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Croydon Harriers under-17s get squad's highest place at championships


MORE than 20 Croydon Harriers headed north for the English National cross-country championships in Sunderland last weekend. Nearly five inches of snow fell on the course before the event kicked off, and more snow followed throughout.

Stevie Lawrence got proceedings under way in the U17 women's race and finished 38th in the field of 150.

It proved to be the highest individual position of the day set by a Croydon athlete.

In the U15 boys, Rob Spalding sneaked inside the top 50 finishing 49th in the field of 221 finishers, and was backed up with solid grouping from Omar Harhara (101st), Kieron Connor (135th) and Charlie Brackenborough (142nd) to complete the scoring quartet.

Their efforts ensured the team finished 13th in the team competition - the highest position achieved in this competition since 2009.

Their female colleagues achieved their best national results in over 15 years, finishing in 22nd overall.

Emily Howe edged into the top 100 in the home straight finishing 98th and was well supported by training partners Naomi Carty (125th), Atlanta Drummond (174th) and Josie Kavanagh (187th).

In the U17 men's age group, the team achieved an identical feat to the girls when they closed in 18th over their 5km course.

Harvey White nursed a hamstring injury throughout but valiantly fought home to finish in 125th, and he was followed by Laurence Johnston (163rd), 800m specialist Patrick Lucas (166th) and Kartik Iyer (217th) out of 226 finishers.

By the time it was the turn of the senior men to complete the day's proceedings, the snow had long since turned to a quagmire.

David White improved 116 positions on his 2012 outing in this competition to finish in 269th out of more than 100 finishers.

Martin Rowe (620th), Neil Aikman (780th), Matthew Kiernan (923rd) and Norman Hemming (946th) completed Croydon's representatives in the race, agonisingly one short of fielding a complete team.

Elswhere, three more Harriers headed north for the British University and Colleges Indoor championships in Sheffield.

Twinelle Hopeson, representing Loughborough University, finished fifth in a high quality women's 60m final in a time of 7.74secs. She had won her heat and semi-final in 7.75s and 7.67s respectively and placed 32nd in the UK rankings.

Reading University captain Colm Teeluck clocked season's bests in the 200m and 400m, and Ben Savill (Sussex University) ran a season's best in his 3000m heat, finishing in ninth.

At the Lee Valley Indoor Open, Angus Harrington set the third fastest U13 boys' 800m time in 2:34.96, while older brother Bertie ran a personal best of 2:35.88.

Also indoors, Tony Richards struck silver at the BMAF South of England Masters at the Lee Valley thanks to an 11.84m effort.

In cross-country action at the Downs League at Epsom Downs, Rob Spalding completed his second race less than 24 hours after his exploits at the national championships in Sunderland.

The John Fisher student finished in a hard fought runners-up position and now lies in second overall with one fixture remaining.

Other competitors included debutant Adam Wileman ( 13th, U15 boys), Caitlin Dixon (24th U11 girls) and Bethany Matlock (U15 girls, 7th).

And on the road, David Brown finished 43rd at the Tunbridge Wells half-marathon in 84 minutes and 15 seconds. It was his best position at this race since 2010, while Father Keith Brown finished in 931st in one hour, 52 minutes and 59 seconds.

Croydon Harriers under-17s get squad's highest place at championships

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