Wharfedale Harriers’ juniors proved a force to be reckoned with in this year’s West Yorkshire Cross Country League.

It comprises a series of four varied races at Thornes Park Wakefield, Nunroyd Park Guiseley, Spenborough and lastly at Cliffe Castle Keighley

Whatever challenges the courses presented, they proved no real match for the hardy under-13 athletes.

In the girls’ races, Alice Jones secured her individual league victory with three clear wins after missing the first race.

She stormed to victory in the Guiseley race and finished 18 seconds clear of her nearest challenger, Eve Jones of Spenborough.

Spenborough proved a bit trickier as she found herself surrounded by a pack of athletes for the first 200m or so, but she still won by nine seconds from Keighley & Craven’s Lilli Carr.

Now everything hung on the last race at Keighley. Being the day after the final of the English Schools Cross Country Cup, there was doubts about whether she could race well on the second day.

All fears were allayed in the first 400m as she stormed to the front and remained there to the end, making the whole thing look easy, again beating Carr by six seconds.

The under-13 boys were no less impressive. Alex Thompson worked hard to secure his personal league victory.

In the first race, at Wakefield, he hung on the shoulder of pre-race favourite, Alex Flaherty of Bingley Harriers until the uphill section of the second lap and finished 18 seconds ahead of him as he took the first of his three victories..

At Guiseley, he broke with his usual racing style and led from the start just in front of Flaherty and Wharfedale team-mate Sam Smith.

The race was a nail biter but Thompson managed to win by just two seconds after a great run.

The three main contenders, Thompson, Flaherty and Smith - formed a leading pack in the final race at Spenborough.

Thompson had to show grit and determination, as well as a crucial burst of pace on the final uphill section, to win by two seconds from Flaherty.

Wharfedale’s under-13 boys team, comprising Thompson, Smith – who secured an individual league bronze – Hamish Wills and George Milner, also won a well-deserved gold by being the first team in three of the four races.