SOUTHEND High School for Girls will host one of the biggest schools athletics events of the year on Saturday.
The school is the venue for this year’s English Schools Cross-Country Cup final and three local schools will be hoping to impress.
Two Southend High School for Girls teams are determined to make home advantage count while Southend High School for Boys will be fully represented with two teams.
The Eastwood Academy’s intermediate boys team are the final representative from the south of the county in a competition this area has traditionally had a lot of success in.
In fact, it is because of their own rich run of success that Southend High School for Girls were asked to host the event, which will take place on their playing fields.
Their own golden generation won three national cups over the past four years, bowing out with their final win last year.
“That team helped put us on the map,” said Sue Simpson, the school’s head of PE.
“We have had a long history in the competition and with that girls team doing so well over recent years we were asked to host it. It’s a huge honour.”
Although they are now too old to run, four integral members of that team – Victoria Hiscock, Liberty Good, Olivia Sofroniou and Abigail Uden – will be acting as ambassadors at the event, which is predicted to be harder than some athletes might think.
“It’s deceivingly deceptive,” said Simpson. “People think it’s flat but it’s not quite as flat as you might think as there is one quite long pull on the course.
“We had Adam Hickey running it last week and he described it as ‘fun and challenging’ and that’s an international athlete saying that.”
As for the chances of her own two teams, Simpson added: “The girls should know every blade of grass and they’ll never have a better advantage than this weekend.
“Other schools will always chase us and want to knock us off our perch because of how successful we have been over the years. I know the girls will give 110 per cent and we’ll see what happens.”
l The PE department at Southend High School for Girls would like to thank sponsors: Moorfields Private Eye Hospital, the Roslin Hotel, Dedman Gray, Sainsbury's, Kemp Signs of London, Lisa Fern & Southend Borough Council, Original Sports, Crushes Manor Clinic, Lighthouse Financial Advice, Grant and Livingston Ltd, AJR Heating and Renewables Ltd; Bespoke Interiors and Neil Lake. The department also thanked the support and manpower of staff, parents, pupils and friends of the school.