By REDintern Romaine Soh
One of the most anticipated national schools championships is just around the corner.
Some of the fittest student-athletes from all across the nation will convene next Wednesday, March 27 at the National Schools Cross Country Championships, where they will match their endurance, speed and wits against each other. This year’s competition will be held at Bedok Reservoir, with the first race flagging off at 9 a.m.
With less than a week to go before the championships, let us take a look at the potential title contenders, and potential clashes.
A Division (3.6 km) — Perfect score?
The Raffles Institution girls look set to wrest back the A Division champions’ shield from Hwa Chong Institution. This season, they have managed to win the team title with a perfect score at SAA, Swift and Wings Cross Country meets, with their runners claiming the top four positions in each meet. (Team score is calculated by the positions of the top four runners.)
Their 2012 team which came in second was made up largely of first-year Junior College runners, which means they have retained the nucleus of the team. Tan Wan Xin, Jolene Quek and Janielle Lim are the survivors from last year’s team, and they finished fourth, seventh and 12th respectively at nationals.
Even though one of their top runners, Victoria Tan, has been nursing a leg injury since January, the team has remained untouchable. New additions Adeline Bee, Mary-Lisa Chua and Daphne Chia have also bolstered the team to back up the leading four. Adeline Bee was the 2012 B Division silver medallist while Mary-Lisa Chua finished eighth in the same division last year.
Although Raffles have proven dominant this season, there exist dark horses who may pose a challenge. Chew Si Min from Victoria Junior College (VJC) is one such example, having finished just 0.35 seconds behind fourth placed Wan Xin at the recent Wings meet.
Si Min is just one of many greenhorns in the Victoria team. Along with Blossom Tan, Aleena Kua and Sean Olivia, she led the charge for the team to come in second at the Wings Cross Country meet, just ahead of Hwa Chong Institution. To top things off, the fourth Victorian finisher, Abigail Sim, the 2012 B Division champion, was representing Victoria’s second team, which could possibly mean that VJC may beat HCI by an even bigger margin at the nationals.
Considering that the rest of the team, apart from Abigail and Blossom, have had no more than one year of cross country experience, VJC is certainly a force to be reckoned with.