Harriers impress with County Schools medal haul!

The harriers enjoyed one of their best ever performances at the County Schools Championships with 5 members of the Middle Distance Squad winning County Schools Titles, with three becoming double county champions, U15 Maggie Gancheva & U19’s Alice Bates & Elsie Robinson. There were two further Silver Medals won, with two Bronze and a record number of 25 harriers securing spots for their county teams to compete at the area Inter-County regional matches in 2 weeks.


Conditions were perfect with a bright crisp morning and a predominantly firm course at the traditional surrounding of Northampton’s Abington Park.


The very first race of the day for the U11 Girls Bella Lamb storm to victory winning the 2km race with ease by over 30 seconds from Isla Allsopp with a brilliant run in 7:05. Lamb hit the front right from the downhill start and was never troubled controlling the race throughout with an impressive victory. In the U11 Boys race Harris Ellwood ensured selection for the next round with a top 12 finish in 7:33 for a fine 11th place.


U11 Bella Lamb superb win to take her first County Schools title

In the U13G race it was older sibling Jess Lamb who won a fine silver medal with a much-improved performance from 2 weeks earlier at the NAA County Champs. Lamb who continues to make good progress to full fitness completing the 2500m course in 10:53 in a race won by Imogen Bennetts. Peyton Almond also returning to full fitness finished in a fine 6th place (11:45) to secure qualification, with Darcey Taplin in 16th showing her improving form, and Billie Robinson & Sophie Panter in 67 & 68th respectively.


The U13 Boys race also produced a medal for Harlee Hooker who had a terrific race, battling with fellow Harrier Ollie Smith throughout the 3.3k course, Hooker was just too strong over the closing 400m taking the Bronze in 14:28, with Smith in 5th (14:35) ensuring both boys qualified for their first county vest.


The U15 Girls race produced the Harriers first Double County Champion with Maggie Gancheva repeating the fine win she enjoyed in the NAA Co-Champs 2 weeks earlier. Gancheva led from gun to tape with another dominant performance, never looking troubled she powered her way to victory over the 3.3k course in 13:57. Iona Ellwood also produced another top performance to finish in 6th place (14:30) with Evie Brooker in 9th (14:59) also ensuring qualification to the next round. There were also strong run and Ellie Seporavic & Keris Hooker both running well in 23rd & 53rd place respectively.


Maggie Gancheva becomes a double County Champion with a brilliant win in the U15 Girls race

Bottom year U15 Boy George Sharp produced a storming run to qualify in 9th place over the 4.1k course with good performances from bottom year Zac Scott & Finley Brooker in 15th & 16th respectively, with James Clutton in 20th and Freddie Ward in 24th also running well.


Alice Bennett who currently leads the UK ranking indoors over 800m, returned to the country and showed she has great ability over the longer distances by winning the U17 Girls race in style. Bennett sat in with the lead two athletes throughout, and gradually stretched away on the final uphill section and the result never looked in doubt as she entered the finishing section winning from Thea Oakley in 15:04 over the 3.7k course by 30m. Lara Turner who is getting back to full fitness finished in a fine 6th place to ensure qualification in her first race since late November following a back injury.


Alice Bennett, the UK U17 lead over 800m, showing her strength over cross country to win the U17 Girls race in style

In the U17 Boys race there was a terrific three way battle throughout the 5.8k course with Lucas Rogers prominent in the early stages setting a keen pace to split the field, with the leading two athletes working hard to drop Rogers on the final incline he showed his great determination in closing the leaders down on the downhill section, racing the eventual winner Louis Starr right to the line to win a brilliant Silver. Ellis Johnson & Thomas Leak ran well for 22nd & 25th respectively.


In the U19 Girls there were rich pickings for the Harriers with two further double County Champions crowned, a Bronze medal and 6 athletes in total qualifying for the next round. Alice Bates was majestic in winning Northants County Schools title by the largest margin of the day with a dominant display of front running completing the 4.1k course in 15:53 to win her third successive county schools title from Ashley Waters (18:17). One of the surprise performances from the squad was from Madeline Mayes now getting into her stride since joining the Harriers in the Winter she ran a fine race to win the Bronze medal just behind Waters in 18:24 to underline her return to form. Also running a strong race was Abigail Thayanithy in 5th (18:51) with Toni Robinson and Julia Buzuk in 8th & 9th respectively also ensuring qualification for the county team.


Alice Bates with a majestic performance to win the U19 Girls race by almost 2 and a half minutes

Elsie Robinson cruised to her second county title in 2 weeks by winning the Warwickshire Schools Senior Girls race at Kineton school over a 3.8k course. Robinson completed the course in 13:31, 25 seconds ahead of second place Grace Golinski.


The U19 B race saw three further Harriers qualify for the next round with a much improved performance from the NAA county Champs 2 weeks earlier from Lucas Mansell finishing running a fine race for 4th place, with Rio Carr & Ben Brooker also running well in 6th & 11th place respectively.


Some outstanding performances from the Harriers who in 2 weeks’ time will be looking to secure a top 8 finish for the all-important English Schools Qualification places.


Well done to everyone who ran.