It Was All White On The Day!
The wild animals of Knowsley Safari Park sensibly had taken refuge from the horrendous snowy conditions for the weekend'sNorthern Cross Country Championships. Five inches of snow cloaked the park so the cars that converged from throughout the North arrived not to admire the wild animals but rather insane human beings. Running tigers & tigresses were brought to their knees and the fleet of foot had their wings clipped as they struggled through compacted snow that became a mushy mire
Those delayed by snow may well have missed Georgia Taylor Brown's impressive U20 victory that launched the day's 10 age-group races. It was all the more awesome in that Georgia, already an established junior international triathlete, had just returned from Australia where she'd finished 3rd in the individual Youth Olympics Triathlon and also won a bronze medal in the mixed Triathlon relay. This was her fourth Northern medal and second Northern title. In 2010 she won the U17 event and in the following years, has added the U20 silver and bronze medals to complete a full set. In the same race, Misha Nayak-Oliver always has to be complimented for her gutsy performances. Had there been a third team member they surely would have been among the medals.
If excitement could melt the snow, our U13 girls would have done it! True to their form and ability, this squad of hard-working, talented, friendly girls, proven by already being the 2012 Northern Relay Champions; the current National Cross-Country Relay silver medallists and the Northern XC and National XC bronze medallists, they won the Northern XC title convincingly to add to their impressive list.....and besides Aine Cunningham won the individual silver medal. The quartet of Aine, Olivia Green (7thth), Niamh Nugent (11th) and Frankie Hacker-Davis may also have broken a further club record to add to the one in the National XC Relays when the team recorded the club's best result in twenty years. The last time Sale won the U13 girls title was way back in 1999 with a tally of 73 points. Such is the group's current formidable talent, they won with a record of only 40 points. Well done also to Mairead Power, Francesca Brint (great to have her back after illness) and Tia Blisset who also were part of this great achievement. The U13 boys weren't quite in the same league finishing 10th. Nevertheless, by the way Harry Brown, Harry Boyd, Luke Chesters and Andrew Toner gave it their very best in the difficult conditions, they did really well to finish in the top ten.
The U20 men won bronze medals but with only seven points separating the three winning teams and one point separating silver and bronze, they weren't far from taking the title from Gateshead AC and Liverpool Pembroke AC. Again, well done to Charlie Hulson, who almost won the bronze medal; last year's individual winner Ryan Moore was 8th followed by Callum Greenwood, Luke Betts, David Rich, Matt Holmes and Callum Rowlinson.
The U15 girls also won magnificent bronze, a result bettered only once since before the girls were born. Well done to Zara Thompson who finished a superb 5th ; Aimee Pratt (24th) who's won her 5th consecutive medal, Ciara Lydon (27th), Catherine Podmore (46th), Flora Whyte (58th), Amber Towns (63rd) and Hannah Simeen (74th). Their boy's counterpart finished just outside the medals in 4th. Again, this was another fine result and one the section's not equalled for many years. Well done to Euan Gilchrist, Adam Roden, Christy O' Brien, Daniel Brint, Adam Kinghorn, Dillon Birchill and Brad Thornton.
Our U17 girl's finished 6th - also a fine improvement on previous years and if this squad of Megan Davies, Irmani Modahl, Rachel Hibberd, Chloe Yates, and Hannah Christy keep training hard, they'll be future title holders. The U17 lads started a team but only Matt Metcalfe, Sam Mayon and Khalid Absiyeh finished. All three ran well.
The broken and melting snow made running horrendous for the senior men and women so bad several lost sensation in their feet and dropped out. Well done and thanks to Lucy O'Gorman who travelled from Bristol and her 6th place made all the difference to the women's 10th place. Hayley Cavill was next across the line in 70th place followed closely by Jan Nichols whose consistent good form throughout the winter had been the backbone of the women teams. Slightly further down the field were Sian Holland, Jo Street and Helen Armitage who admirably braved the tough conditions.
Finally the senior men! Their 7th place flagged consistency in recent years among the Northern clubs. Gaz Raven ran his 13th consecutive Northern XC and has won four silver and one bronze medals already. This tough guy's uncharacteristic 35th place was a reflection of reduced training due to lifestyle circumstances. Anthony Ford also found the conditions exceptionally tough; Ryan Worland and James Wignall had youth on their side and toughed the conditions well; Pete Crawford relished the harsh conditions and trauma consultant Oliver Gallamin followed Carl Barber, Andy Mooney, Paul Barrett and Tim Rainey all had a 'shock' to their systems they'll remember!
Well done to everyone who braved the elements to compete, spectate and support. It was, after all a successful day.(Written by Fechin Mc Cormick. Photos courtesy of www.darkstarphotography.com and parents Chris Green and Daryl Taylor. Full results http://www.noeaa-athletics.org.uk )
Posted 11/03/2013 09:26