Harriers win 4 County Titles!

Following on from the fantastic start to the season at the NAA County Championships, the Harriers Middle Distance squad enjoyed a fantastic County Schools Championship with 4 of the squad securing County titles for the second year running, and a first County title for U17 Fynn Batkin. There were several minor medals also won by the squad, and a total of 22 progress through to the next round, the Inter-County Anglian Trophy on 04th Feb, hosted by Northants at Abington Park.

Fynn Batkin winning his first County Championship

The conditions on the day were tough with temperatures barley above freezing and the hard ground, especially in areas cut up following the West Midland league race the week earlier, proved to be tricky in places.

The first race off were the minor Girls & Boys with bottom year Harrier Lauren Hewitt enjoying a fine race to finish in 5th place and secure qualification, and Mia Watts (22nd), Maddie Moxey (25th), Macy Crick (30th) running solid races.

The first medal of the day was secured by the rapidly improving Alfie Frayne who as a bottom year athlete showed his undoubted potential with a fabulously strong run to secure a Silver medal behind Louis Buttrick, completing the 3km course in 11.58, and gaining rapidly on the leader over the final 300m Alfie will possibly be slightly disappointed to have let his competitor open up a gap during the race. Lucas Rogers, also a bottom year athlete, had a fine run to finish in 6th place in 12:25 with Ben Brooker the third qualifier in 11th position in 12:57 and Adam Jawad who tired in the closing stages 23rd in 13:32.

Terrific run from U13 Alfie Frayne for a Silver medal

In the U15 G (Junior) race saw Freya Batkin & Mia Brockway, both bottom year, run fine races over the 3.3km course to secure qualification finishing in 4th & 5th place respectively, with Daisy Robinson running a solid race for 16th place.

The first County titles came in the U17 (Inter Girls) & U19 (Senior Girls) which started together at different locations on the course, the inter girls over 3.7km & the Senior girls 4.2km. In the Inter girl’s race Emily Williams a bottom year athlete run a brilliant race, choosing to sitting in on the first lap she looked impatient to push the pace on and in the first long downhill section she decided to test the field and immediately opening a significant gap on her competitors. She continued to push hard, opening up a gap of almost a minute on the competition to stride home untroubled in 13:57 ahead of R&N Amy Walker to take the Gold Medal. Poppy Carmichael was the next Harrier home running a fine race to finish in 5th place (15:57), with Harriet Jolley 9th in 17:06, Charlotte Maywood 11th in 17:40 & Jennifer Robinson 12th in 17:53, all running strong races to qualify.

Emily Williams winning the Inter girls Gold medal

The U19 Senior girl’s races saw an equally impressive run from Claudia Nevett who successfully defended her county title with a fabulous ran to take Gold in 16:28. The Harriers totally dominated this age group with a clean sweep of the first places, and 7 of the top 9 places. Sophie Moss ran a fine race to secure a Silver medal in 17:25, with the Bronze going to Bethan Lewis (17:32) and Elana Albery just out of the medals in 4th (17:52). Lily Carmichael & Amy Robinson both run solid races for 6th place (18:52) & 7th place (18:56) respectively. Chloe Hearne still short on fitness following a long injury ran well to secure qualification in 9th.

Claudia Nevett impressive winner of the Senior Girls Gold medal

In the U15 boys race Dylan Bowley ran a superb race to win the County title, leading from the start Dylan only had Corby AC Archie Parkinson for company, and eventually the pace proved too much for his rival as Bowley opened up a 50m gap to enable him to control the race. Parkinson pushed hard throughout the race tracking Bowley so the Gold Medal was hard fought over the 4km course which was won in 15:25. Bottom year Josh Geddes who has improved significantly this season ran a superb last 800m reeling in 4 athletes to ease through to the next round in 9th place in 17:10, with the Raulia twins running solid races to finish in 24th (Brandon) & 33rd (Ryan).

Dylan Bowley winner of the Junior Boys Gold medal

With no U19 boys running the U17/ Inter boys race over 5.8km was the last race with Harrier interest and it proved to be the most exciting race of the day with Fynn Batkin running a magnificent race to win his first County title. Fynn was locked in battle with R&N Adam Caulfield throughout the first two laps of the race and decided to make his bid for glory 1.5km from home with a superb effort which broke Caulfield and enabled Fynn to ease through to take the Gold Medal in 19:51 from Caulfield (20:06). It was just reward for the hard working Batkin who has consistently been runner up in the Country/ Regional races, and he took his chance well and the win will undoubtedly give him a confidence boost. Tom Jawad ran a solid race to finish in last qualification place of 12th in 22:25.

Fynn Batkin (in yellow) neck and neck with R&N adam Caulfield had a superb victory in Inter boys race, his first significant win over Cross Country. 

It was a terrific performance from the squad with 4 out of the 8 county titles won, and a close fought Silver in the minor buys race which is a fabulous return.

The next race on the horizon for the Harriers is the Inter-County Anglian Trophy in 2 weeks’ time with a much sterner test, and places up for grabs to secure English Schools team selection.

Well done to all who ran.