Saturday 30 January 2016
The Northern Cross Country Championships at Witton Park, Blackburn was another memorable day for Hallamshire. The demanding course was made even more challenging by clawing mud, driving sleet, snow, hail and strong winds. It proved to be a real test of running ability, character and courage.
The Senior Women provided one of the performances of the day to regain the Northern title. Hatti Archer led the team brilliantly on her return with a fine 6th place in 31:24. Lizzie Adams, also making a welcome return after a long lay off, battled her way to 18th in 32:57. Zanthe Wray made another set forward to finish a fine 20th in 33:08 with Hannah Fletcher also having her best ever run at the Northerns finishing 26th in 33:36. Hannah Whitelam continued her improvement taking 74th in 37:29 with Rachel Poole battling through to 184th in 42:44.
The Senior Men also produced a fine performance to claim the bronze medal in the team competition and within 4 points of denying Leeds the silver medal. Steve Bayton followed his fine run at the Yorkshires with an excellent 9th place in 45:02. Bertie Houghton worked his way through the field for a fine 17th in 45:33. Rob Little looked very strong in taking 19th in 45:38 with Dave Archer showing great strength to finish 28th in 46:32. Andy Challenger overcame his dislike of cross country to make a crucial contribution in 45th in 47:54 and Pete Hodges continued his fine form to take 65th in 49:05 to clinch the bronze medal. Nic Barber and Neil Northrop used their felling running experience to finish 87th (50:21) and 93rd (50:31) respectively. Ben Beattie was 104th in 50:53 with Mike Sprot 203rd in 55:21 and Paul Faulkner 373rd in 1:02:01.
Connor Milnes, despite a cold and with the testing conditions ran well in the U20M race to finish 14th in 28:47 with Josh Walton also running well to take 42nd in 31:12.
In the U20W race, Charlotte Slack had her best run ever in the Northerns to finish 17th in 24:44 with Ellie Crownshaw using her fell running strength to take 27th in 26:22.
Cameron Bell produced one of the outstanding individual performances in the U17M race to claim the bronze medal. In a breakaway group of 3 on the opening lap, Cameron held on well to take 3rd in 19:42. Jack Crownshaw ran well to finish 55th in 22:34 and Jack Wells had his best run of the winter in 64th in 23:00.
In the U17W race, Mary McCarthy ran very well to take 7th in 19:29. Imani Wilson continued her return to fitness with a good run to finish 25th in 20:30. Caitlin Tevendale, despite being unwell, dealt well with the difficult conditions to finish 58th in 22:07.
David Lewis produced a strong run to lead home the HHS athletes in finishing 76th in 16:40. Victor Baycroft battled through finishing 89th in 16:53.
In the U15G race, Eve Crownshaw showed her strength on the fells to finish 15th in 17:53. Saskia Huxham and Laura Trask both ran very well to finish 21st (18:07) and 23rd (18:09) respectively.
Jodie Hill produced another outstanding performance to claim the individual bronze medal and lead the team home to gold and the Northern Athletics title. Jodie was 2nd coming off the top of the hill only to be caught in the thick mud on the run in, finishing 3rd in 13:51. Zena Hartley had another impressive run to finish 17th in 14:36. Maggie Naylor came 40th in 15:08 and May Quinn continued her fine form finishing 47th in 15:20, all helping the team to Gold. Holly Booker had an excellent run taking 49th in 15:21. Mo Martin had a strong run to finish 56th in 15:27 and Katie Adams was 71st in a time of 15:41. Tati Wilson, despite difficultly breathing in the difficult conditions, battled through to 73rd in 15:44 with Lois Blake showing great courage to finish 95th in 16:07. Lauren Chambers finished 152nd in her first ever Northern Championships in 17:09 and Jenna Hazard came 174th in 17:58.
In a high quality U13B race, Taylor Hill produced another of the outstanding individual performances of the day to finish 4th in 12:49, narrowly failing to close the gap on 2nd and 3rd on the final run in. Tom Atkinson gained valuable experience in his first Northern championships and showed great character to finish 188th in 16:34.
Many thanks to Tina Wilson, Hannah Whitelam and Dave Archer for their work as team managers to get out so many athletes and help produce such a memorable day.