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Great start to 2017 for the Harriers!

 At the traditional year opening NAA Cross Country Championships the Harriers athletes competing put in some terrific performances to match 2016 achievement with 4 athletes being crowned county champion (Emily Williams U15 Girls, Claudia Nevett U20 women, Edward Cannell U20 men, and Jonathan Goringe Senior men’s title). There were also there 3 Silver individual medals for U15B Dylan Bowley, U11B Lucas Rogers, U17M Fynn Batkin and a Bronze medal for U20M Jack Hope.

As well as 4 individual winners there was a Team Gold (U17 Women) who successfully defended their 2016 team title, as well as a Team Silver for U13B, U17M & Senior Women and a Team Bronze for the Senior Men.

U17 Women, winners of the Team Gold with Amy Robinson, Sophie Moss, Harriet Jolley

The weather at a damp Abington Park was surprisingly mild, and the ground in the main firm so conditions were favourable for the athletes, although the hilly course was certainly challenging.

First race off saw two individual success in the combined U15 B&G race held over 5km, the first county champion crowned was Emily Williams who was a class apart from the field, easily securing the defence of her title with an imperious victory, one of the largest on the day, to complete the course in 19:14, ahead of R&N Molly Williams. In the Boys race Dylan Bowley who ran a superb race to secure a fine Silver medal behind R&N Adam Caulfield in 17:20. Dylan was able to sit in on the lead until the start of the second lap where a gap was opened up, but he will take comfort from the fact he still has another year in the age group. Also running a fine race and securing a county selection for the first time was Ben Holborow finishing in 7th place in 19:42.

U15 Emily Williams secured her second consecutive county title

The second race of the day was the combined U13 B&G race over 2.6km which saw Josh Geddes get a fine start in his first county championships, and run a superb race to finish just out of the medals in 4th place in 10:08 and secure selection for the County Team. Ben Brooker had a fine run to finish in 11th in 10:41 and will be one of the reserves for the county team, and Ryan Raulia saw off his twin by finishing in 15th (11:09) to help the U13B win a fine team Silver. Tommy James ran a solid race to finish in 16th (11:11) and Brandon Raulia 19th (11:14). In the girls race Freya Batkin ran well to finish just outside of the medals for 4th in 10:40 to secure selection for the County team, with bottom year Lauren Hewett also running well for 13th (11:32). Mia Brockway missing through illness was successfully appealed to make the county team.

In the combined U17 M&W race over the longer distance of 6km there was a large contingent of Harriers involved, with Fynn Batkin improving one place from last year to claim the Silver medal in 20:16 with a terrific run, Fynn was in contention until the final lap where R&N Adam Searle managed to pulled away to win but Fynn will take comfort that he is a bottom year athlete. Josh Cannell improved on his 12th place last year to secure the final county team position with a fine run for 8th place in 22:02, and Jack Watson making good progress in the squad ran a solid race for 13th in 24:24 to help secure a Silver team medal for the Harriers. In the U17 Women’s race there were 5 Harriers in action and Sophie Moss again proved her consistency by finishing top Harrier in 4th place in 25:31, with Amy Robinson running a strong race for 5th in 27:14 & Harriet Jolley finishing close behind in 6th place in 27:57 to help the U17W retail their team Gold medal There were mixed fortunes for the remaining two Harriers who both had to retire due to niggles, Poppy Carmichael who was enjoying a fine race until she withdrew made the county team on appeal, and Charlotte Maywood was installed under appeal to first reserve.

The senior women’s/ U20’s race held over the full 10k distance mixed in with the Senior & U20 Men was a stiff test for the younger age group, with just one athlete competing, KTH’s Claudia Nevett. Completing over this distance for the first time Claudia put in a high quality performance to finish 4th overall and secure the U20 Gold by completing the 4 lap course in 41:08. Kriztina Kurutz also competing for the first time at this distance over cross country was the first SW home for the Harriers finishing in a fine 6th place in 45:45 securing her first selection for the County Team, with Trudi Pike running a solid race finishing in 10th (47:24) helping the SW secure a Silver team medal. Also putting in highly credible performances for the Harriers were Kerry Munn 11th (49:06), Karen Albery 14th (50:41) & Elaine Fairbrother 16th (52:02).

U20 Claudia Nevett fine run to take Gold and finish 4th overall.

In the men’s race over the same distance there was a terrific race between KTH’s Jonathan Goringe & Birchfield Harriers Rory Grant who both set the pace throughout the race with Goringe easily leaving his former arch rival on the final lap to surge to his second consecutive SM title In 32:31.

Senior men's winner Jonathan Goringe battling with Rory Grant

The next Harrier home was U20 Edward Cannell who ran a super race to win the U20 county championship, his first championship win, in style to finish 12th overall in 35:42. Jack Hope, a little of the pace following some injuries in his first University term ran well to secure a bronze medal in 36:37 and will now look to build on this in the coming months. Phil West in 29th (39:22), Tony James (40:36) & Ross Brown (40:59) all ran well to help the Harriers secure a team Bronze medal.

U20 Edward Cannell first County Title

In all a terrific day’s racing and some great early season performances. Well Done to all who ran.