Young athletes go for glory in English Schools’ Cross Country Championship in Norwich

Sunderland Harriers' Under-15/17 girls team, left to right, Lydia Stoker, Eve Quinn and Sarah Knight.
Sunderland Harriers' Under-15/17 girls team, left to right, Lydia Stoker, Eve Quinn and Sarah Knight.
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The English Schools’ National Cross Country Championships is the most eagerly anticipated event of the winter for young athletes.

And the 57th Boys’ and 49th Girls’ New Balance English Schools’ Cross Country Championship takes place in Norwich on Saturday.

The leading athletes in each of the 45 counties compete for individual and team honours at the Norfolk County Showground.

Entry to the event is through athletes being provisionally selected by team managers following the county championships which are held in January.

Teams are then selected for the Inter County match in February and this is used as the final selection race.

Teams comprise a maximum of 12 athletes, of which only eight are allowed to compete.

The first six finishers in each team count towards the team competition. Finishing positions are added up, and the team with the lowest score wins.

If teams are tied, the team with the highest sixth finisher takes precedence.

There are six races for both sexes. They are: Juniors (Under-15), Intermediates (Under-17) and Seniors (Under-19).

The Durham team is: Junior Boys: Daniel Joyce, Samuel Gibson, Henry Johnson, Peter Cook, David Race, James Roberts, Charlie Phillips, Thomas Wraith, Joshua Wraith, Jamie Barnshaw, Izaak Taylor, John Russell.

Intermediate Boys: Jamie Reed, Cameron Thomas, James Martin, Max Harris, Matthew Phillips, Ben Horsfield, Ryan Watson, Dillon Openshaw, Lewis Charlton, Jonathan Langley, Oliver Barrett, Jacob Stephenson.

Senior Boys: Alexander Brown, Michael Wade, Cameron Allen, Luke Pickering, Joseph Grehan-Bradley, Ben Lambert, Jack Brown, Sean Mackie, Will Morgan-Rippon, James Cummins, Conal Tufnell, James Greer.

Junior Girls: Emily Chong, Lydia James, Rebecca Wren, Anna Pigford, Cecilia Reid, Harriet Rogers, Tess Graham, Scarlett Newby, Abbie Lewis, Chloe Fairclough, Megan Noble, Bethany Wilson.

Intermediate Girls: India Pentland, Catherine Roberts, Sophie Robson, Jessica Leslie, Eva Hardie, Eve Quinn, Stella Jones, Sarah Knight, Hannah Short, Amy Jack, Lily Hardie, Hannah Holman.

Senior Girls: Lucy-Erin Hunter, Olivia Bateman, Laura Kirkham, Amelia Leslie, Kezia Dowsett, Charlotte Kenyon, Molly Fullord, Katie Noble, Sarah Lipscombe, Sadie Abel, Mikayla Jordens, Emily Gill.

Birtley AC celebrated their 30th anniversary by staging young athletes cross country relays for both boys’ and girls’ from Under-11s to Under-17s on Sunday.

They had a good turnout of local clubs and it is planned to make it an annual event at the Lord Lawson Academy.

Sunderland Harriers and Houghton Harriers were among the prizes.

Sunderland won the Under-15/17 Girls’ relay with Eve Quinn finishing first on leg one in 11.05, Lydia Stoker then dropped to third (13.12) before anchor Sarah Knight recaptured first place ahead of Birtley and Houghton.

The Houghton team were Eva Hardie (11.24), Lily Hardie (12.18) and Grace Oliver (13.17).

The Sunderland Boys’ team finished third behind Gateshead and Birtley in their event, with Nathan Bland (10.19), Josh Davies (10.39) and Cameron Lawton (11.10).

Houghton Harriers’ won the Under-11 Boys’ relay ahead of Sunderland, who led on the first leg.

The Houghton team were Carl Charlton, Jordy Armstrong and Tom Pigford. Sunderland’s team were Harry Clay, Sam Field and Josh Bland.

Over 30 Strollers travelled to Dent in the Yorkshire Dales on Saturday for the undulating Dentdale 7.9 miles event.

They dominated the race by placing six runners in the first 10. Andy Forbes was second (46.54), Luke McCormack finished third (50.49), Ritchie Gerry was fourth (51.44) and first V50, Michael Dixon finished fifth (52.46), Gary Hargrave sixth (53.08) and Kevin O’Neil 10th (55.12).

Malcolm Cox finished second Over-60 in 16th (57.17) and Bill Kirk was third in 31st (60.59).

Lesley Watson celebrated her 55th birthday by moving up to a new age category and winning.

The Strollers’ final Winter Handicap saw Bill Kirk win followed by John Wilson and Ivan Lowthian. Shelia Hudson led the women home, with Ellye Robinson and Beth Nixon also in the frame.

Rob Ayre took the overall title, narrowly beating John Wilson and Liam Crosby. Kay Wilson is the women’s winner with Sue Tate second and Shelia Hudson third.

The National Masters’ Cross Country Championships takes place at Liverpool on Saturday.

Sunderland Harriers have a couple of medal contenders in Paul Merrison and Tim Field.

Merrison finished third in the Over-55 category at Bath last year and Field was 11th Over-50.