Harriers maintain their momentum at Parliament Hill Fields

Highgate Harriers capped an historic week with a second-place finish at the South of England Cross Country Championship, following their Metropolitan League title victory last Saturday.

The defending champions failed to retain their title at Parliament Hill Fields, having surprisingly won the crown last year, but they put in a strong performance to finish as runners-up ahead of Sunday’s trip to Sunderland for the National Cross Country Championships.

Despite missing high scoring athletes Shaun Dixon and Tim Gardner, Harriers finished with all of their scorers in the top 48 to take second place behind a strong Bedford & County side.

Ben Noad led the Harriers home for the second weekend in succession, crossing the line in 51 minutes 36 seconds to finish 11th, ahead of team-mates Danny Russell (52:51) and Richard Scott (52:59) in 20th and 23rd respectively.

Team manager Ben Pochee (53:14) finished as the first veteran in the race in 26th, followed by Ryan McKinlay (53:20) and Henry Dodwell (54:36) in the remaining points scoring positions.

Meanwhile, Highgate’s women’s team finished fourth in a field of 21 teams thanks to Katie Meredith’s 19th-place finish in 32:15, while Hannah Wylie (33:23), Sophie Sheldrake (36:12) and Louise Faherty (36:41) all finished among the top 100 runners.

Robel Bahelbi (27:42) came 19th as the lead Harrier in the Under-20 men’s race, ahead of Pierce Boyce (34:42), and Gabriel Springer (21:59) led the way in the Under-17s men’s race to finish 57th in a field of 151.

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He was followed by Peter Laing (22:36) and Stanley Harrison in 23:59, with Hannah Viner (20:47) finishing 21st in the Under-17 women’s event.

Viner had already been in action at Parliament Hill Fields three days previously, having come third in the senior girls’ event in the London Schools Cross Country Championships while representing South Hampstead School – an achievement which followed her first-place finish in the girls’ Under-17 category of the Metropolitan League meeting at Moor Park last Saturday.

Harriers’ Under-15 boys earned bronze in the South of England Championship, with Terry Fawden (15:48), Ben Hatch (16:01), James Millett (16:25) and Alex Machin-Paley (16:45) all finishing in scoring positions.

Georgia Fear (14:35) finished 10th in the Under-15 girls race ahead of her sister Lilah Fear (16:48), while Dempster Fawden (11.22), Estban Ghrous (12:23) and Filip Bastion (12:31) competed for the Under-13 boys.

Anna Willis (12:19) and Cecily Turner (13:14) both finishing inside the top 100 for the girls.