ERYMSTED’S George Marsh and Giggleswick’s Jack Sanderson both claimed individual County Titles at Saturday’s North Yorkshire Schools’ Cross-Country Championships held on home soil at Aireville Park in Skipton.

The conditions were boggy underfoot, following an overnight deluge, and proved a testing course with a strong wind and a few hills thrown in to the mix. The runners had all qualified by virtue of a top 12 finish in November’s Area Championships held at Ripon and as there are four regions of North Yorkshire each supplying a team of 12 with guests meaning there were up to 50 runners in each race.

The races are mainly an individual event where the runners try to win titles, medals or selection for the North Yorkshire County Teams. County selection for an Inter-County match, at Sunderland on February 4, relies on runners finishing in the first 15 (or 12 in the Y7 race). In addition anyone finishing in the top six is automatically selected for the English Schools’ Championships to be held this year at Wollarton Park, Nottingham in March with the final two places decided following February’s Inter-Counties match.

Ermysted’s George Marsh impressively carried Craven’s challenge in the Junior Boys (U14) race. Marsh is on form having been runner-up at last week’s Yorkshire Clubs County Championships but he is at the lower end of the age group so had a great run to win against predominantly older opposition. South Craven’s Zak Jardine claimed Bronze and Will Oakden of Ermysted’s in seventh also making the County team.

Giggleswick’s Jack Sanderson was Craven’s other Champion as he led from the start, in the Intermediate age group (U16), to add another individual title to his impressive portfolio. Craven had a superb turnout in this race as they had eight of the first 12 home with Ermysted’s supplying five runners. Tom Hooper and Sam Bentham joined Sanderson on the podium as they took Silver and Bronze respectively whilst Ewan Wilkinson seventh, Lachlan Wills ninth and Samesh Chotai tenth all made the County team, a remarkable performance from just one school.

South Craven’s Sam Barber was sixth and his school-mate Otis Brook 12th will also race in North Yorkshire colours at Sunderland.

South Craven’s Jacob O’Sullivan led local challenge in the Y7 Boys (U12s) race as he came runner-up. Ermysted’s Seth Box returned to form to claim sixth, whilst Settle’s Ben Brummit tenth and Dexter Woodward 12th also made the County team. The Seniors (U18s) ran a gruelling 3 ½ miles but Ermysted’s Dougie Segger-Staveley ninth and Jack Acornley 14th both had the reward of a county vest for their efforts.

The Craven challenge in the girls’ races was spearheaded by Skipton Girls’ Izzy Wright in the Junior Girls age group. Wright was the Silver medallist in the Junior Girls race as Izzy Patefield 11th from South Craven also made the County team. South Craven school were really well represented in the Inter Girls race as Olivia Aldham was fifth. Layla Kirkley seventh and Alice O’Sullivan 15th meaning their trio of athletes all claimed a County vest.