WILTSHIRE will field a strong squad for the South West Cross Country Championships, in Bournemouth, on Saturday.

Bea Wood of South Wilts Grammar, the 2018 British and English Schools’ champion, is probably the county’s best hope of a medal but there are several other contenders capable of forcing their way into the top ten in a tough competition that comprises the best young athletes from Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

A couple of weeks ago at Sheldon School, Chippenham, Malmesbury School’s Naryani Costa-Jafrate impressed with a terrific victory in the junior girls’ race.

The youngster, who is a member of Chippenham Harriers, will be competing in the South West event for the first time – it was cancelled last year due to the bad weather – and while it represents a big step up Costa-Jafrate looks more than capable of making her mark.

Interestingly Costa-Jafrate is joined by seven girls all from different schools in the junior girls’ squad which underlines the spread of talent in the county.

Josh Burns’ victory in the junior boys’ race last month continued his good start to 2020 and the Devizes School runner will also be one to watch. Joining him in the junior team are the Maxwell twins, Harry and Joshua, from Sheldon School.

Another Malmesbury School runner in the county squad is Oliver Campbell, who finished a fine third in the senior boys’ race last month. Joining him will be Patrick Mochan, of Royal Wootton Bassett School, who was fifth in the county qualifier.

The St Mary’s School, Calne, pair of Laura Smythe-Osbourne and Susanna Hirst, second and third respectively in the county championships, will be a strong pairing in the senior girls’ race with Hardenhuish School’s Megan Wright joining them after being promoted into the team.