2nd Gold Rush of 2016!

The fantastic start to 2016 from the KTH Middle Distance Squad continued with a second Gold Rush of 2016 at the County Schools Championships held on a beautifully cold and crisp morning at Abington Park, Northampton. There were 4 members of the squad crowned County Schools Champion in total with three more finishing runner up’s, which is a record haul. There were first championship wins for the inform U13 Freya Baktin and for Claudia Nevett in the U19G. U15G Emily Williams & U19B Jack Hope both secured their second County Championship wins of 2016, and with many other members of the squad finishing in the top 14 securing qualification for the next round, the Anglian Trophy inter-counties race, where English Schools places are up for grabs it was a fantastic day for the Harriers.

Freya Batkin was the first Harrier in action in the U13G race, and she went one better than the NAA County Champs 2 weeks earlier to take Gold in style with a superb front running race which saw her power her way to a win from R&N Katie Mannix over the 2.5 km course to take her first ever county title. Freya like older brother Fynn, has really started to blossom into a fine runner over the past 6 months, and she is running full of confidence, and was really delighted with her first county title. Also in action in this U13 G was Mia Brockway who is also in fine form and she repeated her fine performance in the NAA county championships to finish in 6th place to qualify with ease for the Anglian Trophy. Also qualifying in 14th place was Sky-Lilly Kay who is beginning to return to some form following missed training due to illness, and she will look to build upon this in the coming weeks, and running well but just off the qualification places was Sophie Toseland who finished in a credible 18th place.

Freya Batkin first County Title in U13G race

In the U13B race it was so nearly a 5th Championship win for the Harriers when Hal Robinson finished the 2.9 km course with typical determination to almost close down the winner R&N Noah Bennett in the final 200m, but sadly he had just left too much to do and had to settle for the Silver medal just a few seconds behind the winner. Bottom year Ben Brooker also put in a gutsy performance against much older boys to finish in a very credible 29th place, with Josh Geddes running well to finish in 41st place.

In the U15G race the red hot favourite Emily Williams did not disappoint with a stylish performance which saw her take to the front and totally dominate the race from start to finish to complete the 3.3 km to comfortably win from R&N Molly Williams and record her 2nd county XC title in as many weeks, and Emily will look to build on this with regional races in the next few weeks at Midland Counties & the Anglian Trophy where sterner competition will be certain. Also running a terrific race in the U15G was Alice Gammon who repeated her feat in the NAA county Championships to finish in a superb 7th place to easily qualify for the next round, where she will hoping to secure English schools qualification at the first attempt? Also running well and just missing out in selection was Daisy Robinson who ran a better race to finish in 15th place, with Natalie Short and Millie Toseland also having respectable runs in 28th & 30th respectively.

Emily Williams secured her second County Title in 2016 in the U15G race

In the U15B race over 4 km Dylan Bowley was up against his local rival Archie Parkinson, and the in-form top year athlete Adam Caulfield, and both boys opened up a small gap on Dylan in the first km which he struggled to close, Dylan eventually settling for third place to take the Bronze medal and with 4 back to back races for Dylan over the coming weeks this was probably a sensible decision. Adam Caulfield went to win comfortably from Parkinson. Also running well and enjoying his best race of the season was Henri Codling, who produced a terrific run to finish in 4th place to secure selection with ease.

In the U17G race there was a terrific battle between Harriers Bethan Lewin and Sophie Moss who were locked together over the 3.7 km course both edging each other on over the final lap to surge ahead of the Watson twins from Harborough A/C to finish in 5th & 6th place respectively and both ease through to the next round, also running well & enjoying perhaps her best race of the season was Amy Robinson who ran a fine race to finish in 10th place and secure qualification. Harriett Jolly enjoyed a fine race to finish in a qualification slot in 12th but will have to wait anxiously for any appeals in the AG to be considered (Including the Harriers Danni-McCann-Gaskell & Chloe Hearn, who were both unable to race), and finally making her full XC debut, Charlotte Maywood run a fine opening race to finish is a highly respectable 18th place, just off the qualifying places, this brings the potential number of harriers qualifying in this AG to 6.

In the U17B race bottom year Fynn Batkin continued his fine XC season with a terrific race to claim the silver medal behind the R&N winner Josh Lay over the slightly longer 5.8 km course, Fynn was in a group of 3 athletes including Harrier Jake Trent, and managed to pull away on the second lap on the long hill to open up a comfortable gap on James Minter, with Jake Trent enjoying a solid race finishing in 6th place to also easily secure qualification to the next round, and just in the qualification slot in 13th place was Josh Cannell, who ran well to qualify for the Anglian Trophy the first time.

In the U19G race the Harriers secured their 3rd championship gold with Claudia Nevett putting behind her the disappointment of pulling out of the NAA championships with a terrific performance to secure her first ever County XC title, Claudia set the pace from the off and slowly pulled away from the chasing pack on the second lap to open up a large gap and win in style. There was even better news in the U19G race as the Harriers securing the runner up spot with the in-form Elana Albery seeing of the challenge from the R&N girls Lilly Carmichael & Goddard with a terrific run, to secure a fine silver medal and Hannah Winstone also enjoyed one of her best runs this season to finish in a fine 5th place. Ella Palmer, absent due to illness, also securing selection for the Anglian Trophy by appeal ensures the Harriers have good representation for the next round.

Claudia Nevett first County Title in XC in the U19G race

The Final race of the day saw Jack Hope power his way to his second county championship in 2 weeks with an imperious performance to win the 6.6 km race with ease in, Jack has improved his training mileage & with the longer XC races this season his improved strength is noticable. Ethan Mehmet & Matt Brookes also ran well for 9th & 11th place respectively, both also securing selection to the Anglian Trophy.

U19B Jack Hope comfortable win for his 2nd County Title in 2016

This brings a total of 4 Gold, 3 Silver and a bronze which the best return for many years at County Schools championships and well ahead of local rivals, there was also a record total of 24 athletes from the squad qualifying for the Inter-County Anglian Trophy race on 06th Feb in Boston where English schools place will be up for grabs.

A record breaking start to 2016, and the Harriers now have a well-earned break before the 30 strong squad descend on the Midland Counties Championships at Stafford Common for what promises to be a far sterner challenge.

Well done to all who ran.