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West Yorkshire Schools
Cross Country Championships 1999

Report by: Martin Cunnane

Saturday 6th February 1999 at QEGS, Wakefield

Wakefield Harriers-based athletes were in winning action last weekend representing Wakefield Schools in the West Yorkshire Schools cross country championships held at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School's playing fields, College Grove.

Arguably the best performance of the day came from fast-improving athlete Aine Hoban in the intermediate girls' section. She put in a tremendous effort to hand a comprehensive beating to Holmfirth-based Natalie White of Kirklees Schools who, only the previous weekend, had finished runner-up in the prestigious North of England cross country championships.

White had set off confidently and had soon built up a 30-metre lead over the chasing pack of four athletes that included Hoban, who appeared to be travelling well within herself.

White maintained the gap until the last kilometre when Hoban delivered her challenge, pulling away from the chasing pack and quickly hunting down White.

Hoban bit the front about 800m from home and another injection of pace carried her 20 metres clear of the tiring White. And running on strongly, the Wakefield girl had pulled almost 100m clear by the finishing line, coming home 21 seconds in front of White with Claire Barker, also of Kirklees third, a further 30 seconds adrift.

Wakefield Harriers' male athletes didn't enjoy anywhere near the same sort of success as their female counterparts in the West Yorkshire Schools cross country championships hosted by QEGS.

Only two Harriers-based athletes made selection for the county teams for next month's English Schools cross country championships finals.

In the intermediate boys' race (U17), won by Spenborough's Steven Mulhall of Kirklees in 22 mins 35 secs, Wakefield Schools representative D Sugden led the City's team home in a respectable fifth spot in 23 mins 37 secs. Wakefield Harrier Alex Senior put in a lack-lustre effort that saw him finish a well-beaten seventh over 75 seconds behind the winner in 23 mins 50 secs. Steve Faulkner claimed 14th overall in 24 mins 39 secs with Michael Walker 21st in 25 mins 32 secs and Richard Markey 25th in 26 mins 34 secs. The final Wakefield Schools representative to finish was R Forbes who filled 31st position in 27 mins 15 secs.

Senior gained automatic selection to the county squad and along with Sugden will go to Luton in March for the finals.

In the senior boys' (U20) race, won by Nick Goodliffe from Holmfirth team-mate and ex-English Schools 1,500m track champ' Richard King, both representing Kirklees Schools, Harriers-based 17-yearold John Fitzmaurice earned his first county cross country vest by staying on solidly to claim seventh on the line and with it automatic selection to the West Yorkshire Schools squad for the Luton-hosted English championships.

There were no Harriers athletes in the junior boys' race, won by Halifax Harriers' Yorkshire cross country champion Steve Enwright in 15 mins 08 secs. And although none of the Wakefield Schools representatives made the top eight qualifying places, the athletes on duty ran respectably to gain the following finishing places: A Thomas (l0th in 16 mins 21 secs), G Davies (21st, 16 mins 40 secs), Nicky Darnton (26th, 17 mins 05 secs), B Welch (30th, 17 mins 26 secs) N Draper (35th, 17 mins 58 secs).