TWO Skipton runners won individual titles to cap a highly-successful day for their schools in the North East England Schools Cross Country Championships at Stockton.

Tom Barrett of Ermysted’s Grammar School produced a fine performance to win the intermediate boys race and Skipton Girls High School’s talented Lilli Carr took first place in the junior girls race.

Both runners helped their respective schools to win the team prize in their age group and qualify for the National Finals at Bedford on December 5.

The Ermysted’s juniors followed up their outstanding performance in the recent North Yorkshire Championships to take the team title while the Skipton Girls High School intermediates finished third in their event to secure their place in the nationals.

Ermysted’s juniors had a great low score in last month’s competition and expected to do well. All six of their runners were towards the front of the field of 72 with Harvey Lewis leading the challenge in third.

He was well supported by Louis Hudson and Alex Thompson in fifth and sixth. There was also a fantastic battle between Will Atkinson, Arthur Peel and Charlie Wood to finish as the final team scorer.

As the boys came back on their final lap, Lewis was safe in third with Hudson’s only challenger for fifth being Thompson, who won the sprint for the line. Atkinson was eighth, Peel tenth and Wood (12th). With all six runners inside the top 12 it gave them a clear victory with a total of 22.

Ermysted’s Inters had also qualified as North Yorkshire champions. Barrett led their challenge and he set off on the first of his three laps just behind the leaders in third. As the race developed he moved into second before making his move on the leader at the start of the final lap. Barrett not only caught, but quickly left the long-time leader in the dust to win.

This team also have strength in depth as Sam Jackson, Ben Jackson, Matthew Kenneth and Will Thompson were all battling for a top ten place. Sam Jackson had been suffering from an illness and ultimately struggled to even finish in 16th.

Fortunately three of the runners who came past him on the run in were Kenneth, Ben Jackson and Will Thompson who came 11th, 12th and 13th for a good low score of 37 points and another team victory.

Skipton Girls are the defending national champions at the junior age group and won’t give up their title without a fight. They won the North Yorkshire round last month and in Carr have an athlete who could emulate Katie Atkinson’s individual victory.

Carr led from gun to and was superbly supported by Alice Jones who was the runner-up and Ruby Firth who finished fifth.

They gave the team a great start in the competition and their victory was secured when Lucy Fryers came back in 20th for a team score of 28.

Most of the team that won the national junior title in Newquay last year have now moved up an age-group. They are led by the national title holder Katie Atkinson who had to settle for third but with Emily Jones, coming home in fifth they had a real chance of again making the final. Eleanor Root was next home in 20th and Angelina Bairstow completed the team in 24th for a total of 52 points, meaning that all four of the Skipton teams have made it to the national final.

They now have four weeks to prepare for the finals, where Skipton Girls are the defending champions and Ermysted’s have a good chance of bettering last year’s fourth-placed finish.

Before that there is the Harrogate and Craven Area Championships ont Wednesday at Giggleswick where students can gain places in area teams, then county teams before running in the English Schools’ Championships in March.