Athletes impress at New Balance English Schools' AA Cross Country Championships
There were impressive performances and athletes making breakthroughs as the New Balance English Schools' championships were contested at Wollaton Park, Nottingham.
Alex Yee (London, Club: Kent, Coach: Ken Pike) was in dominant form in the Senior Boys race.
Moving to the front early on the gap became 70m before the last lap and he just kept moving away. Behind him it was Will Richardson (Here & Worc, Club: Birchfield, Coach: Peter Stewart) and Isaac Akers (Leics & Rut, Club: Corby, Coach: Bill Boyd) who led the chase.
As that final lap got underway Jamie Dee (Herts, Club: Shaftesbury) lay in six place but he was moving up with purpose. His charge saw him overtake everyone ahead of him other than Yee who was 33 seconds clear at the line as Akers claimed bronze ahead of Scott Beattie (Northumberland, Club: Morpeth, Coach: Mike Bateman).
Kent were champions in the team event with 252 points.
Sabrina Sinha (Club: Cambridge H, Coach: Peter Mullervy) led a Kent one-two in the Senior Girls race.
Having taken the lead from Poppy Tank (Devon, City of Plymouth, Coach: Simon Anderson) Sinha put on one of her determined front running displays and ran away from the field.
As she did so her county team-mate Niamh Bridson-Hubbard (Club: Blackheath & Bromley, Coach: Andy Frankish) was working to pick off the other athletes who had formed the leading pack to move through into silver medal position with National Under 17 champion Niamh Brown (Surrey, Club: Aldershot, Farnham & District, Coach: Mick Woods) taking the bronze.
It was no surprise to see Kent come out on top of the team competition with 305 points.
It was Matthew Willis (Cheshire, Club: Wrexham) who claimed the Inter Boys title ahead of the three athletes who took the medals at last week’s Under 15 ECCA National Cross Country Championship. To the fore early on was last week’s ECCA National bronze medallist Lachlan Wellington, this time running in the Hamps & Vectis vest, (Club: Portsmouth, Coach: Vince Stamp) and when Willis hit the front Wellington was determined to hold on and claim the silver medal position. In third was the National champion Joshua Cowperthwaite (Cleveland, Club: Middlesbrough, Coach: Martin Peevor) who had hung slightly off the early pace but moved through to take bronze ahead of Ricky Lutakome (Surrey, Sutton & District, Maureen Hancock).
Hampshire & Vectis were winning team with 328 points.
The Inter Girls were the ones who got the action underway with the first race of the day – and it was a close and hard fought battle. When Josie Czura (Hamps & Vectis, Club: City of Portsmouth) went to the front of the Intermediate Girls race and applied the pressure it was a lead that was not to be overhauled. However, the race remained tight throughout with Kathleen Faes (Kent, Club: Tonbridge, Coach: Nikolaas Faes) claiming second in a close battle with Berkshire’s Amelia Quirk (Club: Bracknell, Coach: Beverley Kitching) just three seconds behind Czura and with both athletes given the same time.
The team title was won by Kent on 104 points.
It was Harris Mier (Cornwall, Club: Cornwall, Coach: John Knowles) who took the Junior Boys title. Having exchanged the lead earlier on with David Dow (Cambs, Club: Cambridge & Col, Coach: Mark Vile) he moved to the front decisively and pulled away from the field. Joshua Dickinson (North Yorks, Club: City of York, Coach: Ian Wilcock) was not to the fore in the early exchanges but came through strongly to take the silver medal just ahead of Alfie Bould (Cheshire, Coach: Vale Royal, Andrew Carter) with Dow taking fourth.
The team title was taken by Surrey with 187 points.
Emily Williams (Club: Kettering H, Shane Smith) of Northamptonshire made a breakthrough performance to become the Junior Girls champion having won the Angian Schools earlier in the winter. Her win came ahead of a frantic home straight battle for silver between Cumbria’s Olivia Mason (Club: Border, Coach: Graeme Mason) and Merseyside’s Ellla McNiven (Club: Liverpool H, Coach: Lynn Webb) who had moved ahead of early leader Tia Wilson (Beds, Club: Bedford & County). Both Mason and McNiven were give the same time but it was Mason who was just ahead on the finish line to take silver to the Merseyside athlete’s bronze.
Surrey were county winners on 178 points.