The climax of the cross country season for many athletes, the National Championships, take place at Harewood House near Leeds tomorrow.
The main South Yorkshire interest centres on Rotherham Harriers women’s team. Runners up to the powerful Leeds City team in the recent Northern Championships, Rotherham expect the field the same quartet that counted on that occasion, Nicola Devine, Lori Handbury, Natasha Hatswell and Jenny Blizard. In addition Samantha Hughes, Sophie Cowper and Keri Pearson are included in their entries so there will be intense competition for the four counting places.
A top three performance cannot be ruled out although, given the strength of Leeds City and of the top Southern teams, a place in the top six is a more realistic aim. Last year they were back in 15th place with a much depleted team.
Hallamshire have the potential for a top 10 performance in both the women’s and men’s race.
Rotherham’s Cambridge Blue Joe Massingham should do well in the junior men’s race whilst Rotherham look to have a strong team for the under 17 women’s race.
The long programme has races from under 13 upwards and starts at 11:00 am with the senior races at 1:35 (women) and 3:00 (men).
The English Age Group Championships take place at Sheffield’s EIS tomorrow (Sat) and Sunday with a strong South Yorkshire entry. At under 20 level Hannah Molyneaux (City of Sheffield and Deane), third in the shot last year, should challenge again whilst Kaya Walker (City of Sheffield) in the high jump and Amy Gellion (Rotherham) in the 400 metres should do well.
In the under 17 age group Gabriel Gisborne (Hallamshire) is the fastest in the field of 800 metres runners whilst his Hallamshire team mate Acacia Williams-Hewitt is a strong contender in the 200 metres.
Hallamshire’s Ruby Simpson won the under 15 800 metres last year with her team mate Emma Shipley third. Both are still in the same age group with Simpson heading the rankings and Shipley not far behind. Similarly Dapnhey Adebayo (City of Sheffield) and Erin Lobley (Hallamshire), first and third in the shot last year, again head the list in this year’s under 15 event. Will Lane (City of Sheffield) is a strong contender in the under 15 pole vault.
The meeting starts at 10:15 on both days.