Houghton trio catch the eye

FUTURE PROSPECTS: Houghton Harriers' (left to right) Henry Johnson and Alex Brown and Eva Hardie.
FUTURE PROSPECTS: Houghton Harriers' (left to right) Henry Johnson and Alex Brown and Eva Hardie.
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NORTH East selectors have selected a total of 126 athletes, including reserves, for the Inter County Cross Country Championships at Birmingham on Saturday, March 7.

They met on Sunday at Gateshead Stadium, the day after the Northern Cross Country Championships, the final race for athletes to catch the selectors’ eye.

The North East will be sending 10 teams to Cofton Park, ranging from under-13s to seniors and of both sexes.

A total of eight can run in the younger age groups with nine to run in the senior men’s and senior women’s events.

The senior men’s team will be going for their fifth victory in six years and the team selected is good enough to bring back the trophy once again to the region.

Sunderland’s Patrick Martin (Stockport Harriers) is included in the squad after his superb third place in the Northerns at Pontefract on Saturday.

The former Sunderland Harrier will be out to improve on his 16th position of 2013.

Sunderland Harrier Kevin Jeffress has been rewarded for his 55th place at Pontefract by being named as a reserve.

North East cross country champion Jonathan Taylor leads the team which includes six Morpeth Harriers.

The team is: Jonathan Taylor, Nick Swinburn, Lewis Timmins, Richard Morrell, Carl Avery, Nathan Shrub (all Morpeth), Patrick Martin (Stockport), Dan Garbutt (Durham), Phil Wylie (Chelmsford).

Reserves Carl Smith (Leeds), Dan Jenkin (Durham), Greg Jayasuriye (Midds), Calum Johnson (Gateshead), Andy Wiles (Morpeth) and Kevin Jeffress (Sunderland).

The women’s team will be headed by North East champion Rosie Smith of Durham City Harriers.

The rest of the squad is Emma Holt, Ashley Gibson (Morpeth), Alex Sneddon, (Jarrow and Hebburn), Justina Heslop (Elswick), Dannielle Hodginson (Birchfield), Rachel Lundgren (Gosforth) Alison Dargie (Tyne Bridge) and Elizabeth Mooney (Cambridge Hare and Hounds).

Houghton Harriers have three of their athletes selected in the younger age group squads after their impressive seasons over the country.

Eva Hardie is in the under-13 girls’ team and her twin sister Lily is down as a reserve.

Henry Johnson is included in the under-13 boys’ squad and Alex Brown competes for the under-17 men’s team.

Birtley have supplied many athletes to the under-17 and under-20 women’s teams with Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett, the North East champion, in the under-17s and international Lydia Turner will lead the under-20s.

Sunderland Harriers have two reserves in Sean Mackie in the under-15 boys’ and Mark Smith for the under-17s.

H The North Eastern Harrier League resumes after a two month break at Bedewell Park, next to Monkton Stadium, Jarrow on Saturday.

The fourth meeting of the season starts at 12.15 with the under-11 Boys, followed by the under-11 Girls at 12.20.

The senior men’s event is the final race with an approximate start time of 2.10pm.

Sunderland Harriers’ will bid to improve on their sixth position in the first division and Sunderland Strollers, in third place, will continue their promotion quest in the second division.

The Strollers women’s team have a fight on their hands in trying to avoid relegation from division one, while the Harriers’ are eighth in division two.

The Harriers’ under-17 men’s team are two points ahead of Gateshead in their division.