Broadbridge P.S. claim the secret weapon behind their recent cross-country success is a packet of jelly babies.
Last month the girls’ team came first in the Inter Area Cross Country Northern Ireland Championships and in March they won the Flahavans Northern Ireland Cross Country Championships in Mallusk.
“It’s the first time the girls have held both Northern Ireland titles,” said teacher and coach Mrs. Deborah McElhinney.
“The children are great fun to work with. They are all really dedicated and if they don’t get their jelly babies before a race panic sets in,” she joked.
Both the boys and girls teams were also awarded Best Overall School for the Western Area at the championships in Mallusk and at the Inter Area Championships in Ormeau Park last month.
“The boys have done really well this year too and I know after they saw how well the girls did they want to win titles next year,” said Mrs. McElhinney.
If winning titles across the North wasn’t enough to warrant recognition then three girls from the Broadbridge P.S. cross-country team have been selected to train with the Northern Ireland cross-country squad.
“Aela Stewart, Lily Toorish and Orla McGeogh have all trained with the team and Anya Hockley is on the reserve list.
“It’s great for the girls and it’s great for the school. Dame Mary Peters even commented that she was impressed that a school as small as Broadbridge P.S. was able to have three girls in the Northern Ireland squad.”
Aela Stewart, who came second in one of her trials with the Northern Ireland squad in Belfast, said she started cross-country because she likes running and added that Mrs. McElhinney was the main reason the team was succeeding.
“I just love to run so all of this is just amazing,” said 10 year-old Aela.
“Mrs. McElhinney is a great coach. She really knows what she is talking about and along with Mr. Logue, they make training fun.
“Mr. Logue gives us our training capsules before training. They are really just Jaffa cakes but we call them training capsules,” she joked.
Lily Toorish said winning titles for her school was something that made her feel proud.
“I love my school and I love trying my best at running. It makes me feel great to think we won so much this year. I hope we can do the same next year,” said the primary six pupil.