Junior Harriers Dominate At Local XC Championships

Race Reports
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Wyvern School played host once again for the annual Darlington Schools XC Championships. Hundreds of young athletes from Wyvern, Carmel, Hummersknott, Longfield, St. Aiden’s, Polam and the Education Village met on a cool, autumn afternoon to battle it out in a bid to qualify for the County Championships next year. It goes without saying that there were plenty of our Junior Harriers in action, and to say that they did well would probably be an understatement…..in fact, they dominated proceedings from start to finish, with some outstanding performances throughout all age groups.

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A great start to the day for Darlington Harriers and St Aiden’s School! The first race was the Year 7 Girls and our very own Tori Buckley lead from start to finish. What makes this more impressive is the fact that just days earlier she’d been told she had Severs Disease (which later turned out to be Plantar Fasciitis) and she probably should have been resting. But in typical Tori spirit, she was determined to take part and see how things went. But it’s not in her nature to take things easy and Tori ran a storming race to win by a country mile. Well done Tori, outstanding!

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The Year 7 Boys race was a pure show of strength from our regular Under 13 Boys team. Like Tori in the girls race, Alex Boyer lead from start to finish. His pace was relentless and he didn’t falter one bit, in fact, he overtook one of the older girls still running from the previous race! You could not fail to be impressed as he continued to extend his lead to finish the clear winner for Carmel. It was a close battle for 2nd and 3rd place; Louis Brett and Josh Scott had run most of the race together, until the final 50m when it was a sprint to the finish line. Louis just got the better of Josh to take 2nd place for Hummersknott and Josh took 3rd for Carmel.

Just a few more seconds passed and our next junior Harrier crossed the line; Ashton Harrison produced a very confident run, with the experience of all those NYSD runs really showing, as he was the 1st boy home for Longfield and 4th place overall. And only two places behind Ashton was his Harrier and Longfield team mate, Matthew Vest, who crossed the line in 6th place after a very solid performance. Well done boys, you certainly dominated that race!

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The Year 8/9 Girls race was also full of talented junior Harriers, with six of them competing today. Like the last two races, Mia Wetherill (EV) opened up a considerable gap and it soon became apparent that no one was going to catch her. By the time she’d crossed the finish line she was way ahead of her nearest rival. Emily Vest (Longfield) and Amelia Hunter (Carmel) ran together for a lot of the race but eventually Amelia began to open up the gap, with an impressive performance to finish in 4th place for Carmel.

Three more Carmelites followed, the first two still in Year 8; Lily Large really showed her strength and determination to finish in an excellent 11th place, then after a steady start Olivia Bell gradually moved up through the field, and after an impressive sprint finish, crossed the line in 18th place. And hats off to Darcy Garbutt, more known for her sprinting ability, stepped up to the mark, and with a great effort finished in 24th place. Well done girls, a fantasticeffort from all!

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Top Row L-R, Mia Wetherill, Emily Vest, Amelia Hunter, Lily Large
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Olivia Bell
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Darcey Garbutt
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There were four more of our junior boys in action when it cane to the Year 8/9 race; Dylan Wilson and Joe Mulroy (Hummersknott), James Wilcock (Carmel) and Ewan Rogers (Polam). From the off, Dylan Wilson, still in Year 8, got himself into a great position and always looked like a strong contender to finish in the top 5. He kept up an excellent pace throughout the race and we’re quietly confident in saying that he was the first Year 8 to cross the line when he finished in 4th place.

It was another great run from Joe Mulroy who crossed the line in 7th place; having already qualified for the Finals of the XC Cup as part of the Hummersknott team, he now finds himself through to the County XC as well. What a week! Next up after another impressive run was James Wilcock; another athlete who’s still in Year 8 and now qualifies for the next round finishing in 11th place. And finally, finishing 2nd for Polam and, he thinks, 58th overall, after a fantastic effort was Ewan Rogers (sorry, Ewan, no photo!). Well done to all our boys, a tremendous effort from all!

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Another exciting race was the Year 10/11 Girls, which resulted in a 1, 2, 3 for Darlington Harriers. The lead kept changing between the front three, Megan Noble (Carmel), Harriet Rogers (Hummersknott) and Caitlin Minns (Polam) and they ran a lot of the race together. Following closely behind were Sarah Wilcock (Carmel) and Millie Grayson (Longfield). Gaps started to appear in the latter parts of the second lap and in the end it was Caitlin who came out on top finishing in 1st place, with Harriet a close 2nd. A great effort from Megan brought her home in 3rd place, and impressive runs from both Sarah and Millie brought them home in 5th and 6th place. Also in the same race were Logan Fawcett (Longfield) and Niamh Bishop (Carmel) – sorry, no photos girls  Two more exceptional performances from young athletes who are known better for their success in sprinting, and today stepped up for their team to finish 25th and 34th respectively. Well done ladies, outstanding!

From a spectator’s point of view, the Year 10/11 race was one of the best of the day. Dan Boyer (Carmel) set an early pace, flanked by Adam Russell on one side and John Russell (both Hummersknott) on the other. Another Carmel athlete stayed with the trio for as long as possible, closely followed by James Roberts (Hummersknott) and Liam Brittle (Longfield). As the race progressed Dan and Adam started to open up a gap between themselves and John who still looked strong in 3rd place….and this was the case for most of the second lap.

Then with about 200m to go Triathlon Man, Dan kicked hard as they climbed the embankment and he started to pull away from Adam, then it was round the final bend and a sprint to the finish to cross the line in 1st place, closely followed by Adam in 2nd. After an impressive run it wasn’t too long before John crossed the line in 3rd place; the other Carmel athlete had managed to hang on in 4th, closely followed by our other two Harriers, James Roberts and Liam Brittle, finishing strongly in 5th and 6th place. A fantastic race to watch with outstanding performances from our five Harrier Heroes. Well done boys!

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Well done to all our Junior Harriers taking part today; it was a tough day with some outstanding performances. Congratulations to the following athletes who have all qualified for the County XC Championships in the New Year:
Tori Buckley, Alex Boyer, Louis Brett, Josh Scott, Matthew Vest, Mia Wetherill, Amelia Hunter, Emily Vest, Lily Large, Dylan Wilson, Joe Mulroy, James Wilcock, Caitlin Minns, Harriet Rogers, Megan Noble, Sarah Wilcock, Millie Grayson, Dan Boyer, Adam Russell, John Russell, James Roberts and Liam Brittle. 22 in total! What a fantastic accolade to the club! #UTH

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For more photos of the day click here