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Harriers secure two Silver medals at Anglian

Alice Bennett and Emily Williams lead the way for the 20 Harriers in action at the Inter-Counties Anglian Trophy with both winning silver medals in their age groups. The Anglian Trophy see's Northamptonshire’s finest cross-country athletes competing against local counties Cambs/ Lincs/ Norfolk & Suffolk, and 10 of the squad should gain selection for the Highly prestigious English Schools National championships in Liverpool on March 14th.

The competition was hosted by Lincolnshire within the somewhat confined surroundings of Witham Country park in Boston, which led to a lot of confusion over the complex course which had few marshals to assist the athletes. Conditions were also extremely dry underfoot and with much of the course on paths many of the athletes decided to wear normal trainers rather than spikes.

U15 Alice Bennett produced the performance of the day with a brilliant race over the designated 3100m course, which in reality like most of the races on the day the distance was considerably shorter than specified. Bennett got a terrific start, settling in a small chasing pack that had decided to let Suffolk’s fast starting Ruby Vinton effectively run a solo race. Bennett sat in until 500m to go when she stretched the pace to open a gap on the chasing pack, cruising to a fine Silver medal to secure her position for English schools, and spearhead the Northants team to a superb Gold team medal. Bennett is certainly growing in confidence over her less favoured cross country and will head into her final championship races in a buoyant mood. The only other Harrier in action in the age group was Josie Crick who ran well for 70th place.

Alice Bennett performance of the day to win the Silver medal in the U15G race

U19 Emily Williams running in her last but one schools XC race was left frustrated in settling for second place when she miss judged her final finishing effort in the closing stages of the confusing course. Williams looked comfortable in the race and managed to haul in one of the two Norfolk athletes who had boxed her in with a terrific finish but sadly she had to settle for Silver behind Norfolk’s Kate Willis. Williams will lead the Northants Senior Girls, including Harrier Amelia McMurtrie who was unable to run, at her final schools XC race in Liverpool.

Emily Williams with a fast finish to win Silver in the U19 race

There were further top performances on the day with bottom year U17 Alice Bates running a terrific race to finish just out of the medals in 4th place. Bates had worked hard to get a fast start to ensure she was not held up on the narrow & twisty course and she settled in the leading pack, sadly for Bates she lost the Bronze medal when the fast finishing Lincs athlete India Barnwell just piped to the line. Bates was top finisher for the County so will ensure she holds pole position at English schools. Freya Batkin ran a strong race finishing in 28th place, and importantly top 6 in the Northants County competition to secure her place at English schools, with Toni Robinson the final Harrier finishing in a respectable 74th place.

Alice Bates with a great start in the U17 girls race to finish in 4th place

In the U13 Girls race Maggie Gancheva produced an excellent run to finish in 10th place, battling over the very short course with fellow Northants Athletes she ran her county teammates close to the finishing line, whith excellent packing Northants secured a Silver team medal. Ella Separovic ran well for 68th place.=

Maggie Gancheva with an excellent run for 10th place

Northants U13 Boys won the team competition with a solid run from Harrier, Nathan Lamb, who ran well for 18th position (4th Northants) with some good performances from Bottom year athletes George Sharp in 60th, Finn Currie in 66th and Zac Scott in 67th all running well.

In the U17 boys race there were x3 Harriers securing all important English schools places with Luke Cole leading the way with a terrific run for 30th place (3rd Northants), with a close battle between Josh Geddes & Callum Cox, who both ran well to secure their selections with the former finishing in 34th (5th Northants) & Cox in 36th (6th Northants). Rio Carr seemed to struggle with the course and had to settle for 46th with club colleagues Josh Clutton in 51st, Ryan Raulia 67th & Idayi Jumbe in 70th after suffering a fall.

Callum Cox (449) & Josh Geddes both secured English Schools selections

U19 Dylan Bowley ran well in his first XC race of the year following an injury to finish in 34th place overall and secure his place at English Schools with a 4th place finish in the Northants team.

The final race of the day saw U15 bottom year athlete, Dylan White book his place for first English schools championship with a 50th place finish (5th Northants finisher) with a gutsy run, with George Separovic running well for 67th place.

Well done to all who ran, and congratulations for the 10 squad members selected for English Schools.