Mansfield Harriers make spectacular start to the new year

The three stars of the Mansfield Harriers U13 boys' team, Jake Orr, Jake Greenhalgh and Sam Knott.
The three stars of the Mansfield Harriers U13 boys' team, Jake Orr, Jake Greenhalgh and Sam Knott.

Mansfield Harriers started 2019 in spectacular style by earning an incredible haul of 14 individual medals, five county titles and eight team medals at the Nottinghamshire Cross-Country Championships.

More than 70 blue and green vests competed at Wollaton Park in Nottingham, and no fewer than 15 of them gained selection for the county team to represent Notts at the Inter-Counties Championships in March.

Amid a stream of outstanding performances, pride of place went to the U13 boys, who took team glory and also two individual medals.

Jake Greenhalgh ran a superb race to be crowned champion, while Jake Orr showed tactical maturity beyond his years to win the bronze medal. Sam Knott finished seventh, Edward Sankey ninth, Matt Young 24th, William Sankey 29th and Oliver Bullough 32nd.

A team title was also taken by the U11 boys, with three runners in the first eight, including bronze medallist James Flint. He was followed home by Eddie Holden in sixth, Riley Scott in eighth, Isaac Herbert in 12th, Joel Brereton in 19th, Adam Hursthouse in 21st, Harrison Walker in 31st and Daniel Adams, who was a brave 40th despite having a shoe ripped off at the start.

Not to be outdone by the youngsters, Harriers’ senior men, comprising Alex Rieley, who was a tremendous second, Dylan George, Neil Cope, Jordan Boam, Jack Cooke and Chris Dale, took the team bronze medal.

In the men’s masters races, Ged Naylor placed fourth in the over-55s’ event, Phil Shaw was fifth in the over-45s’ race, and Martin Fickling was tenth in the over-35s’ contest.

Meanwhile, the senior ladies also tasted success, with Kahli Johnson, who was seventh, Sarah Bradbury, who was 15th, Bev Armstrong and Alice Motriboy steering them to a bronze medal.

Amanda Hardy put in a terrific run to the take the masters over-55s’ county title, while five runners made the top 20 in the masters over-45s’ race. They were Katherine Knight, who was 12th, Angela Purdue, who was 13th, Karen Kowalski, who was 14th, Diane Stewart, who was 15th, and Julia Lowe, who was 18th.

Harriers dominated the combined U17 and U20 ladies’ race, taking all three gold medals available, including the team event. Libby Coleman won the U20s’ category, with Amber Scott third, while Lauren McNeil landed gold for the U17s, ahead of runner-up Nancy Britten.

THE tag of favourites for the gold medal did not weigh heavily on Mansfield Harriers’ U17 men’s team at the Nottinghamshire Cross-Country Championships.

They handled it with great style as Jenson Connell finished second after a 6,000-metre battle with the eventual winner, Ben Smith came third and Sam Bentley ran well for tenth. Not far behind was Joel Whittaker-Naylor in 14th.

Another superb result for Harriers was obtained by Isabel Westwood, who gained her first county title for the U11 girls. The team also took silver after fine runs by Amelia Arbon in seventh, Layla Webb in 11th and Grace Sinclair in 14th.

Team silver was won too by the U13 girls, for whom Grace Manson ran the race of her career to finish third, ahead of Alex Foster in ninth, Zoe Spencer in 14th, Jemima Waller in 15th, Ava Blake in 16th and Elizabeth Sinclair in 24th.