Harriers - Midland Championship Team Winners!

Kettering Town Harries U20 women produced a terrific performance to lift the Midland Counties U20 Women Team Cross Country Championship at a challenging and very wet in places, Wollaton Park in Nottingham. The team consisting of x4 athletes (x3 scoring) all ran strong races to win the team Gold in style, Jess Gordon was the lead athlete and she continued her fine form on the country and was no doubt helped on by her brand new XC spikes. Jess powered her way to a superb 12th place over the tough 5km course which also included the hard climb up to Wollaton Hall, and was supported magnificently by Claudia Kelsall who run a gutsy race to finish in 15th place (20:27), followed by Fran Ashworth who also ran very well for 16th place (21:08) and was the final scorer for the team. Such is the strength of the U20 women within the squad, that Abigail Coleman in her first XC outing of the season also ran a solid race to finish in 21st (22:06) but sadly miss out on the Gold Medal. It was a superb team performance and the squad’s first female Midland Counties Championship win for some time!

Running in the same race were the U17 women who also produced a solid performance to finish a respectable 10th team, with Elana Albery again top scoring and improving race by race, running an excellent race in her first major championship to finish in 26th (20:57), with Ella Palmer also tasting competition at this level for the first time running well to score 2nd in 42nd (22:17) and Hanna Winstone running a solid race for 49th (22:57) as final scorer. With Beth Gordon absent through illness and Claudia Nevett now coming back into training it bodes well for the squad with the remaining XC races this season.

The U17 men team were just out of the team medals with a respectable 5th place; with Jack Hope following up with his county schools win a week earlier top scoring for the team, and the highest individual placing for the Harriers on the day with a superb 9th place. Jack ran a strong race over the x3 lap 6km course, and defeated his arch rival (KTH’s Josh Cara) for the first time ever over XC to top score in 20:58, Cara who fell awkwardly at the start and struggled to get back to the leading pack didn’t enjoy his best race at a championship where he had medalled twice, but he showed determination to battle through to finish in 24th (21:49), with Ethan Mehmet who didn’t really get going in the race was next home in 58th (24:01), with Edward Cannell showing his typical fast finish, running a solid race in 63rd (24:31).

The U13 Boys race was again close battle between Henri Codling & Dylan Bowley with the former getting revenge for the two recent county championship races where he lost out to the in-form Bowley, with a superb race to finish in a highly credible 16th in the large 121 strong field, finishing the 3km course in 11:23 and finally showing that he is recovering well from his recent virus. Dylan ran a fine race as a bottom year U13 to finish in a fine 22nd place (11:35) just behind his rival and has an excellent base to build upon next season. Also running well were x3 U13 boys tasting championship racing for the first time, with Harry Darnell running a solid race for 70th, and Ethan Nellis returning to some fitness finishing in 107th(13:43) just in front of Cole Sinnott in 108th (13:48) helping the team to a respectable 10th.

The U13 girls still without Emily Williams (Who has just resumed training) ran well over the 3km course with Jennifer Robinson again top scorer with a battling run to finish is a solid 41st in the large 118 strong field of athletes in 13:11. Sister Daisy Robinson is gradually getting back to full fitness and ran well to finish in 73rd(14:02) with Millie Toseland tasting action at a major championship for the first time running a solid race for 103rd.

The U15 Girls & Boys team were hit by injuries & sickness but those that ran did well. In the girls race it was again a battle royal between Chloe Hearne & Sophie Moss who have both beaten each other in recent weeks, but it was Chloe who proved stronger over the 4km course on this occasion with an excellent run for 38th (16:46) in a large field of 108 athletes, both athletes pulled along by battling with local rival Mollie & Niamh Watson from Harborough, and Sophie was just 5 places behind her rival in a solid 43rd (16:49), with Danielle McCann-Gaskell enjoying a good race in 85th (18:05). Jake Trent was the lead athlete from the Harriers U15 boys team with a solid performance, despite a persistent niggle which saw him withdraw from the County schools race a week earlier, to finish in a fine 24th in 14:30 over the 4km course, with Fynn Batkin stepping up to experience his first major race running well to finish in 49th (15:36) and Josh Cannell finishing in 65th (16:33) the final Harrier home.

In the senior teams, unfortunately there were No women represented, but in the men’s team held over a gruelling 4 lap 12km championship distance with over 450 runners there were x4 Harries represented, with Kemal Mehmet enjoying his first XC season again top scoring in a solid 240th (49:10) with Andrew Clawson followed by Martin Winstone in a respectable 282nd (51:03) & 316 (52:23), with Paul young in 416th (59:47).

Many of the younger AG now have a well-earned rest from racing for a week before the Anglian Schools race in Ipswich on 07th Feb where English School places are up for grabs.

All in all, an enjoyable days racing in tough conditions, with some outstanding individual & team performances, well done to all who competed!

Shane Smith XC team manager

Picture of U20 Women’s Gold Medal Winning Team