Harriers keen to forge links to give Sunderland school athletics a lift

IMPRESSIVE: Alex Brown (right)
IMPRESSIVE: Alex Brown (right)
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THE dismal state of Sunderland Schools’ athletics was there for all to see in the Durham County Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Meadowfield on Saturday.

Competing under the Wearside banner and by far the biggest area competing in the championship, they failed to finish a single team in any of the eight events on the programme.

They also had only one runner picking up an individual medal and only eight athletes finishing in the first 16 and qualifying for the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships at South Shields next month.

The West Wearside team, combining the strengths of the Houghton and Washington schools, won three individual events and finished runners-up in two others.

They also had 16 athletes qualifying for the Inter-Counties at Temple Park on February 7.

Clearly all is not well with Sunderland Schools’ athletics and cross country running, with little interest shown in the sport throughout the city.

But local club Sunderland Harriers are keen to forge links with schools and the newly-formed Wearside Athletics network will also want to get involved. This could be a way to help to steer the sport out of the doldrums.

West Wearside, boosted by a lot of talented Houghton Harriers in their ranks, had a field day with Alex Brown (inter boys), Henry Johnson (year seven boys) and Katie Gunn (inter girls), all delivering first-class performances in winning their events.

Second places were achieved by Matthew Phillips (junior boys) and Eva Hardie (junior girls), whose twin sister, Lily, was fifth.

Wearside’s sole medallist was runner-up Jessica Fox in the senior girls race, with Sean Mackie the best of the rest with fifth in the inter boys.

Results: Senior Boys: 1 Tom Goulding (Durham Central) 21.55, 2 Oliver Watson (Durham Central) 22.03, 3 Liam Emmett (Sth Tyne) 22.17. Team Durham Central.

Inter Boys: 1 Alex Brown (West Wear) 17.42, 2 Joseph Bradley (Durham Central) 17.48, 3 B Lambert (Sth West Durham) 18.10. Team Darlington.

Junior Boys: 1 Jamie Reed (Durham Central) 15.25, 2 Matthew Phillips (West Wear) 18.09, 3 Jack Barnes (Darlington) 16.34. Team Darlington.

Year 7: 1Henry Johnson (West Wear) 7.45, 2 Izaak Taylor (Darlington) 7.57, 3 George Barber (Darlington) 8.02. Team Darlington.

Senior Girls: 1 Emily Alderson (Darlington) 17.50, 2 Jessica Fox (Wear) 18.04, 3 Eleanor Daglish (Durham Central) 18.31.

Inter Girls: 1 Katie Gunn (West Wear) 14.57, 2 Olivia Bateman (Gateshead) 15.43, 3 Katy Noble (Darlington) 15.52. Team Gateshead

Junior Girls: 1 S Jones (Sth West Durham) 11.03, 2 Eva Hardie (West Wear) 11.24, 3 Hanna Raw (Darlington) 11.31. Team Gateshead

Year 7 Girls: 1Megan Noble (Darlington) 8.46, 2 Carla Abel (Sth West Durham) 8.49, 3 Rebecca Wren (Gates) 8.51. Team Gateshead.

H Durham City Harrier Dan Jenkin won the Brass Monkey Half Marathon in York clocking 68.58. Sunderland Stroller Aidan Crowe was 81st (81.18) and Michael Edwards 105th (83.08).