Skipton offer hope for the future after battling display in nationals

Craven Herald: Katie Atkinson came eighth Katie Atkinson came eighth

Skipton Girls High School made an encouraging debut in the final of the English School Cross Country Cup at Southend.

Their junior girls team, who won the North East of England round last month, came sixth overall and their star runner Katie Atkinson was eighth in the individual race.

Katie produced another battling performance and was in a group just behind the front two who went clear early on.

She was in contention for an individual medal but had to settle for eighth place just 16 seconds behind the runner-up.

Next for Skipton was Ruby Schofield. She won a race at Keighley earlier this year when her team-mate was missing, and showed that she is another promising runner.

A strong finish gave her 32nd overall which was a fine effort.

In the North East of England round, won by Katie, Ruby, Eleanor Root and Emily Jones had finished ninth, tenth and 11th.

Although Eleanor and Emily battled hard they had to settle for 52nd and 80th place respectively.

It meant Skipton had a team total of 172 points in an event won by Aylesbury High School with just 68.

Their performance offers genuine medal hope for next year as all the team members will be eligible to compete in the same age group.

Their non-scorer was Angelina Bairstow in 110th whilst Hannah Raistrick was swimming in the North Eastern Championships and did not compete.

Ermysted’s had two teams competing in the finals in the junior and intermediate age groups.

When the junior boys set off it was clear they were only competing for the experience. The cavalry charge start of 144 athletes was as fast as ever even though it was up the only slight gradient on the course.

Sam Jackson had been best performer of late and he set off hard to try to maintain that ‘top dog’ status. He was closely followed by Tom Barrett and Will Thompson with Ben Jackson and Jonny Thompson next.

Joel Phillip was already a bit adrift and obviously struggling with his breathing.

They had two big laps to do and time to work themselves into the race.

By the end of the first lap, Will had established himself as the first runner with Tom following in his slipstream.

Sam was going backwards and soon Jonny and Ben had moved into scoring positions for Ermysted’s.

The lads battled hard round the flat course but were all quite well back down the field.

Will was their best finisher in 74th, with Tom 95th, Jonny 101st, and Ben Jackson 116th for a team total of 386 points which placed them 24th. Their non counters were Sam in 124th place and Joel 132nd.

Ermysted’s inters had won the North East of England round but with quite a high total so weren’t expecting to challenge at the head of the team competition.

However, as for five of them it was to be their last outing in this event they were all hoping for positions between about 30th and 50th.

The flat course didn’t really suit lads brought up on the hills around Skipton but they stuck to their task.

Luke Thompson led away from the start with his twin Matt and Matthew Jackson not far behind. Jimmy Lund was next with George Maloney whilst George Roe was the team’s final runner.

The inters have the benefit of time as they run over three laps and can run back into contention even if they are caught out a bit by the start.

Luke was the first runner home for Ermysted’s in 45th, two positions ahead of Jimmy while Matthew 58th and George Maloney 70th earned the team a total of 220 points for 14th place.

Matthew was 99th and George Roe succumbed to a bad stitch after trying to push into the scoring four for the Ermysted’s team.

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