SHEFFIELD Running Club’s Meles Okbazghi will line up alongside Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee today for Yorkshire in the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Crofton Park, Birmingham.
Winner of the county title, Okbazghi followed with good performances at Northern and National level.
Brownlee’s younger brother Jonny was due to race but has pulled out with an injury. The consistent Rotherham runner Phillip Hoole takes his place. Hallamshire have Julia Jagger and Nicola Squires in the women’s team whilst Rotherham have Samantha Johnson and Annabelle Grady in the team.
Tom Bains leads the Yorkshire challenge in the under 20 age group with Doncaster’s Bertie Houghton also in the team. South Yorkshire runners play a huge part in the under 20 women’s team. County champion Fiona Bell and her Hallamshire team mate Hannah Fletcher both run whilst City of Sheffield also have two in the team, Beth Ansell and Calvi Thompson.
From Rotherham Natasha Hatswell and Emma Parkinson make it six out of eight for South Yorkshire runners.
At under 17 level Josh Naisbitt and Joe Lancaster, both from City of Sheffield, are expected to do well along with Rotherham’s Luke Cotter with Eleanor Curran (City of Sheffield) going in the girls race.
County winner Jonathon Shield (City of Sheffield) leads the Yorkshire challenge in the under 15 boys race and there are places in the team for Harry Moore (Barnsley AC) and Callum Wilson (Doncaster). In the under 15 girls age group Hallamshire duo Mary McCarthy and Imani Wilson, both at the younger end of the age group, are in the team.
Alfie Manthorpe and Julian Slater, both from City of Sheffield, have had some outstanding races this winter and should be well placed in the under 13 race, the youngest age group, with Rotherham’s Keelan Wilson also in the Yorkshire team.
Amelia Lancaster (City of Sheffield), in the under 13 girls event, has probably the best chance of all the Yorkshire athletes of an individual medal and she leads a strong team of largely South Yorkshire athletes. Mariella De Lara and Emily Simpson, both from City of Sheffield, are also in the team along with Barnsley’s Alice Moore and Hallamshire pair Saskia Huskam and Eve Crownshaw.