The resurgence of Jeppe in interschool cross-country continued this week when the senior team came second in the district team championships.
We had three boys in the top five finishers – Hopewell Nkosi came first, Mwakhe Mashaba 4th and Nthuthuko Ndimande fifth. Importantly, the other members of the team finished high enough in the final standings to give us second spot overall.
“This is the first time in a while that Jeppe has qualified to run in this meeting as a team,” said Mr Nic McCann, the school’s master in charge of cross country. “The number of runners has increased significantly and, in the seniors particularly, we have good strength in depth.”
It was that depth – the rest of the team finished well up in the order on Monday – that saw them end ahead of Pretoria Boys’ High. “KES has more finishers in the top 20 that we did, so they beat us narrowly,” Mr McCann said.
The team that ran on Monday was Mzwakhe Mashaba, Hopewell Nkosi, Ntuthuko Ndimande, Kyle Farnham, Keaton Stansfeld and Dylan Fenthum.
The attitude and dedication of the senior boys has been brilliant this year, according to Mr McCann. “The matrics have been great. They have led by example and have been at all the training sessions despite their heavy workload. That has rubbed off on the other boys and this year we have been entering 40 or more runners every week, last year we had about 20.”
The senior team finished 2nd out of 17 schools in the league competition, while the juniors came 5th out of 17.
Monday’s win was the third of the season for Hopewell, and he was a member of the four-man Jeppe team that won the prestigious Paarlauf relay event earlier on in the season.
“It’s been a good season for me individually,” he said, “but also for us as a team. Mzwahke, Nthutoko, Dylan, Kyle, Keaton and I have become a tight unit. We train and race together and this showed in our results.”
The next event for the runners is the inter-district individual race at St Stithians on Friday. The seniors from Monday will be joined by juniors Farrel Miles and Ntokozo Mguni there.
“Obviously, I am hoping to win there, although there will be boys from other districts running as well,” Hopewell said. “Then I will carry on training and I hope to go to the national championships in August again this year.”
The performance of the cross-country team showed that the smaller sports at Jeppe are thriving. We are proud of their achievements.