West Yorkshire Cross Country League
Report by: Bryan Murray
Rain has plagued cross country meets all season so far, and the third Sports Direct West Yorkshire League event in Bradford was no exception.
Several of the races were run in torrential rain that added to an already difficult circuit underfoot. It was waterlogged in parts.
Jaydene Wright and Laura Teasdale were representing Wakefield Harriers in the first race of the day, the girls' U13s
Maintaining her confident form, Wright worked hard over the hilly course. As the race unfolded, Wright fought her way into eighth place and held the position to the finish in 13 mins 05 secs.
Teasdale found the conditions not to her liking and lost ground on the field but came strongly at the end to finish 19th in 14 mins 49 secs.
Wakefield had a good entry in the U15 girls race in Zoe Gowland, Carly Wright, Lisa Hall, Jasmine Kerry, Elaine Hardbattle - and Jan Faulkner. The course, by this time, was badly affected by previous races.
Gowland went into an early lead and took teammate Wright with her in the leading bunch. Near halfway Gowland increased her lead to about 50 metres and at this stage the Wakefield athlete had the race all sewn up.
The remaining Wakefield athletes were attempting to catch the leading group. Kerry, still suffering from a cold, battled bravely to achieve this but was unsuccessful. Hardbattle again showed great improvement and is obviously gaining valuable experience with every race.
Hall did make a late burst for the line and finished eighth, one place behind Wright. Kerry and Hardbattle were 9th and 12th respectively with Faulkner finishing the course course in 22nd. Gowland's winning performance of 15 mins 53 secs edged the squad into second in the team event.
There was a high-quality field in the U17 ladies' race including Wakefield's Aine Hoban and Sam Colley. Hoban was looking to improve on her sixth place in the previous race and for much of the race she was in with a shout tucked in, as she was, behind the leaders.
Both athletes enjoy dry conditions but were forced to grind out good results on this slow, quagmire of a course. Hoban was vying for second with Bingley Harriers' athlete Geldart, who just pipped the Wakefield runner on the line.
Hoban's finishing time of 18 mins 30 secs was a mere 22 seconds down on the winner with Colley showing great determination to complete the course in 21 mins in 15th place.
A good turn out in the U15 boys' race included Wakefield pair Andrew Hall and Sam Handforth who were using this outing as a guide for the forthcoming county championships.
Hall finished in 16 mins 41 secs, just a minute behind the winner, and Handforth was 40 seconds down on his team-mate.