CROSS COUNTRY: Second is only half the story for Will

Caitlin Wosika, from John of Gaunt School, makes her way through the picturesque grounds of Grittleton House School on her way to victory in the junior girls race

The start of the minor boys race

First published in Sport

“IT WAS a really good day but not a great day."

That was the honest assessment of Will Stockley after what was definitely a very busy day for the 14-year-old Melksham Oak student, from Semington, writes Kevin Fahey.

Firstly, Stockley headed to Grittleton House School on Saturday morning for the Wiltshire Schools’ Cross Country Championships where he finished runner-up to Swindon Schools’ Callum Bampton in the inter boys’ race.

He was disappointed with that outcome, having not previously lost to Bampton this winter, but there was no time to dwell on the setback.

Stockley just had enough time to warm down and collect his medal before hopping into dad Neil’s car and racing up to Gloucester for the fourth and final race in the Gloucestershire Cross Country League.

“I had to run the last league race because it was the best three results of four to count towards the overall title and I had only done two of the previous races,” said Stockley.

“The schools’ race was at 10.50am and the league one at 1.45 so it wasn’t too bad.

“We got there at 1pm and I was certainly getting some weird looks from the other runners before the start as I was pretty muddy from the morning and hadn’t been able to have a shower.”

The two races in three hours didn’t seem to worry Stockley too much as he duly won the U15s race in Gloucester to secure the overall league title.

“I must admit I felt pretty knackered towards the end of the race but I achieved what I had to do,” added Stockley.

“Overall it was a good day. If I had won the county schools’ as well then it would have been a great one but really it wasn’t too bad.”

In a race of near-misses, the West Wilts squad of Stockley, bronze medallist Oliver Shad (Warminster), Sam Rockett (St Laurence), Guy Whelon (St Laurence), Josiah Burgess (Emmaus) and Cameron Evans (Melksham Oak) were denied victory in the inter boys team event by the slimmest of margins.

The squad scored 65 points, exactly the same as North Wilts but the latter took the title by virtue of their sixth runner placing 15th – five in front of the West’s sixth scorer Evans.

Stockley may have just lost out in a sprint finish but there was no danger of Alex Carter being caught out like that. Competing in his last championships the 18-year-old St Laurence School student finished a massive 2mins 36secs clear of his nearest rival, which just went to underline his class.

There was an impressive display by the St Augustine’s squad in the junior boys’ race as the trio of Robert Howorth, twin brother John Howorth and Henry Dixon enjoyed a clean sweep of the medals.

Yet remarkably the West Wilts junior boys squad also didn’t also pick up the team gold as they only had five runners.

There was also a West Wilts winner of the junior girls’ race with 14-year- old John of Gaunt runner Caitlin Wosika improving on her bronze of 2013 with a comfortable victory to back up her recent solid performances in the South West Championships and Cardiff Challenge. Scarlett Rockett, of St Laurence, also made the top 10 in sixth.

The fourth gold for West Wilts came from Melksham Oak’s Jake Dodge in the minor boys’ age group as he just held off a strong challenge from Salisbury’s Robert Croager.

There were also top 10 finishes for Matravers’ Jade Day and Camille Stanley in the inter girls’ race while in the minor girls’ Sophie Spratling (Stonar), Clair Barnett-Tucker (St Laurence) and Dion Rawlings (John of Gaunt) all made the top 10.

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