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Byline: PETE BARROW Sports Writer

HOLMFIRTH Harriers enjoyed some strong performances at the 2018 Northern Cross Country Championships 2018.

Harewood House provided a new venue for the Northern Cross Country Championships and is expected to be used again when the 2019 English National Cross Country Championships is hosted by the Northern region in 13 months time.

The Championship event consists of teams from every county across the North of England and the standard is extremely high.

Holmfirth Harriers had a good turnout, across all age groups and even featured in the team medals in some races.

In the Under 13 girls race Isabel Richardson showed excellent form to finish in a very impressive eighth in 11 minutes 59 seconds.

She was well backed up by Imogen Wolff in 14th (12.14), Elena Inch in 83rd (13.06) and Annie McLean in 176th (14.31) to give the girls eighth team place.

Elizabeth Gilligan enjoyed her first race at this level in 223rd (15.46).

In the Under 13 boys race, and probably the individual performance of the day for Holmfirth, 12-year-old Kristian Green ran brilliantly to finish in fourth place (11.02), agonisingly close to a medal but a great performance all the same. Callum McFarlane finished 90th (12.25).

The regular Under 15 girls quartet finished 16th team, with Sophie Kettlewell 90th (18.43), Olivia Dyson 103rd (18.47), Mollie Scaramuzza 126th (19.36) and Lydia Throssell 157th (20.48).

Holmfirth's Under 17 girls were depleted due to illness and unable to field a full team, but Cara Inch put in a fine performance in 41st (24.20) and Alice Shelbourne finishing in 79th (27.55).

In the Under 20 women's race it was the trio of Lucy Byram, Erica Byram and Amy Kettlewell who were looking to build on their team success of gold at the Yorkshire Cross Country Champions three weeks earlier.

In a race which was dominated by Sale Harriers, who took the top three spots, the girls worked well to take silver medals with Lucy in 17th (25.15), Erica in 18th (24.25) and Amy in 44th (28.31).

In the Under 20 men's race Chris Law had travelled back from St Mary's University in London to compete in his first race for months due to injury and he provided good back up to in form Aaron Kettlewell.

Kettlewell led the team home in 19th (29.32), with Law just three seconds behind in 20th.

Alex Robinson ran well in 27th (29.55) and with Harry Shelbourne in 51st (32.32) the team finished in bronze medal position, to add to their silver and gold of 2017 and 2016, respectively.

Sam O'Shea narrowly missed out on a team place, in 53rd (32.42) and Niall O'Connell completed the Holmfirth contingent in 64th (34.12).

Holmfirth's Senior women were unable to finish a team due to illness taking a few of the regulars out.

The women's race was held over the same 8km course as the U20 men and by now parts were very sticky with mud.

Helen Berry found the course tough going and finished in 27th (33.29). Ruby Sykes improved on last year, in a quality field of 435, in 54th (34.58).

The Senior men's race saw Kai Sunman, newcomer to the longer distance, lead Holmfirth's athletes over the 12km testing course and finishing in 119th (46.02).

Stu Sharpe also enjoyed a strong run as he finished in 136th place (46.38).

Veteran Mike Fanning, not a familiar face on the cross country scene, had a great performance to come home in 167th (47.34), and he was chased home by Tim Street in 175th (47.41).

Phil Hewitt ran consistently well for 213th (48.52) as did Jonny Sykes to bring the team home in 14th position in 279th (50.48).

The other Holmfirth placings were: 356th Chris Beadle (52.32), 431st Alistair Langron (54.38), 472nd John Ewart (55.45), 569th Louis Cromwell (58.47), 636th Robert Robinson (62.34) and 707th Jason Haigh (67.47).
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Feb 8, 2018
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