The Northern Cross-Country Championships
The penultimate major cross-country championship of the season was the Northern Championships held at Herrington Country Park for the first time this weekend. A cold, crispy day greeted the North's top runners from every age-group and it's a traditional feast of classy running. As ever, Sale Harriers with a bold reputation to uphold, were there among the 40- 50 strong athletic clubs.
It was the club's younger age-groups who made the biggest impact this year with the U/13 boys and U/13 girls winning superb bronze medals. The Under 13 boys, already double National Champions and Northern Relay Champions, were hot tipped to extend the club record for age-group victories in one season, but the inevitable unavailability of top runners meant bronze was their best shot. It was still all credit to counters Christy O'Brien, the reigning Gtr Manchester School Champion (6th), Bradley Yates, the Lancashire Clubs Champion, (10th), Michael Quin, the Gtr Manchester Schools Primary Champion (40th), Charles Dowell, 3rd in Gtr Manchester Primary (46th) and backed up with Dillan Stanway (50th) and Sam Bolton (126th) that produced the club's best result for six years and the second best in a decade!
Our Under 13 girls also had a great day to win bronze medals, the only other club team to medal. Newcomer Flora Whyte (14th), Catherine Podmore (18th), Hannah Simeen (44th), Nina Rawlings (53rd), Alice Bruce (61st) and Julia Hassell (62nd) were the squad who produced the best result for five years and, again, the second best in a decade. Well done to all coaches and other staff.
On the other end of the age spectrum, our senior men finished ninth and the women fifth. Both team suffered the traditional blight from injury and lay-offs and team managers Dave Rodgers and Jo Street did their best to muster strong teams. Our senior men were no match for most of the top Northern teams despite valiant efforts from tough guy Gaz Raven running his eleventh Northern and with a silver and bronze medal already under his belt; James Bailey (52nd), Phil Scowcroft (143rd),Colin Gell (145th), Mike Ashby (212th), Paul Barrett (260th) and O/45 Gary Willcock (286th). Leeds AC won their ninth consecutive northern title.
The women, silver medallists last year and bronze medallists the year before, might have expected better but, missing some of their big 'guns', the quartet of Lucy O'Gorman who had a brilliant for 6th, Rachel Deegan (22nd), Cara Kavanagh (63rd) and Hayley Cavill (98th), did really well especially as track specialists essentially to finish fifth and produce on of the section's best results in seven years.
Our U/17 boys were the only other section to complete a team, finishing a disappointing eight from only ten teams from throughout the North of England reinforcing the widespread demise of running in younger age-groups. Ryan Moore, Andreas Iden, Kyle Conway and Matt Holmes were the hard working team.
Individually, Niall Brooks had a good run for fourth but will be disappointed to just miss out on a medal. Congratulations also to winner Tom Lancashire (Bolton AC), coached by Norman Poole with his squad at Wythenshawe Park and Andi Jones (Salford AC) who won his second consecutive bronze medal and whose wife Donna is the club's 2:06 800m specialist.
(Compiled and written by Fechin Mc Cormick)
Posted 15/01/2012 20:05