Durham athletes gunning for championship medals in Leeds

Sarah Knight
Sarah Knight
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A team of 48 county athletes will be contesting the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Temple Newsham, Leeds, on Saturday.

The number covers three age groups and both sexes as Durham bid to get among the hard-fought for individual and team medals over the six events.

All the athletes have come through Area, County and Inter-County Championships to earn their place on the Schools’ County team.

The Championship comes at the end of a busy cross country season where many club athletes have contested the English National and Inter Counties Championships over the last few weeks.

Last Saturday, it was the gruelling course at Loughborough where the Inter-Counties Championships took place and the windy conditions proved a hardy test for all runners.

Now just a week later, many of them have to raise their form once again for their final sortie on the cross country front.

For those athletes selected for the home countries international, they will be competing in Dublin the following Saturday.

The Durham teams for English Schools’ Cross Country Championships are: Senior Boys (Under-18): Cameron Thomas (Durham Central), Ben Horsfield (Durham Central), Jshua Eriebach (Durham Central), Will Lindsay (Durham Central), Matthew Appleby (South Tyneside), Oliver Barrett (West Wearside), Max Tyrie (South Tyneside), Tom Ruthford (Gateshead).

Inter Boys (Under-16): Henry Johnson (West Wearside), Will Bellamy (West Wearside), Dan Boyer (Darlington), Sam Gibson (Durham Central), Daniel Joyce (Gateshead), Adam Russell (Darlington), David Race (West Wearside), John Russell (Darlington).

Junior Boys (Under-14): Christopher Perkins (West Wearside), Dillon Revel (Easington), Brandon Pye (West Wearside), Daniel Richardson (SW Durham), Theo Barron (Gateshead), Sam Rhodes-Dauber (Darlington), Daniel Laidler (Durham Central), Will Seager Rooke (Gateshead).

Senior Girls (Under-18): India Pentland (Darlington), Eva Hardie (West Wearside), Catherine Roberts (Darlington), Sarah Knight (Sunderland), Sophie Robson (South Tyne), Emily Jones (South Tyneside), Amy Baker (Gateshead) Eve Southern (West Wearside).

Inter Girls (Under-16): Nicole Phillips (Easington), Emily Chong (Durham Central), Amy Leonard (West Wearside), Lydia James (West Wearside), Cellia Reid (Gateshead), Tess Graham (SW Durham), Anna Pigford (Durham Central), Erin Bowyer (Derwentside).

Junior Girls (Under-14): Lucy Scothern (West Wearside), Erin Keeler-Clarke (Durhan Central), Katie Francis (Gateshead), Ciara Thornley (Gateshead), Abigail Thwaites (Gateshead), Freya Gibson (Durham Central), Freya Clarkson (Gateshead), Jessica Milburn (Gateshead).

Birtley AC had a record turnout for their Young Athletes Cross Country Relays at Lord Lawson School on Sunday.

Houghton Harriers came away with two bronze medals in the Under-11 Boys through Joe McGinley (4.52), Ryan King (5.37) and Louie Robinson (5.45) and their Under-15/17 team with Isaac Taylor (9.35), Jac Seeney (10.22) and Sam Gibson (8.56).

Sunderland Harriers’ best came from the Under-15/17 team, who were fourth through Josh Davis (10.06), Dillon Revel (9.38) and Cameron Lawton (9.40).

The Under-11s were fifth with Harry Ayre (6.01), Jak Jarvis (7.01), and Ben Bewick (6.38).

Sunderland Harrier Paul Merrison made the journey to Belfast last Saturday for the British Masters’ Cross Country Championships where he finished fourth in the Over-60 age group, missing out on a medal by 12 seconds.

Merrison said: “There was a strong field in my age group. The M60 winner was Scotland’s Alistair Walker (Teviotdale), who won the Masters’ International Cross Country at Swansea back in November and he also was first M60 at the Sunderland 5km last year.

“Second was Robert Atkinson from Barrow Striders, who has been a regular in the England Masters’ Cross Country team and third was Northern Ireland’s Laurence Johnston (North Belfast Harriers), who was the silver medal winner from Swansea.

“This race was one of the main selection races for this year’s British and Irish Masters’ Cross Country International, to be held in Southport, so although I narrowly missed out on the medals, I achieved my target of finishing first or second English runner.”