Harriers qualify for English Schools XC

A total of 10 Harriers from the middle distance squad have secured qualification for the prestigious English Schools Cross Country Championship being held in Ilton, Somerset on 17th March. Selection for many was confirmed following the Anglian Trophy competition held in freezing conditions and on a very hard and unforgiving surface at the picturesque Ipswich Royal Hospital school grounds.

Tabatha Walford, now back to her very best from again, got things off to a fantastic start in the first race of the day with a strong run to finish an excellent 6th overall (1st county scorer) in the Minor girls race. Danielle Gaskell also ran a great race to finish 15th overall (4th county scorer) and Rebecca Hughes also ran well finish in 42nd place. The team finished an excellent 2nd, the highest placing in all the age groups. Joe Bowskill was the only Harrier in the Minor Boys race and finished a creditable 21st (4th Northants scorer).

In the Junior Boys race Jack Hope ran a superb race to finish in 5th position overall (1st Northants scorer) with a strong race finishing just behind the leaders and secure the first English Schools qualification of the day in pole position, and improving by 13 places in 2011. Ethan Mehmet also ran a strong race to finish one position higher than the county championships to secure ES qualification in 30th position overall (4th Northants scorer). Ben Tierney and Gabrial Smith found the going tough but ran well to finish 51st/ 53rd respectively.

Gemma Vaughan who is in good form again ran strongly in the Junior Girls race and enjoying one of her best runs in a county vest finishing in 18th overall (3rd Northants scorer) to secure ES qualification. In the Intermediate Girls race Fran Ashworth was again in cracking form to run a super race to finish in 10th position overall (1st Northants Scorer) and qualify for ES at the front of the pen with team mate Kayli Walford, who qualified despite having to withdraw from the race, courtesy of winning the County Schools Championship. Lauren Mehmet qualified in 8th position after running a fine race to finish in 43rd, and 7th Northants scorer on the day.

There were a further 2 ES qualifiers in the Intermediate Boys race with Josh Coles finishing in 15th overall and taking the runner up spot in the Northants pen to Luke Greer who was overall winner of the race. Liam Kirk again enjoyed a solid run to finish a fine 24th overall (4th Northants scorer) to secure his qualification.

Matt Stewart struggled to get to grips with the conditions in the senior boys race and finished 36th overall, and was disappointed to miss out on ES qualification by finishing 11th Northants scorer, and new recruit and 800m hopeful Jake Hollins on his trial period at KTH showed his strength over the longer distances by finishing in 59th position.

In other county competitions Abigail Coleman continued her solid form in the tough Leicestershire County Intermediate Girls age group by finishing in 5th position in the final schools qualification race. Abz will almost certainly qualify for ES courtesy of her previous run of 4 races in a top 5 position. Josh Cara was the only Harrier not having to race this weekend to qualify; Josh represents Warwickshire Junior boys and qualified first in his county for ES in fine style a few weeks earlier.

Well done to all who ran in tough conditions, and congratulations to all the athletes who qualified for English Schools.