Despite feeling disappointed at falling short of an individual B Division cross-country gold for a second straight year, Joshua Rajendran was cheered up by his first-ever team title with Hwa Chong Institution.
The 15-year-old finished second after completing the 4.75km route at Bedok Reservoir Park yesterday in 16min 38sec, nine seconds behind winner Chai Jiacheng of Raffles Institution.
Gabriel Ng of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) was third (16:44) at the Schools National cross-country championships.
Still, Joshua's timing, together with those of team-mates Chew Yue Bin (17:21), Aeron Young (17:29) and Yeo Zhi Yan (17:39), were good enough for Hwa Chong to triumph in the team category.
Team events are calculated by the rankings of the school's four fastest runners, with the winning side boasting the lowest score.
Last year, Hwa Chong just lost out on the title to ACS(I) in a tie-breaker after finishing with the same points. "In the four years that I'd been at Hwa Chong so far, we hadn't won a single team title, so this is extremely big," said Joshua.
"I don't have any regrets because I was able to execute my race plan. I wanted to overtake (Jiacheng) at a certain point but he was a good enough runner not to let me do so. I just did my best, and I'm satisfied."
It was a stellar day for Hwa Chong, who also won both the A boys' and girls' team titles as well as the C boys' title.
Despite the absence of individual champions, Hwa Chong coach Steven Quek was happy with how his charges performed, noting that an individual title would have been "a bonus".