie Agnew, Rachel Brown, Sarah McCloy, Lucy Millar and Chloe Robinson
Irish Cross Country Championships
On Saturday, 9th March, 2019 the Senior Girls’ Team travelled the 160 miles to Clongowes Wood College, Clane in Co. Kildare to compete against the best in Ireland. Conditions underfoot were perfect for fast running, and all but a brisk wind made running and spectating perfect. From the start the race was very fast, resulting in a tough mental and physical battle for the competitors. The school team ran the perfect race; racing well in the first half, but getting stronger and faster as the finish line approached. Although there were no outstanding individual performances, the whole team performed well and were placed 2nd overall in Ireland. This is the best Cross-Country team performance on record in Ballymena Academy. An outstanding achievement. Katie Agnew was first home for the team in 18th place, followed by Sophie McCluney, Rachel Brown, Chloe Robinson, Lucy Millar and Sarah McCloy. This was the perfect end to a superb year for the Cross-Country Club.