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England call up No 4 for Emily Williams!

KTH's Emily Williams produced her best XC performance of the season when it mattered most, with England vests up for grabs for the top 8 places she powered her way to a magnificent 6th place at the English Schools National Championship to secure her third England vest in successive years over cross country, and her 4th overall.

The championships were held in freezing condition with snow blizzards and gale force winds on the magnificent grounds of Temple Newsome House in Leeds, and the superb course was a real tough test with many steep inclines to deal with. The organisers had done a great job in keeping athletes off the course and the conditions were surprising firm, especially compared with the quagmire condition the week earlier at the Inter-Counties Champs.

Williams was the first race off, and she made the most of the firmer conditions and followed her pre-race plan to run the first 1500m aggressively and to stick right at the fore of the race in the hope of a breakaway group forming. This worked brilliantly as she found herself pushing the pace and battling with 4 athletes in with a chance of securing the individual Bronze, Williams continued to push over the closing stages securing a magnificent 6th place over the 3.8km course in 13:59, showing hugely impressive consistency over the past 3 years in securing her 3rd successive call to represent England at the SIAB International on the 24th March, competing against the best athletes from Scotland Wales and a combined Ireland.

Emily Williams on her way to secure her 3rd succesive England vest over the country

This was her main goal for the XC season and an ecstatic Williams said “I’m delighted to have qualified for SIAB this year, I was so pleased when I crossed the line and knew I had secured a vest, I’ve been training hard and was hoping I could do it.” She added “The whole day was really nice cheering on the other squad members in the following races and to get an England vest was my main goal this season and I’m so happy to have have acheived this.”

Williams’s recent form in National Championships has been slightly below her high expectations, but as champions must she produced her best when it mattered most. Delighted coach Shane Smith said “Over the past 2 years Emily has shown amazing consistency on both XC and on track and she has shown she is an athlete who always produces on the big occasion.” He added “we are now looking forward to the International race at Wollaton Park in Nottingham, the course where she made her breakthrough just 2 years ago.”

Other Harriers performed well at the championship with bottom year Senior Girl Poppy Carmichael continuing her strong form in the closing stages of the season, finishing in a fine 139th place over the 4.1km distance in 18:39, her best showing for the past 4 seasons, and she will hopefully benefit from her current form in the upcoming track season.

Poppy Carmichael with stong finish to her XC season in a fine 139th place

Other SG in action included Harriett Jolley who is enjoying a consistent season in 251st place (20:12) & Amy Robinson running a solid race in 279th place (20:57). There were 323 finishers in the race.

Bottom Year Intermediate Boy Dylan Bowley, by his own omission is probably past his best over what has been a busy season, ran well to finish in 208th place in 20:14 over the 5.2km course helping the Northants team to their highest placing on the day in 25th place.

The final two Harries in action were competing in the Senior Boys race over 6.8km with Josh Cannell making his English Schools debut running well to finish in 294th place in 28:55, closely followed by Tom Jawad in 297th (29:36).

Most of the squad now take a well-earned short break before starting the 2018 Track Season in April.

Well done to everyone who competed on the day over an extremely tough Yorkshire championship course.