ESAA Cross Country Cup – Round 1

A Clarty Start!

The secondary school cross country season got off to a muddy start last Tuesday when hundreds of young athletes descended upon Preston Park for the first round of the English Schools Cross Country Cup. Teams from the County Durham area entered this preliminary round, with the hope of progressing to the Regional Finals, and ultimately the Grand Final, which this year is to be held on the 7th December at Spinkhill, near Sheffield. For those who are new to this competition, it is a team event involving two age groups; Juniors (Years 7 & 8) and Intermediates (Years 9 & 10.)

Each team nominates six athletes to run, of which the first four finishers count towards their team’s scores. This year there were just two schools from the Darlington area who had entered teams – Carmel and Hummersknott, and as always, there were several of our Junior Harriers involved. The conditions were typical cross country, wet, muddy and slippery under foot.

Junior Boys
There were two of our boys in the Junior category today, both of them producing excellent performances for their schools. Alex Boyer can’t put a foot wrong at the moment! He continues a very strong start to his cross country season with yet another victory, this time wearing the green vest of Carmel College. And not too far behind, with a convincing show of strength, it was great to see Louis Brett up there in 4th place for Hummersknott. Overall the Carmel team finished in 2nd place with Hummersknott in 3rd. Well done boys, top running from both.

Junior Girls
Representing Hummersknott, Freya Talman was the only girl from our junior camp in this category. She had a storming run and finished strongly to take 4th place. What’s more impressive, we think she’s in Year 7 (please correct us if we’re wrong ) so beat many athletes older than herself! She was the first Junior Girl home from Hummersknott and helped the team finish in 4th place. A fantastic effort Freya, well done!

Inter Girls
There were three more of our girls in the Intermediate category. The first one of them to finish is one of our most promising endurance runners, Macy Kelly, representing Hummersknott. She certainly showed us what she’s capable of here with a tremendous run; she was the first girl to finish for Hummersknott and 3rd overall – another athlete showing great potential. We’re looking forward to seeing how she gets on as the season progresses.

Our next two girls were both from Carmel College; Lily Large and Olivia Bell. Not out and out cross country runners as such, but both keen footballers, so they have good engines on board and always get selected for the XC team! Lily was the first girl to finish for Carmel in a strong 8th place with Olivia not far behind in 12th after a fantastic effort. Once again, all three girls are in Year 9 and running against Year 10 athletes so things really look good for next year’s event! Macy helped Hummersknott grab 3rd place with Lily and Olivia in 4th place with the Carmel team. Great job girls, well done.

Inter Boys
In the final race of the day, we had three of our DHAC boys running for their schools as Intermediates. Dylan Wilson and James Wilcock who are both Year 9’s along with Nat Bell who is now in Year 10. The first of them to cross the finish line was Dylan. One of our most accomplished endurance runners and he showed great strength today finishing in an excellent 8th place.

Next up was Nat who is predominantly a sprinter, but also an experienced multi-eventer who can turn his hand to most challenges, and of course, another footballer! As expected he finished well with a sprint to the line, completing the course in 9th place, as the 1st Inter Boy in the Carmel team.

And not far behind Nat was James. He’s had a great start to his season, running an excellent leg at the Thirsk Relays recently and continued in the same vein with another strong run here, finishing in 10th place and showing huge potential for the coming months. Dylan was part of a very strong Hummersknott team that took 1st place overall, with Nat and James helping Carmel into 3rd place. Well done lads, a top performance from all.

Overall, it was an excellent performance from our juniors, they have all done their schools proud. It’s just a shame that more schools from the Darlington area didn’t enter teams in what is, after all, an English Schools competition. A lot of our juniors missed out this year, which seems like a lot of talent going to waste! Sorry, rant over, maybe next year…..

Full team results available HERE

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