Skipton Schools have eight out of 10 singles titles and six out of 10 team titles at this year’s Harrogate and Craven Area cross-country championships.
More than 400 runners from 17 high schools from as far afield as hosts Giggleswick and Queen Ethelburgas near York participated in these races.
The races were on a test track of undulating paddocks with some rough climbs, but also benefited from the start and finish on the flat lap around the school grounds, making for excellent viewing for spectators.
There were plenty of nominations with individual titles, medals for the first three and Best School Awards in each of the five age groups for both boys and girls.
However, the main reason for the races is that they are the starting point for the individual English Schools Cross-Country Championships where the best runners for the Harrogate & Craven team are selected for the county championships, of which the national team is selected.
The races started with the adults but were followed in order of age with the boys’ races followed closely by the girls.
In the Boys’ Year Seven race, George Marsh and Will Oakden of Ermysted were among three vying for medals.
George went on to finish off the sprint to claim the singles title with Will third.
Excellent support from Will Pease in fifth and Daniel Hood in tenth meant a low score of just 19 points for the overall top four runners and the team title as well.
The other Craven athletes in the top 12 earned an automatic selection for the area teams, South Craven’s Charlie Alban, fourth, and Oscar Timbers in seventh.
The girls’ year seven race saw Izzie Batfield of South Craven win the title, ahead of schoolmates Lydia Eastwood in second and Holly Fitch in sixth.
Giggleswick’s Lucy Quinn took fourth and Rita Bucks from Skipton Girls’ High School (SGHS) was eighth as well.
The eighth and ninth age groups share one team in the county championship, so run the same track and distance and use the times to select the top 12 and 4 guests.
However, they are still run as two separate races that allow the two age groups to claim medals and titles.
The Boys’ Year 8 race saw South Craven’s Zach Jardine win the title, while the Craven athletes dominated the girls’ race once again, with SGHS beating South Craven for the team title.
SGHS Izzy Wright drove the runners home and was well supported by Lilly Nixon, seventh; Anna Petrucci, ninth and Hetty Brookfield 25th for their winning team.
South Craven’s Milly Timbers in second and Rebecca Pierce in third took the other medal positions with teammate Betsy Willis in tenth. Jiggleswick’s pupils, 8th Matilda Avery and Lily Pilkington 11th, also took the top 12 places.
The Y9s then ran exactly the same course so the times could be used later to select the best cross team for the County Championships.
The Ermysted duo of Tom Hooper and Ewen Wilkinson started in good fashion but were vying for second place as Settle’s Jack Sanderson continued to dominate the local sprint.
It was gold for Jack and silver and bronze for Ermysted with Ewen taking the bragging rights right now beating Tom in finishing the race.
Ermysted was expected to win the team event, but a late withdrawal meant they only had at least four athletes and each place counted.
Daniel Radhalgh had another good finish in fifth, and Seth Lineker continued his good form recently to finish 20 out of 53 goals with a total of 30 points low enough for the team to win.
The other Craven athletes who took the top ten were Giggleswick’s Will Teal 7th and Settle’s Robbie Watmough 10th.
South Craven’s Lily Kirkley took the podium lead after winning the nine Girls’ Race of the Year, while Charlotte Burt of Seattle took fourth.
The Y10/11 race was next, and Dougie Segger-Staveley did his best for another singles title.
He led most of the race but couldn’t shake the player from Knaresborough who ran away on the final climb to let Dougie settle for second.
His team was great with Sam Bentham coming home next in the bronze medal, Samish Chotay had a lifetime to come in fifth and Nathan Heard again in seventh with just 17 points and another team win.
In fact, this team was so dominant that Lachlan Wells 10th, Freddy March 11th, and Oscar Smith 12th out of 43 goals.
Joining those seven in the district team will be South Craven’s Sam Barber, who finished sixth.
Olivia Aldham became South Craven’s fourth singles champion in the girls’ event, while SGHS Megan Wilkinson took fifth, and Jiggleswick duo Lily and Yoel 10th and Lily Rostron were 12th.
Older starters away, Ermysted was Alex Thompson’s favorite who showed his feats on the track over the summer weren’t at the expense of his stamina as he drove from revolver to bar and set the tone for the amazing day that Craven was.
The Senior Course is severely depleted as many runners have found the extra distance a long task after a lack of training and racing over the past 18 months.
Ermysted and Giggleswick still managed to take out the teams with Ermysted out in seventh with Andrew Robinson seventh, Robert Mann eighth and Will Hopewell tenth all in the top ten and claiming the team title.
Peter Moffat of Jiggleswick in fifth, Max Ryan in sixth, Johnny Scott ninth, Vengu Fong 11 and Isaac Larkin 12 all made the area team along with Sam Smith of South Craven in fourth.
The Y12/13 girls watched Giggleswick collect the team title as the contestants nearly finished in the procession.
Allison Fry drove them home in fourth with Emily Hutchinson sixth, Maileen Steenkamp seventh, Emma Wood eighth, Isabella Fox Tristan ninth and Cecily Rigby tenth.