Rotherham Harriers & Athletics Club
4th Gold for ladies, Men also medal

Yorkshire Cross Country Championships; Lightwater Valley, Ripon. Jan 9th

The heavy rain that fell over Christmas and continued into January, meant that the ground conditions were very wet with the later races having to contend with some deep muddy sections.

Despite the underfoot conditions, this years championships delivered one of the most successful for the club for years.

The club had 10 complete scoring teams to finish in the 10 races.

Again the senior ladies led the way - winning the team gold medals for the 4th year in a row. However, the team was weakened due to illness and injury, and we knew that getting a medal of any colour would not be easy. Samantha Johnson again led the way in 10th place, with Jess Fawcett (12th), Emma Parkinson (continuing her excellent season in 16th) and Fiona Davies (20th) holding off runners-up Holmfirth Harriers by 14 points. Hallamshire Harriers were 3rd, 6 points behind Holmfirth. Leeds City England International Claire Duck was the race winner.

The other big success was the senior men's team winning bronze team medals. This is the first time (for at least 30 years) that the club has won any senior men team medals in the county Championships. Credit is due to Pete Shaw, the team manager and club coach who has worked over the last 10 years to build both the team strength and fitness, for this milestone achievement. Aidan Johnson had another good run to finish 11th, but with 6 to score in the team it isn't so much about your first runner as where the next 5 finish; and Luke Cotter, Richard Harris (who had already covered several miles in his wellington boots supporting his young athletes from his coaches group) Gareth Sampson & Phil Hoole (who was returning from injury) securing the 3rd team place by just 9 points from Wharfedale Harriers.

Leeds City won the team title, and Hallamshire were second. Ex-Rotherham resident & Harrier Jon Thewlis (now with Notts AC) won the event for the second successive year - despite losing a shoe in the deep mud on the final lap

It wasn't all about senior athletes though: In the younger age group races the club had complete teams in all races except the u17 women, junior men & junior women. One of the satisfying successes is that the club now has strength in all the age groups, with the u15 athletes again showing the club strength in this age group, with 2 teams in each age group, and the "A" teams both winning silver medals.

Our U17 mens team - which should have been a favourite for a medal, following their success in the Autumn road relays and South Yorkshire cross countries, was weakened with Kane Smith and Declan Walker-Smith both missing through injury, but thanks to excellent support from Matthew Walker and Aaron Wickson, the team finished 6th, with Joe Massingham leading the team home in 6th place.

In the U13 races, The girls team finished 8th, being led home by new member Ruby Hewitt (in her first Yorkshire event) in 17th, supported by Abby Stroughair (38th) and Leah Hayward (40th).

The following athletes were selected to represent Yorkshire in the Inter counties Championships, to be held at Cofton Park, Birmingham in March:- U15 girls; Mya Taylor, Grace Harris. U15 boys Matthew Stevens. U17 men Joe Massingham. Samantha Johnson, Aidan Johnson and Jack Stokes (an excellent 11th in the U15 boys race) all look likely to be selected as reserves.

Rotherham positions:

U13 girls

Ruby Hewitt 17th, Abby Stroughair 38th, Leah Hayward 40th, Keira Sampson 68th, Nyah Barlow 79th.

U13 boys

Elliot Morton 36th, Fenn Russell 51st, Jack Steele 52nd (13th team) Jay Jessop 56th, Daniel Shaw 76th, Matthew Shaw 83rd (21st team)

u15 girls

Mya Taylor 5th, Grace Harris 6th, Keiva Rennocks 13th (2nd team) Annabel Johnson 29th, Bethany Mount 47th, Emma Ball 55th (13th team)

U15 boys

Matthew Stevens 5th, Jack Stokes 11th, Oliver Bowater 16th (2nd team) Sam Picton 37th, Dillon Seddons 49th, Howard Kniveton 53rd (10th team).

u17 women

Grace Morton 37th.

U17 men

Joe Massingham 6th, Matthew Walker 36th, Aaron Wickson 42 (6th team)

Junior men

Devon Stead 13th

Senior women

Samantha Johnson 10th, Jess Fawcett 12th, Emma Parkinson 16th, Fiona Davies 20th (1st team) Alina Stepanchuk 21st, Sasha Gallagher 67th, Paula Fisher 85th.

Senior men

Aidan Johnson 11th, Luke Cotter 17th, Richard Harris 33rd, Gareth Sampson 46th, Sam Clegg 57th, Phil Hoole 64th (3rd team) Ian Whyman 115th, Steven Marshall 151st, James Gallacher 204th, Stephen Cotter 247th.

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