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8 February 2019

Greater Manchester Schools Cross-Country Championships

Over 700 young athletes braved snow and ice to take part in the Greater Manchester Schools Cross Country Championships at Heaton Park last Saturday. The courses were changed at the last minute to avoid the worst of the underfoot conditions which allowed the event to go ahead, even though several counties had cancelled their championships.


At the end of the day's proceedings, 7 Trafford AC athletes had secured their hard-earned places on the Greater Manchester team for the English Schools Championships at Leeds next month.
Pride of place went to Xav O'Hare who won his 1st county schools cross country title at his 7th attempt when winning the Senior Boys (Years 12/13) race. He was closely followed home by Cynog Williams, both from Loreto College. Trafford AC had 2 other runners making the team. Jack Wilkinson (Urmston GS) finished 5th and made the team for the 5th consecutive year and Harry Sinclair (North Cestrian GS) finished close behind him in 6th. 
3 Trafford athletes also qualified for the Inter Boys (Years 10/11) team. Joe Bentall (Chorlton HS) had a great race to finish in 2nd place closely followed by Alex Bailey (Urmston GS) producing a very good run in 4th. His Urmston GS team-mate, Jack McNicol qualified in 7th. Several other Trafford athletes finished in this age group - Joe Mangan (Priestnall S) 10th, Lewis Royle (Walkden HS) 16th, Theo Symons Treacher 18th, Seb Patrick 19th,and Tom Bentall 25th - all 3 from Chorlton HS.
Perhaps the surprise performance of the day from a Trafford AC point of view was Caitlin Doohan (Loreto GS) gaining an excellent 5th in the Inter Girls (Years 10/11) race, winning her 1st county vest. Rebecca Young (Stretford GS), consistent as ever, finished 14th. 
No Trafford athletes made the teams in the Junior (Years 8/9) age groups, but nevertheless there were some great performances. Charlie Atkiss (Chorlton HS) doggedly worked his way through to 14th place, not too far ahead of his Chorlton HS classmate, Sonny Wilson, in 23rd.
In the Junior Girls race, best Trafford AC performances were by Parrs Wood HS pupils, Lila Wainwright 21st & Amy Nunn 25th. They were followed home by Olivia Russell 29th, Imogen Davenport 46th & Cleo Bentall 63rd.
The Minor (Year 7) age groups can't qualify for the English Schools but there were still some excellent Trafford performances. Josh Watson (Trinity HS) had probably his best race of the season so far in finishing 9th, a few seconds ahead of Owen Reekie (Chorlton South) in 15th. Olivia Holbrook finished 61st in the equivalent girl's race.
There were more Trafford athletes in the Primary Schools Championships at the same venue, but those results haven't yet been published.
Next Saturday sees the final Manchester Cross Country League at Kenworthy Woods when league medals will be decided.
Neil Canham

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