Saturday 28 January 2022
There were some outstanding individual and team performances at the Northern Cross Country Championships, despite the gale force winds making the Pontefract course difficult and challenging.
Hallamshire Harriers were the only club to take medals in the senior women’s and men’s competitions. The women narrowly missed out on winning the Northern championships to add to their Yorkshire title . The men took bronze in a very tight team competition for the medals. There were also some fine performances by our very promising junior athletes.
The senior women again showed their fierce competitive spirit under pressure to finish second, only missing out on the team gold medal by 2 points. Lauren Heyes pushed the pace of the race throughout despite the strong winds, constantly trying to break the rest of the field. Lauren was unlucky to miss out on a podium place, finishing 4th in 31:29. Katie Palfreeman produced another battling performance to take 9th in 35:25. Eve Pannone worked her way through the field with a strong run over the second lap to take 29th in 35:25. Evie Brailsford pace her race well to finish just behind in 32 in 35:35 and clinch the team silver.
Charlotte Slack, despite breathing difficulties, push herself to the limit in finishing 39th (35:50). Harriet Wingfield made a very promising debut in her first ever cross country race to take 42nd in 35:54. Nicola Squires was in close contention throughout, finishing 46th in 36:11. Cat Allen, making her debut for HHS, ran well to take 54th (36:47) and Ellie Crownshaw continued her return to competition, finishing 118th in 41:04.
The strength of the women’s squad was highlighted by the fact that Katie was the only athlete to also score in the Yorkshire title winning team. The team overcame illness and injury with strong runs by all the squad to produce another medal winning performance.
The senior men were involved in a very tight competition for the medals. They also had to deal with illness and injury but came within 2 points of the team silver medal and with 10 points of the gold.
Andy Heyes again set the pace for the team, despite having just completed a half marathon, with 5th place (42:42). Cameron Bell produced his best run of the winter to take a fine 6th in 42:51. Jamie Hall gained valuable points, moving away from a large group, on the run in to the finish (20th in 44:37). James McCrae used his track speed to finish quickly and take 36th in 45:14. Aidan Smith and John Birch produced crucial runs to help take the team bronze. Aidan looked strong throughout in finishing 41st (45:21) while John Birch gained vital places over the second half of the course to finish 43rd in 45:37.
Matt Fuller had a good run, finishing 60th in 46:47. Kieron Sexton put in a fast finish to the 71st in 47:21 and Tom Buckley ran well to take 98th in 48:29.
The rest of the squad also performed well with Christian Battersby 107th in 48:47, Josh Williams 125th in 49:42, Craig Fishwick 132nd in 50:01, Wyatt Hill 136th in 50:14, Richard Barker 17th in 51:29, Matt Craig 201st in 52:26 and Jon Slate 287th in 55:43. Unfortunately, Gareth Phoenix lost his timing chip so his battling run is not recorded for the annals of history.
One of the most promising performances of the day was from Hannah Metherall in the junior women’s race. Hannah was just out dipped on the line but finished an excellent 9th in 22:11. Laura Trask also ran well in her return to fitness to finish 39th in 24:15.
The junior men’s team packed very well to finish 5th in the team competition. Ben Sharrock led the team home, finishing 28th in 31:17. Dylan Stevens had another good run to take 33rd in 32:03. Henry Webb also put in a strong performance to take 34th in 32:05.
Alex Mason was only just behind in 35th in 32:10. Jonah Patton closed quickly to finish 39th in 32:46 and Sam Tierney completed a good squad performance, finishing 50th in 33:50.
In the U17M race, Euan Patton demonstrated his potential with 11th place (21:42) in a strong field. Olmo Combley ran well in difficult conditions to finish 63rd in 24:18