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 18th March 2017.
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.
Amongst the Northumberland squads facing the starter in the six programmed events,
were twelve athletes from Morpeth Harriers, 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.