Muddy Meles comes a creditable ninth out of 1,000

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MELES Okbazghi (Sheffield RC), the Yorkshire champion, did well to finish ninth in the National Cross Country Championship at Sunderland, sticking to his task in the worst conditions he has ever encountered.

A layer of snow churned up into mud and temperatures hardly got above zero as Keith Gerrard (Essex) retained his title. Hallamshire’s Joe Gratton finished 32nd in a field of over 1,000.

Louise Damen (Winchester) won the women’s title with Hallamshire in fourth. Injured Hatti Dean was a non-starter and the Hallamshire squad were well led by Xanthe Wray who finished 36th, just ahead of Nicola Squires, 41st. Kelly Hewitson and Claire Robson were both in the 90s out of 427 finishers. Rotherham, led by Samantha Johnson, 18th, were seventh.

Amelia Lancaster (City of Sheffield), Yorkshire and Northern champion at u13 level, was denied a clean sweep on this occasion finishing runner up. With Mariella De Lara an excellent 12th, Sheffield were just outside the medals in fourth place.

Julian Slater (Sheffield) had a good run to finish sixth in the u13 boys race. With Alfie Manthorpe in 14th, Sheffield got a good start but, like the girls, they were just out of the medals in fourth place.

n Adam Hague (Dearne ALC) was in form at Birmingham’s England Indoor Championships. Competing on the first day Hague was well clear of the opposition without needing to clear a personal best height. His winning mark was 4.70. On the track there was gold for Alicia Barrett (Chesterfield) who looked impressive in the rounds of the u17 60 metres hurdles, going on to win the final in 8.53 whilst Beth Dobbin (Doncaster) won silver in the u20 200 metres.