A number of Wakefield Harriers athletes competed at the weekend in the West Yorkshire Schools
Cross Country Championships, each representing their school’s area. Outstanding performances
by two of them proved that they were in a class of their own at Batley Grammar school on
Chloe Patchett, a pupil of Heckmondwike Grammar School in the Senior Girls race, a distance of 4km over 3 laps, made a superb start & went straight to the front of the field, from here she was able to dominate the race and gave a masterclass on how to run a race alone & from the front. Katie McHale also worked exceptionally hard, and despite having been ill recently, showed true determination in an effort to try to keep in touch with the leader. However, hard training allowed Chloe to pull out an increasing lead up the steep gradients that have tormented many young athletes who have competed here in the past. Not content in beginning the final lap 22 seconds to the good, Chloe had increased her lead to cross the line 43 seconds ahead of second placed Lois Rosindale of Leeds, in a time of 18m 42s. Katie, whose relentless workrate saw her rewarded with 3rd place & a time of 19m 38s was following in 10th place by Ellie Archer in 21m 24s.
In the Intermediate Boys race, again over 3 laps but a distance of 4.8km, Jack Hallas, a student of Westborough High School, opened up a lead right from the start, catching the rest of the field off guard. Jack's early pace proved too much for his closest challenger, Thomas Crowley of Bradford, and despite Jack stumbling as he reached the highest point of the course, his understanding of the race proved spot on as he opened his stride to cross the line 27 seconds ahead in a time of 26m 3s. Joe Hargreaves finished an excellent 4th in 21m 0s, and despite not being fully fit Ben Homer once again gave a great performance to finish in 6th place ahead of fellow club member Sam Bucknall in 7th, with times of 21m 16s & 21m 38s respectively. Dale Worton had a fine run, but tired towards the finish, coming 11th in 22m 11s.
Kate Wilson of Earlsheaton High School, in the Intermediate Girls race (again representing Kirklees) 3.6km over 3 laps, & by her own admission not a fan of cross country, through both grit & sheer single mindedness put in a performance that, contrary to many of her doubters, showed that she is a force to be reckoned with at this level, lying in second place for most of the race, hard work in training again allowing her to move seemingly effortlessly up the hills. However Kate could not just hold off third place runner Bethanie Pettit, also of Kirklees, & had to relinquish second place just into lap 3. However, showing true Yorkshire spirit she made up good ground on the leaders who were visibly tiring & moved ever closer up the final uphill stretch to the finish line, which, had it been only a couple of hundred metres further may have seen her snatch victory over eventual winner Becky Rowlands, also representing Kirklees, making it a 1-2-3, with times of 17m 11s, 17m 14s & 17m 17s respectively. Catherine Hillarby from Woodkirk High School, running for Leeds Schools, finished 6th in this race in 17m 53s.
In the Junior boys Jamie Lunt came 18th in 17m 31s, a good run, which will stand him in good stead for next year, whilst in the Junior girls Eleanor Richmond had a great race finishing 6th in 16m 53s with Samantha Brook 16th in 17m 56s.
All those finishing in the top 6 should see themselves being considered for selection to represent Yorkshire to compete in the English schools Cross Country Championships, to be held this year at Temple Newsam on Saturday the 24th of March.
Not content with relaxing after their exertions on Saturday, both Chloe & Kate were up early to prepare for the Dewsbury 10k. Once again Chloe, drawing on road running experience that belies her young age ran a well thought race to see her finish in 8th place & a personal best time of 38m 9secs, an improvement of 3mins. Kate, who seems to be coming on in leaps & bounds, her confidence boosted by recent results, & in her first road race, finished in 29th in a time of 42m 36secs. Fellow Wakefield team mate Sarah Beevers, finishing in a time of 36m 56secs, & carrying the torch for the Wakefield Ladies team, led the youngsters home with an aggregate time of 1hr 57m 33secs, which saw them take First Ladies Team in the Team Prizes.
Report by Howard Miller, with additional information from Bryan Murray.