Tuesday, 7 July 2009

ECCA series concludes (written for the English XC Association 03/09).

The inaugural English Cross-Country Association Series; which took place over the winter and spanned four fixtures, has developed into a great success since attracting stellar fields throughout the succession of events; writes Nicola Bamford.

The initial competition of the series took place in Birmingham’s Senneley’s Park back in October, followed by the London fixture in November, Liverpool’s Sefton Park event – which incorporated the European cross-country trials, later in the same month and culminated in the National Championships at London’s famous Parliament Hill fields last month.

Competitors were chasing points of 12 for a victory; followed by allocated points of 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1; with 10th place through to 20th also receiving a point.

The senior winners of the series will receive prize money of £500, with 2nd receiving £250, 3rd £150, 4th £100, 5th £75 & 6th £50. The top junior men & women will take away £150, £100, £75 & £50 respectively, and the Under 17’s are eligible for £50, £30, £20. The first three in the younger age groups will receive Saucony equipment vouchers.

If a placing tie occurred in the points scoring, the athlete with the highest position in the National took precedence. Here are the top three for each category -

Senior Men – 25 year-old Frank Tickner captured the senior men’s series title; courtesy of his National cross-country victory and runner-up placing in Liverpool. The Wells City Harrier; who was also 10th in the European Championships and second in the Inter-Counties this season, registered 22 points.
Hot on his heels; just as he had been in competition all season, is Aldershot’s Andy Vernon. The 23 year-old recorded 20 points, thanks to winning in Liverpool and placing third in the National. The European under23 runner-up additionally took the Inter-Counties title this season.
Darren Deed of Bedford and County AC filled the third spot, with 13 points; following victory in the initial London leg and 17th place for the 30 year-old.

Senior Women – Another predictable winner came in the senior women’s event, as 27 year-old Hallamshire Harrier, Hatti Dean took the series win with 18 points. The European Championship 8th-placer stole the series show; courtesy of her National Championship victory and 4th place in Liverpool.
Justina Heslop of Clapham Chasers registered 15 points for the runner-up position. The 30 year-old placed 7th in National, won the initial London leg and came 34th in Liverpool.
Birmingham University student, Sarah Waldron finished third over the series with 13 points; following the 21 year-old’s win in Birmingham and 19the place (and 7th under23) in Liverpool.

Junior Men – An impressive win in the National, following 2nd place in Liverpool, gave Belgrave’s Nick Goolab the series title. The 19 year-old; who was 65th in the European Championships, registered 22 points ahead of Craig Gundersen’s 13 points.
Gundersen – the 19 year-old Liverpool Harrier – collected his points from winning in Birmingham and coming 19th and 34th in Liverpool and in the National, respectively.
Southend’s Ben Hunter collated 12 points; courtesy of the 18 year-old’s runner-up position in the National and 9th placing in Liverpool.

Junior Women – University of Birmingham athlete; Lauren Howarth comfortably took the junior women series title with 26 points. The European bronze-medallist registered points through coming 2nd in the National and 3rd in Liverpool.
Emma Pallant of Aldershot Farnham and District amassed 14 points. The 19 year-old European 5th placer won Liverpool and was 8th in the National.
Another AFD athlete; Lily Partridge, collected 13 points, as the 18 year-old took 3rd place in the National and 5th in Liverpool.

Under17 Men – 15 year-old Danny Mills of Nuneaton registered 23 points, thanks to placing 5th in the National, 2nd in Birmingham and 4th in Liverpool.
Shaftesbury 15 year-old; Richard Goodman finished the series close behind with 22 points, awarded for his 2nd in the National and 1st place in the London first leg event.
17 year-old Danny Schofield from Scarborough achieved 13 points from his 3rd place in the National and 5th place in Liverpool.

Under17 Women – Shildon’s 17 year-old, Kate Avery collected 32 points for placing 2nd in the National, 3rd in Liverpool and winning Birmingham.
Laura Park of Ellenborough AC registered 20 points; as the 17 year-old European 6th placer claimed the 3rd spot in the National and won Liverpool.
16 year-old Melissa Hawtin of Oxford City received 20 points for placing 6th in the National, 2nd in Birmingham and 5th in Liverpool.

Under15 Boys –Hillingdon AC’s Matt Fayers won in Birmingham and placed 5th in Liverpool so the 14 year-old took the series title with 32 points from AFD’s Harvey Dixon with 24 points. Dixon – 15 – won the National and placed 2nd in Liverpool.
Mansfield’s Ryan Saxton took third place with 18 points, following his 3rd place in Birmingham and 2nd place in the initial London leg.

Under15 Girls – Thurrock Harriers’ Jessica Judd collected 32 points, as the 14 year-old placed 3rd in the National, won in Birmingham and also won the first London leg.
Emelia Gorecka of AFD achieved 24 points, as the 15 year-old won the National and Liverpool.
Georgia Peel of Woking AC placed third in the series with 20 points, thanks to the 14 year-old placing 5th in the National, 2nd in Birmingham and 5th in Liverpool.

Under13 Boys – AFD’s Matthew Arnold impressively amassed 40 points, as the 12 year-old notched up wins in Birmingham, London and Liverpool then placed 6th in the National.
James Knox of Helm Hill Harriers registered 12 points, as the 13 year-old won the National title.
Team Bath’s Alex Carter collected 11 points, courtesy of the 13 year-old placing 2nd in Liverpool and 14th in the National.

Under13 Girls – 13 year-old Abbie Hetherington of Carlisle Aspartia took the under13 girls series victory with 24 points, due to her wins in the National and Liverpool.
Mansfield’s 13 year-old Chevelle Baxter claimed the runner-up spot with 19 points, following her 3rd place in Birmingham, 2nd place in the initial London leg and ninth place in Liverpool.
13 year-old Sophie Riches of Chelmsford AC collected 16 points for winning the initial London leg and placing 6th in Liverpool.

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