MORPETH Harrier Emma Holt (formerly Pearson) fully celebrated her call-up to the North East’s Senior Women’s squad for the UK Inter Counties Cross Country Championships, scheduled to be held in Birmingham next month, by storming to an impressive second place from the medium pack, at the fourth Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League, held at Wrekenton on Saturday, writes George Patteron.
She also picked up a well-earned Harrier League individual silver medal for her effort, and clocked one of the day’s fastest times.
Holt is also preparing for a spring triathlon and her form at present certainly points to a successful period of competition for the Morpeth-based veterinary surgeon.
She not only picked up a team medal with her club at December’s North Eastern Counties Championship at Hartlepool, but was also one of the region’s top performers at last month’s North of England Cross Country Championships, hence her inclusion for the Inter Counties.
Morpeth Harriers’ other Senior Woman finisher was Claire Bruce, who placed 110th from the slow pack.
It was also a successful day for Morpeth Harriers Senior Men, who scored an impressive team victory, despite missing some of their leading lights.
The club’s first finisher, however, was a non-scoring athlete, when Adam Morrell placed sixth from the medium pack.
However, his brother Richard, who can now count officially for Morpeth, following his transfer from New Marske, was not far behind in 11th place, and led the club’s charge from the fast pack, finishing second fastest overall on the day. One place behind Richard was Morpeth’s Thomas Straughan, who impressively came from the medium pack to make the second count for his club.
The club’s third, fourth and fifth counters finished in quick succession.
Veteran Paul Waterston finished 26th from the medium pack, and fast packers Ian Harding and Graeme Taylor both had excellent runs to finish in 27th and 28th places.
Morpeth Harriers certainly showed their superiority when Rob Hancox closed his club’s winning count in 41st place from the slow pack.
Other Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s finishers on the day were Alistair MacDonald (59th, slow pack), Mick Thomsen (62nd, medium pack), Mike Winter (71st, medium pack), Ed Hillier (110th, slow pack) and Sam Hancox (155th, medium pack).
With the Northern Inter Counties Schools Cross Country taking place at Guisborough, North Yorkshire, the younger age group races were subject to some notable absentees, so therefore the grand prix and league competition was suspended for the Under 13 Boys and Girls, the Under 15 Boys and Girls, the Under 17 Men, and Under 17 and Junior Women’s events.
In the Under 13 Boys’ event, Morpeth Harriers Adam Shewry and Josh Burton placed third and 23rd from the slow and fast packs.
Sam Williams placed 18th from the fast pack in the Under 15 Boys’ event.
Morpeth Harriers’ lone runner in the Under 17 Men’s event was Joe Elder, who finished seventh from the slow pack.
Morpeth Harrier Jonny Nisbet more than justified the bye that the Northumberland selectors gave him to compete for them at Saturday’s Northern Inter Counties Schools Championships at Guisborough, when he comfortably won the Senior Boys’ event by a 35-second margin on what could only be described as a very heavy course at the Laurence Jackson School.
Nisbet is obviously heading into some excellent form, following a short lay-off due to exams, and will now eagerly look forward to competing for the county at the English Schools at Catton Hall, Derbyshire in March.
He can also take much pleasure that he also defeated 2011 North Eastern Champion Wayne Parker of Cleveland, who finished well behind him in fifth place.
Hopefully, joining him on the bus for Derbyshire will be his Morpeth Harriers club colleague Phillip Caldwell, who also produced a good run to finish 15th, and was fourth home from the county.
Another excellent Morpeth Harriers performer was Phillip Winkler, who finished third in the Intermediate Boys, and was first from Northumberland, which guarantees him his English Schools spot.
Elliot Kelly should also make the Derbyshire trip, after finishing as fifth counter in 21st place.
Not so fortunate however was Ryan Green, who disappointingly finished 47th, and as 13th home from the county.
In the Junior Boys event Kieran Hedley once again produced a brilliant run to finish fifth, and as second from the county.
It remains to be seen whether Morpeth Harrier club colleague Jacob Hopkins 41st placing as ninth counter will see him make the English Schools.
Unfortunately, Philip Kirby was forced to battle his way round with injury, which saw him finish 53rd, and 14th from the county.
Injury prevented Joe Dowd from competing in the Minor Boys event; however his Morpeth Harriers club colleague Alex Cunningham produced an excellent run to finish 10th, and 3rd from Northumberland.
Another Morpeth Harrier Cameron Dick enjoyed the experience of a late call up to finish 34th as 14th for Northumberland.
This age group have another year to wait before possible progress to the English Schools.
The Girls events also saw some good performances from athletes belonging to Morpeth Harriers.
Best of these came from Lizzie Rank, who finished 15th in the Junior race, and was third home for Northumberland, which will also see her on the bus to Derbyshire.
There may also be a place for club colleague Stephanie Patten, who finished 35th, and as 8th from the county.
Alison Brown, Hannah Sheerin, and Charlotte Jewell all have an anxious wait to see if they will progress to the English Schools following their respective performances in the Intermediate Girls event.
Alison finished 18th as 7th counter for the county, with Hannah and Charlotte not far behind in 21st and 22nd places as 8th and 9th scorers.
Further back in the Intermediate Girls field were Morpeth Harriers colleagues Amber Cormack and Beth Woolley, who were 39th and 40th and 12th and 13th from the county.
A late call up to the Minor Girls event saw Kate Seymour finish halfway down the field in 21st place and eighth from the county.
She will also have another year before being eligible for the English Schools.
Selectors hope to complete their teams over the next fourteen days.
Three Morpeth Harriers competed in the final meeting of the Jarrow Young Athletes Indoor Series, held at Monkton Stadium last Thursday.
Henrick Paulsen set new figures of 8.0s in the Under 20 Mens 60m, as did Naomi Arkle in the Under 15 Girls event, when clocking 8.9s.
Naomi’s younger sister Nadine clocked a seasons best 9.4s in the Under 13 Girls event.