West Yorkshire Cross Country League
Report by: Bryan Murray
Wakefield Harriers had mixed fortunes at the Skyrac AC-promoted second West Yorkshire Cross Country meeting of the season held on a good, fast course at Munroyd Park, Guiseley.
Top Wakefield placing was Shirley Griffiths who won the senior women's event.
In the U13 girls' section, Wakefield had four runners in a field of 51. Star performer on the day was Jasmin Kerry. She showed tremendous potential by gaining fifth position. Her team-mates, Abi Gowland, Jan Faulkner and Laura Teasdale, each ran well to place 30th, 43rd and 46th. L Kirk of Skyrac won the race in 14 mins 12 secs
Ian Shepherd was the only Harriers representative in the U13 boys' race. Setting off comfortably, he worked his way through the field to finish 13th. Of the 40 starters, D Cunningham of Bingley was the eventual winner in 15 mins, just a minute in front of Shepherd.
The third race of the day was the U 15 girls'. Wakefield put out their strongest squad of Zoe Gowland, Carly Wright, Samantha Colley, Lucy Martin and Lisa Hall. All five athletes were hoping for good finishing positions to claim a place in the team to represent West Yorkshire against the Northern Counties later in the month. At halfway, all five athletes were in the leading group of 15 runners. From there, Zoe Gowland injected more pace to take the seven leaders away from the group of 15. The two groups battled for the top positions with all the Wakefield athletes in contention. At the finish line, Gowland finished seventh in a time of 13 mins 47 secs, behind eventual winner H Glover of Bingley. Four seconds split the remaining Wakefield athletes, Wright and Colley finishing in 14 mins 15 secs in 11th and 12th respectively, with Martin and Hall taking 14th and 15th places in 14 mins 19 secs.
Sam Handforth was the lone representative in the U15 boys' section. Running solidly throughout the race, he finished in 21st from 40 starters.
Completing the junior section, Aine Hoban was having her second outing of the season in the U17 girls. Setting herself a high standard from her results last year, Hoban went with the leaders from the start. A group of four runners broke from the leading runners at the first section of hills with Hoban holding fourth place. Lacking race fitness, she held on gamely to take fourth behind eventual winner D Daly of Scunthorpe. Hoban's time of 20 mins 26 secs took her to within 60 seconds of Daly.
In the senior women's section, Shirley Griffiths and Sarah Beevers gained top ten positions. Griffiths controlled the race, taking a 100m lead before halfway. She was never troubled and finished a comfortable winner. Her training partner Beevers showed good early-season form by taking sixth position. Coached by Bill Dance, things look promising for the Wakefield pair.
Eileen Twigg, Linda Walker and Laura Sheard completed the team runners, returning positions of 15th, 22nd, and 25th respectively.
The final race of the day was the senior men's. The first runner home was Ian Walker in 70th.
Other team members were Dave Brailsford, T White, Mike Logan and Steve Wilkinson who put in brave performances.