Northumberland girls to the fore in National Championships

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Northumberland Girls were very marginally the best of the county’s performers at the annual English Schools Cross-Country Championships, held at Norfolk Showground in Norwich, on Saturday.

They finished first amongst four counties who were separated in a separate Group D, by terms of county size, ahead of Cumbria, Northamptonshire, and Shropshire, and for this they were presented an aggregate trophy based on total scores accumulated.

In the Boys events, Northumberland finished second, just behind Cumbria, but ahead of Shropshire and Hereford and Worcestershire.

Among the Northumberland squads facing the starter in the six programmed events, were 12 athletes from Morpeth, four on the female side, and eight from the male section.

Holly Peck (Junior Girls 3.25k), and Rory Leonard (Intermediate Boys 6k) were certainly the pick of the best Northumberland performers.

In Peck’s case, she finished an excellent 21st, just behind fellow Northumbrian Innes Curran, of Gateshead Harriers, in 20th place, although there was nothing between them at the finish line.

The pair led the Northumberland squad home to 19th team place.

Also amongst the counters was Morpeth Harrier Rhiannon Hedley, who finished 184th, and was fourth home for the squad in what was her first ever English Schools.

The Junior Girls event had a total finishing field of 344, and also in action was Morpeth Harrier Lily Heaton, who was outside the scoring counts in 288th place.

Rory Leonard was one of four Morpeth Harriers competing in the Intermediate Boys event, as he led Northumberland home to 18th team place, by finishing in an excellent 19th spot.

Fellow Morpeth Harrier Taylor Glover was second home from the county in 48th place.

The other two Morpeth Harriers in the event were Daniel Dixon and Matthew Waterfield, who were fifth and sixth counters in 202nd and 220th places respectively.

In the Intermediate Girls 3.75k event, Morpeth’s Gracie Hufton ran well to finish as fifth counter in 245th place for a Northumberland squad which finished 28th.

Kieran Hedley led Northumberland’s Senior Boys home to 31st team place in their 7.2k event when finishing in 55th place.

Fellow Morpeth Harrier Jake Masterman was third counter in 152nd place.

Northumberland Junior Boys finished 25th in their 4k event with Morpeth Harrier Thomas Cunningham finishing 150th as the squads third counter.

In his first English Schools appearance, fellow Morpeth athlete Ben Walker did well to finish 315th, but outside the scoring counts.

Conditions underfoot were very firm, on a relatively flat dry course, however, prevailing winds gave runners a fairly stiff test in open stretches.

Morpeth Harrier Scott Beattie was forced to sit out this weekend’s English Schools Cross-Country Championships, which perhaps robbed him of a chance of yet another medal winning opportunity.

Under a UK Athletics directive, the U20 Inter Counties Silver and Northern Gold medallist was rested from competition in preparation for his forthcoming date in Kampala, Uganda, this Sunday, when he is scheduled to line up in Great Britain’s Junior Men’s squad in the prestigious World Cross-Country Championships

The fifth and final meeting of the Indoor Standards events was held at Gateshead College and seven athletes from Morpeth Harriers were involved in respective competitive action.

On the track, U15 Girl athlete Amy Lott was fastest in the U15 Girls 60m Hurdles with 9.99s, and was fifth fastest in her age group in the flat 60m with 8.72s.

Fellow Morpeth Harrier Olivia Hawkes was 16th fastest in the U15 Girls flat 60m with 9.53s.

In the U13 Boys 60m, Koffi Avornyo produced new figures of 8.75s, which was marginally the fastest in his age group, and the night proved to be extra special for him, when he produced a new personal best when clearing 1.45m in the High Jump.

Olivia Gent was fourth fastest U13 Girl in the 60m, when she clocked 9.90s.

Making his Indoor debut, Alfie Ward was second fastest in the Under 15 Boys 60m Hurdles with 10.65s, and was tenth fastest in the flat 60m with 8.65s.

Also, making his competitive debut, Alfie’s younger brother Fintan was second in the Under 13 Boys Shot Putt, producing a best effort of 4.35s.

North Eastern Champion Ethan Stephenson cleared 1.60m to win the Under 15 Boys High Jump.