Belvedere athlete Jayme Rossiter was having a busy time of it last week. On Wednesday he was in the Phoenix Park, running in the boys' senior race at the West Leinster Schools Cross-Country Championships.
He duly won the 5,000m race after sitting in for the first lap. Brian Keogh of Drimnagh Castle was second and Salesian pair Eric Keogh and Lee van Haeften third and fourth. A few days later Rossiter was competing for his club Clonliffe Harriers in the junior race at the European Club Cross-Country Championships in Bilboa, Spain. He led the team home in 15th place.
Rossiter first attracted attention when he won the senior race at the Brother Invitational Cross-Country at Santry last October. Since he began running as a junior, he has made steady progress.
"When I ran the juniors, and for my first year as an inter, I was in the 20s. I then got injured and was out for a year. After that I joined Clonliffe and started training consistently. Last year I was fourth in the senior race and this year I've won," he said.
Can he do it again at the Leinster Championships? "That would be hard. I'd have to beat Emmett Jennings, and also John Travers."
As well as taking the individual victory, Belvedere beat Salesian Celbridge by a single point to finish best of the teams.
Winning the senior girls' race over 2,000m was Hannah Dalton of Our Lady's Templeogue. She beat Nikki Cowzer of St McDara's and Denise O'Callaghan from Holy Faith Glasnevin. Coláiste Brid packed well to finish best of the teams.
In a competitive girls' inter race, Claire Brennan of Castleknock Community College added another title to her growing list when she beat old rival Cora Hewson, who was leading Maynooth PPS to team victory. Siobhan McGinley of Our Lady's Templeogue was third.
Conor O'Keeffe of Templeogue College pushed hard from the start of the boys' inter 4,000m, and, with a lap to go, proved uncatchable.
Behind him, the tall figure of Peter Gaffney made steady progress to finish second and lead Belvedere to a deserved team victory. Finishing third was Darragh Fitzgibbon of Salesian Celbridge.
Salesian athletes were again to the fore in the boy's junior race, with Samuel Allen the individual winner for the Celbridge school. He beat Keith Doherty of Drimnagh Castle with John Boland from Lucan CBS finishing third. Lucan were the surprise winners of a closely-fought team contest, with Belvedere taking second place ahead of St Colmcille's only on countback.
Sarah Fitzpatrick of Our Lady's Templeogue was the winner at the DCU Invitational a few weeks ago. She repeated that win in the girl's junior 1,500m when she beat the Mount Sackville pair of Sarah Hawkshaw and Aoibhinn Dowdall. Mount Sackville were clear winners of the team medals on just nine points, with King's Hospital second.
Attracting the largest numbers on the day were the minor boys' and girls' races. Patrick Elliott of Lucan Community College shook off the chasers to win the boys' 1,500m. Sean Noble from new school Coláiste Pobail Setanta came home second with John Maher from Greenhills third. St Colmcille's was first team.
Winning the girl's race was Rachel Murray of Castleknock Community College, who beat Laura Cullen from nearby Mount Sackville and Roisin Nolan from St Wolstan's Celbridge. Mount Sackville were first team.
All these winning teams, along with the top 15 athletes from each race, will do it all again at the DCU grounds in Glasnevin, where the Leinster Championships take place on Wednesday February 24.