Head Coach: Mr Turtle
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.
Over 50 Ballymena Academy runners took part in the Cross Country District Championships at Ulster University on Wednesday 26th January. They competed against more than 1000 runners across the North East, over a tough undulating course. Hard work over the past months, combined with tough determination on the day, saw great success, with two teams and 8 individuals through to the Ulster Championships.
Both the Minor Girls’ team (Katie Hilditch, Anna Humphreys, Isabella Gregg, Chloe Wylie) and the Minor Boys’ team (D Thompson, W Wylie, R Kelly, J Gallagher) qualified for the Ulster’s. Katie Hilditch achieved the performance of the day, taking 2nd place overall in the race.
Cassidy O’Neill and Emma Carroll came 8th and 10th respectively in the Mini Girls’ race, with Daniel Johnston and Harry Livingston taking 4th and 15th respectively in the Mini Boys’ race.
James Robinson came 12th in the Junior Boys’ race, while Katie Gardiner came 10th in the Junior Girls’ race. A tough intermediate boys’ race saw Fintan Steele take 5th place overall.
The Senior girls’ race saw Charlotte Thompson qualify for the Ulster’s, taking 14th place overall.
Cross Country Ulster Championships
The 2022 Ulster Cross Country Championships took place on Wednesday 9th February at Belfast playing fields, Mallusk. Conditions were excellent overall, although the recent rain caused the course to become very muddy for the later races. Ten races took place, with Ballymena Academy being represented in 8 of the races.
The first race of the day was the Mini Girls’ race, where Cassidy O’Neill placed a very respectable 47th overall. Next up was the Mini Boys’ race, resulting in Daniel Johnston achieving an excellent 32nd overall, and Harry Livingston 62nd.
In the Minor Girls’ race we had a full team of 6 competitors. This was undoubtedly the most exciting race of the day, where just a few points pushed the team out of the medals, coming 4th in the team race. The girls ran an excellent tactical race throughout, getting into the front end of the race early and holding on through the later stages. From the start Katie Hilditch was right at the Senior girls at the District Championships.
front, closely followed by Anna Humphreys. They battled through with the best in Ulster, achieving excellent 12th and 24th places respectively. The excitement continued, however, as Bella Morrow (47th), Isabella Gregg (49th), Emma Harrison (54th) and Chloe Wylie (90th) pushed hard in the latter stages, gaining vital points which saw the team achieve fourth position. Katie’s outstanding performance gained her a place at the All Ireland’s in March.
The Minor Boys’ team were 10th overall, with Daniel Thompson leading the team home, crossing the line in a very respectable 31st position. He was followed by Billy Wylie, Jeremiah Gallagher, Rob Kelly and Robert McCluney. They were pushed back early in the race and found it difficult to recover and take positions further up the field.
Katie Gardiner achieved a very respectable 45th place in the Junior Girls’ race. Katie is one of our most consistent runners, and most definitely has the potential in the future to qualify for the All Ireland’s. She is continually improving and has a great attitude towards the hard work necessary for success.
Another ever-improving talent is James Robinson, who, through consistent training, has performed well this year. He was mid field in the Junior Boys’ race. Fintan Steele had a superb race in the Intermediate Boys’ race. He took off fast with the top group of runners, maintaining the pace throughout and finishing in 14th place. This was enough to secure a place in the All Ireland’s next month. Charlotte Thompson had a strong run in the Senior Girls’ race, crossing the line in 51st place. Charlotte has been training consistently throughout the year, and this is beginning to show in race results sheets. Another year should see this talented runner develop into a competitor who is tough enough to race against the best in her age group.
Cross Country Irish Championships
Congratulations to Katie Hilditch and Fintan Steele who competed at the Irish Cross Country Championships on the 12th March 2022. Katie and Fintan have worked hard in training throughout the year and both performed well on the day with Katie placing 10th. We look forward to seeing these young runners progress in the coming years.