Bronze for Bennett main highlight for Anglian XC

A  brilliant Bronze medal for Alice Bennett was one of the highlights at the Anglian Trophy, which saw a large number of the Harriers Middle Distance squad qualify for English Schools. The Anglian Trophy, the annual Inter-Counties Cross Country Match which places the best athletes from Northants, Cambs, Lincoln, Norfolk & Suffolk in a high level competition, also acts as the main selection race for the most prestigious XC race of the season, English Schools National Championships. Athletes who finish in the top 7 places for Northants are selected, with 8th place possibly subject to an appeal for any athlete unable to race.


Alice Bennett winning a Bronze medal, with fellow Senior Girl qualifier Lara Turner 


The excellent XC course, set out in the beautiful grounds of the Burghley estate in Stamford saw a confirmed 12 Kettering athletes selected for English schools, with a further place confirmed subject to any appeals, There was also another member of the squad who qualified in Leicestershire & Rutland equivalent  race, so a potential 14 athletes is an excellent performance from the squad.  


Top performance on the day belonged to Senior Girl Alice Bennett who enjoyed a superb race to finish in third place to grab a Bronze medal. Bennett has been working hard to improve her endurance over the winter, with some minor niggles & illnesses hampering her progress, but she produced a quality performance over the 4km course. Settling in on the opening short lap, Bennett worked hard to stick with a group of 4 athletes in 6th place, a position she maintained throughout the two longer laps. With just 20m between 6th place and a potential medal position coming into the last 150m Bennett sensed she had enough and producing a powerful finish using her 800m speed she surged past three athletes in the final 60m to take the Bronze in 16:41. Also running a terrific race was Lara Turner who finished in 8th overall (17:19), with Bennett & Turner the first two Northants athletes home.  


Alice Bennett (449) superb race to win a Bronze medal


Minor Boys Joshua Spavins who has been in great form also had a superb race to finish in 5th place overall, competing for Cambs in the race just shy of 3k saw Spavins chasing three strong Suffolk athletes home, sadly he was unable to get a podium finish but was the top Cambs athlete home in 10:57, and he will be eligible for English Schools as a Junior Boy in a years time.


Joshua Spavins (Blue vest) with a 5th place finish in the Minor Boys race


The Junior Girls race saw another x5 of the Harriers Middle Distance squad from rival Counties earn their first ever English Schools qualification places, in a terrific race which saw four of the squad battle it out over the 3.5k course. It was Peyton Almond who got the best start and took a prominent position in the leading pack, closely followed by Clara Booth, with Elsie Bennett struggling at the start and finding herself towards the mid pack. As the race progressed it was Booth who looked stronger and she stormed to a top 10 placing finishing in 9th place overall and 1st Cambs athlete in 14:07, with Peyton Almond finished just one place behind in 14:08 and securing her qualification as second Northants athlete. Elsie Bennett really picked up well in the later stages to finish strongly in 15th place (14:19) and secure third qualifier slot for Northants, with Tiggy Guthrie-Brown finishing in 17th place (14:21) and 2nd Cambs qualifier. Sabina Lawton also ran a much improved race from County Schools where she finished in 12th place to improve her position to by 5 places and finish as the final Northants auto qualifier (7th) in 31 place overall (14:53).


Close race for three of the squads Junior Girls, Clara Booth (66), Peyton Almond (450) & Tiggy Guthrie-Brown. 


In the Inter Girls Race two more Harriers qualified withMaggie Gancheva enjoying a terrific race to finish in 25th overall & 3rd Northants qualifier over the 4k course in (17:24), with Iona Ellwood also running a fine race just a few places behind in 29th (4th N'hants qualifier) in 17:34. Charlotte Jackson & Freya Allitt both ran well for 61st & 64th respectively.


Maggie Gancheva (454) & Iona Ellwood (451) strong races to finish in 25th & 29th respectively 


Also qualifying for his first ever English Schools was Harlee Hooker who ran a fine race to finish in 41st (6th N'hants), in the 4k race, while Rafferty Davey who finished in 38th place overall sadly missed the cut in a very strong Cambs team as 12th finisher. Two more qualifiers came from the Inter Boys race with Dylan Ransom running a superb race to finish in 16th place overall (3rd N'hants) with Evan Willis in 28th qualifying as 5th N'hants qualifier.


Dylan Ransom with a strong race to finish in 16th place overall


Joseph Pickering faces a wait to see if his 8th place finish for N'hants (46th overall) will be sufficient to earn the final qualifiers slot? Ellis Johnson & George Separovic both ran well for 55th & 61st respectively. Also Running well in the Leicestershire & Rutland Schools XC race was Chelsie Locker, also securing her qualifying slot for English Schools.


with 13 confirmed places for English Schools and a possible 14th awaiting confirmation, it's been a superb start to the season for the Harriers Middle Distance Squad.


Well Done to everyone who run