CRAVEN athlete Alice Jones claimed her fifth consecutive individual county title at the North Yorkshire Schools’ Cross-Country Championships on Saturday at Tadcaster Grammar School.

She led a strong Craven contingent who had gained selection following November’s Area Championships held at Giggleswick.

The races are mainly an individual event where the runners try to win titles or selection for the North Yorkshire County teams.

County selection for an Inter-County match, at Penrith on February 8, relies on runners finishing in the first 15 (or 12 in the Year 7 race).

In addition, anyone finishing in the top six is automatically selected for the English Schools’ Championships to be held this year in Liverpool in March with the final two places decided following February’s Inter-County match.

Ermysted’s Grammar School impressively carried Craven’s challenge in the Year 7 boys race.

The school had five representatives in the Harrogate and Craven team and all five were well placed from the cavalry charge start.

They all ran on well and finished in the top 12 to qualify for next month’s County team.

The Ermysted’s boys were Tom Hooper (fourth), Joe Greening (sixth), Ewen Wilkinson (ninth), Daniel Ridehalgh (10th) and Rowan Box (12th).

Settle College provided the other Craven interest as Jack Sanderson came seventh but Robbie Watmough just missed out coming 16th of the 45 finishers.

The Year 7 girls ran a similar course with South Craven’s Layla Kirkley and Alice O’Sullivan joining Lucille Pickles from Skipton Girls High School at the head of the race.

Kirkley finished strongest as she came third, with O'Sullivan sixth and Pickles seventh, all making the North Yorkshire team.

The Junior Girls race (under-14s) saw two more South Craven runners qualify for the County teams.

Olivia Aldham (11th) and Helena Roberts (12th) finished inside the top 15.

The Junior Boys saw Ermysted’s Dougie Segger-Staveley challenge at the sharp end and he ran on very strongly to secure third place.

His schoolmate Sam Bentham (seventh) also had a great race to qualify for the County match next month.

Upper Wharfedale’s Marley Plant also ran well to come ninth and secured County selection.

The Inter Girls (under-16s) had a Craven favourite in Skipton Girls High School’s Alice Jones.

Jones had won this event in each of the four previous years but would not have it all her own way as schoolmate Lilli Carr beat her only a couple of weeks ago in the Club's County Championships at Lightwater Valley.

It was no surprise when Jones, Carr and Harrogate’s Eve Whitaker ran clear of the field.

Gaps started to open on their second lap and confirmed Jones’ fifth successive win at this race.

Carr, also from Skipton Girls, was only four seconds adrift as runner-up and South Craven’s Tui Brooks also made the North Yorkshire team with seventh place.

The boys race saw South Craven’s Sam Smith leading the way, following his win at November’s Area championships. He had a decent run to finish fourth with Upper Wharfedale’s Sam Headley sixth and Ermysted’s Ben Rees in 11th.

The Senior Girls saw all three Craven runners not only make the County team for Penrith but also the team for Liverpool.

Sister of the Inter Girls champion, Emily Jones, was aiming for a family double but had to settle for a podium place as she ran well for third.

Her schoolmate Katie Atkinson also ran well for fifth, with Giggleswick’s Marissa Allen coming between them in fourth.

Arguably, Craven’s best performance came in the Senior (under-18s) boys’ race as eight local lads made county selection.

It is at this age group that Ermysted’s have been selected as England’s representatives in April’s World School Cross-Country championships and they showed why as five of the selected team along with reserve Alex Old all made the County team.

Seb Segger-Staveley did emulate younger brother Dougie’s performance as he too came third with Joe Carnelley also having a great run in fourth.

Louis Hudson was Craven’s next home in seventh, Will Thompson was 10th and Arthur Peel, returning from injury, the last member of the World Team, was 12th.

These five will be joined by Will’s younger brother Alex, who missed the Inter boys race through injury but has been racing well this year.

Their schoolmate, Alex Old, claimed the final County pace as he came 15th on Saturday just behind South Craven’s Jack Muir 11th and Settle’s Rhys Watmough 14th.