The Down Schools Cross Country Championships went ahead after an inevitable postponement for weather the previous week.
Delamont Country Park (Killyleagh) hosted the prestigious event in which over 40 schools enter the various age-groups.
Dromore High School again had a strong representation with seven teams lining up at the start.
Last year it was the girls that out-performed the boys – this trend would be reversed this time round.
Mini Girls team (Year 8) finished 11th with best individual performances from Leah Moffitt (25) and Tara Kelly (34) in a race that had 122 finishers. The Minors (Yr 9) finished 10th with best individuals Emma Lutton (30) and Victoria Boville (43) – finishers 105.
The Junior team (Yr 10), bronze medallists last year, struggled to repeat that effort with a 7th place with individual highlights Sara Topley (21), Kiara Malcolmson (33), Alex Connery (38), Megan Connery (41) and Rachel Craig (50).
Mini Boys (Yr 8) performed well to finish 8th with Dylan Griffiths (16) and Ryan McDowell (20) just failing to finish in the top 15 which would’ve secured Ulster qualification – finishers 167.
The Minors (Yr 9) made up for their 4th place in 2014 jumping up one place to grab bronze medals. Individual highlights included Ben Cushnie (4), Tyler Bain (16), Cameron Beacom-Hurle (17), Jake Corbett (27) and Jacob Collins (40) all finishing in the top 50 in a field of 130 finishers.
Making up the team to compete at the Ulster Schools’ XC will be Lucas Cheevers, Sam Smyth and Harry Davidson. The Junior Boys (Yr 10) finished in 8th with individual bests from Craig McCarthy (27), Lee Bailie (34) and Mark Stewart (39) – 98 finishers.
The Inter Boys (Yr 12/11) finished 8th with Ethan Dunn (14) again qualifying in the individual event. Jack Ferguson ran well for a 26th place in which 91 finished the race.
Highlight of the day was undoubtedly the Senior Boys, in which Daniel Dawson dominated the field over the full 6km, leading from start to finish to be deservedly crowned Down Schools Senior Boys Champion.
A truly awesome performance from a young man that has worked very hard over the winter with Dromore Athletics Club.
Daniel Dawson (SB), Ethan Dunn (IB) and the Minor Boys Team have now all qualified for the Ulster Schools’ Championships to be held at City of Belfast Playing Fields (Mallusk).
Ulster Schools’ Cross Country – 2015
Held at Mallusk, an all-boys squad again produced very creditable performances against the top cross country runners in the province.
Down Champion, Daniel Dawson, found the Senior Boys race a tough proposition after a disappointing first lap distanced him from the leading pack.
He dug deep, however, and recorded a 10th place finish which did enough for qualification for the Irish Schools’ Championships in Kildare. Ethan Dunn had a 61st placing in the Inter Boys race which was ‘par for the course’ based on his 14th place at the Down XC.
The Minor Boys produced a great run to finish 5th in the Team Event and in the process overtook Grosvenor GS, silver medallists in the Down XC.
On an individual level Ben Cushnie again ran well to record a 12th place finish with Tyler Bain, in 16th, just failing (by one place) to join Ben in Irish XC qualification.
Other finishing positions – Jake Corbett (56), Cameron Beacom-Hurle (75), Dylan Griffiths (88) with Lucas Cheevers and Sam Smyth outside the top 100. Dylan, a Year 8, was a last minute replacement which bodes well for next season.