WILTSHIRE SCHOOLS CROSS COUNTRY: Finally, Yasmin is a golden girl

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Junior girls’ winner Yasmin and Ariana Watling, for North Wilts Junior girls’ winner Yasmin and Ariana Watling, for North Wilts

LACOCK youngster Yasmin Watling finally brought her long quest for an individual cross country gold medal to an end as she triumphed at last weekend’s Wiltshire Schools’ Championships at Grittleton House.

The 14-year-old St Mary’s pupil topped the podium in 12 minutes 23 seconds in the junior girls’ category, finishing four seconds ahead of Malmesbury School’s Zoe Wassell.

“It’s great to finally get a first in Wiltshire,” she said.

“In other Wiltshire events, I’ve always finished second. I got a team gold at the South West (Championships) and a club silver but I’m so happy to finally get a gold.”

Watling’s triumph prevented a clean sweep of the girls’ races by Salisbury runners, Alex Mundell (seniors), Hermoine Seymour (inters) and Fleur Sams (minors) claiming the other categories.

And there was more than one reason for the Watling family to celebrate as 12-year-old younger sister Ariana, who is also at St Mary’s, finished sixth.

She said: “I used to do sprinting but now I'm more in to cross country.

“Cross country is a lot harder but you get to sprint at the end, which helps. I’m happy.”

The championships finally took place having been postponed twice on the previous two weekends because of the wintry weather.

In the intermediate girls’ race, Salisbury pupil Seymour was the runaway winner but taking the silver medal was Corsham School’s Kirsty Stanley.

The 15-year-old, who lives in Corsham, was aiming for a gold medal but was still delighted to book her place at the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships.

“I really wanted to get first – I’ve raced her (Seymour) eight times and I’ve always come second, which is a shame,” said Stanley.

“But the wind was against us for a lot of the way and I’m glad it’s over and happy to go to the nationals.”

Hardenhuish School’s Grace Lavelle, 15, was third.

“I’m really happy with third – it’s the best I’ve ever done.

“I’ve done this quite a few times but I’ve never qualified before so it’s a big improvement for me,” said the Chippenham youngster.

And also on their way to nationals was fourth-placed Ellen Lindsey, from Sheldon School.

“It was a really hard race and I found I went off too fast at the beginning but I managed to maintain the pace – it was a good race,” said Lindsey, 14, from Colerne.

In the senior boys’ race, Will Christofi of Daunstey’s School finished second, 14 seconds behind Winsley rival Alex Carter (St Laurence School, Bradford on Avon), with Swindon New College student Nyle Clinton third as the trio finished a minute clear of the field.

Will Ballard, from St John’s, was fourth.

Hardenhuish School’s Cameron Perkins claimed the bronze medal in the junior boys’ category, while Jade Littlechild, from Corsham School, was second in the Minor Girls’, with St Mary’s duo Perrine Corlin and Caroline Brenchley finishing third and fourth respectively.

North Wiltshire were joint winners of the overall team standings at the end of the day, collecting 21 points alongside fellow champions Swindon.

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