Young local Harriers are hoping to earn a call-up to the North Eastern Counties team

Connor Prior.
Connor Prior.
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Sunderland Harriers and Houghton Harriers have a number of youngsters that will be chasing selection for the North Eastern Counties cross country team to contest the UK Inter Counties Championships at Birmingham on Saturday, March 12.

The 110th North Eastern Counties Championships, held in arctic conditions on a snow-swept course at Sedgefield two weeks ago, is one of the events that athletes could show their form.

All athletes that finished inside the first three in one of the 10 events contested that day, were automatically selected for the trip to the Midlands.

A total of 12 athletes will be selected per team, with eight to run on the day.

Houghton Harriers’ Henry Johnson, the winner of the under-13 boys’ title and Nicole Phillips, runner-up in the under-13 girls’ race, have already booked their seats on the bus.

Joining them is Hylton Lane’s Sophie Burnett, who competes for Birtley, who was runner-up in the under-20 event.

Houghton also have Will Bellamy, fifth in the under-13s, Jamie Reed eighth, Mathew Phillips 11th in the under-15s, and Alex Brown seventh under-17, all in contention for a team spot.

Sunderland Harrier Mark Smith, with third place in the under-20 age group, is selected and Johnny Howe with sixth, is in with a chance of a trip to Birmingham and Jess Fox, with fourth place in the under-20s, looks also set for Cofton Park.

Sean Mackie 13th under-17, Sarah Knight and Eve Quinn 13th and 14th under-15s respectively, are all contenders as is under-11 Connor Prior, who finished 11th in his race.

The selection deadline is January 30, and the Northern Championship at Blackburn is the last race to be taken into consideration.

The following Houghton Harriers have been selected to represent the City of Sunderland in the Tyne & Wear Sportshall Athletics County Final at Temple Park, South Shields on Sunday, January 24.

Under-11s: Neve Hall, Maddie Turner, Evie Harrison and Bethany Tippens.

Under-13s: Will Bellamy, Philippa Ellis, Anna Pigford and Courtney Clark.

Under-15s: Thomas Bowdon and Stephanie Welsh.

Sunderland Strollers annual Stroller of the Year award will be presented at the club’s Christmas party on Sunday at the Barnes Hotel.

Voting is still taking place and will end at midnight tonight. The nominations are:

1: Dan Anderson, for his performances this year and minibus driving.

2: Mick Armstrong, for his leadership of the Monday Penshaw Run and Friday’s Barnes Run along with completing his run every day of the year.

3: Jill Connolly, for her efforts in providing new kit for all members.

4: Alyson Dixon, as Strollers’ No1 runner and for her Olympic qualifying run in Berlin.

5: Ritchie Gerry, another strong year’s running, including his impressive time at the London Marathon.

6: Harry Harrison, for his work as club secretary, organisation of the Pier to Pier race, Urban Ultra 35 race and winter handicap.

7: Kevin O’Neill, as an ever present in encouraging all members.

8: Tricia O’Neill, a committee member and chief marshal for the Doorstep Marathon.

9: Paul Riddell, who maintains a positive online presence to offer support to all Strollers.

10: Terry Topping, for his organisation of Strollers’ transport.

The Strollers’ Pier to Pier race from South Shields to Roker will be on Sunday, May 22, 2016.

Already, 147 entries have been received. The cost is £23 for unattached and £21 for England Athletics registered athletes.