Blackpool Wyre and Fylde Athletic Club athletes headed to Blackburn’s Witton Park for their third cross country showpiece of the year, the Lancashire Schools Championships.
With the Lancashire and Northern championships already ticked off, the schools’ event saw the first five in each age category guaranteed selection for the English Schools Championships in Nottingham on March 5.
The previous visits to Witton Park had been muddy, but further heavy rain meant conditions underfoot were sodden this time, with a small lake appearing in the middle of the Park. BWF and Lytham St Annes Road Runners members were representing their school districts in this event.
The best results of the day were posted by the Preddy family.
At the previous week’s Northern Championships, Ben Preddy withdrew early in the race because shin splints.
But despite some discomfort, he returned to represent Fylde in the junior boys’ race and won it in 15:32.
His sister Caitlyn also represented Fylde in her first year as a Junior Girl and finished an excellent fourth in 15:57.
Also in the junior girls’ race, Holly Winstanley in 12th with 16:57 and Danielle Whipp 13th with 16:59, again representing Fylde.
In the junior boys’ race, James Smith (Wyre Schools) was 13th in 17:17, Jack Tickle (Fylde) 26th in 14:57, Jamie Jackson (Blackpool) 47th in 19:07 and Bruno Eaves (Fylde) 52nd in 19:28.
In the senior girls’, Jessica Rogers (Blackpool) returned to action after injury and finished sixth in 19.06.
Ella Moulding of Lytham St Annes RRC (Fylde) was second in the Inter Girls’ race in 17:39, with Sydney Bairstow (Blackpool) and excellent sixth in 19:07, Chloe Norman (Fylde) of LSA 16th with 20:42 and Taylor Holland (Blackpool) 26th with 17:58.
In the Year 7 girls’ race, Lily-Mae Gray (Fylde) was second, Lucy Tickle (Fylde) 10th with 10:26, Natalia Luczak (Blackpool) 36th in 12:14 and Georgia Norman (Fylde) of LSA 55th in 13:07.
• Ben and Caitlyn Preddy, and Ella Moulding were among the many Kirkham Grammar School representatives at Witton Park, others included Darcey Lonsdale (third, junior girls) and Jake Lonsdale (fourth, senior boys). All five have qualified to represent Lancashire in the national championships next month.
This will be Jake’s sixth consecutive appearance at the English Schools Championships, while sister Darcey is looking forward to her first .
This is the first time Darcey has been eligible and she qualified despite being a year younger than many of her fellow competitors.
• The next day, seven BWF athletes travelled to Sheffield to compete in the Under-15 and Under-13 Indoor Championships.
One of them was Danielle Whipp,who had been disappointed with her run at Witton Park.
Danielle entered the 800m mainly for the ‘experience’, but what an experience it turned out to be as she finished second in her heat (2:29.80) to qualify for the semi-finals, in which she was again second (2:30.40).
In the final, Danielle ran from the front and just missed out on the medals in fourth place with an excellent 2:26.44.
Three BWF sprinters gained valuable experience. James Nicholas qualified from the 60m heats (8.21) and just missed out on the final, finishing fifth in the semis with 8.12.
U13s Ellie Owen and Leah Howard both qualified from the heats with 9.09 and 9.08 respectively.
In the semis, both girls finished fourth and just missed out on the final. Ellie ran 9.07 and Leah 8.97. Leah was also fourth in the high jump with 1.20m.
• Three of BWF’s successful pole vaulter from the previous week’s Vault Manchester competition were again in action.
It was a tight competition, with Leah Darbyshire of Wigan & District Harriers winning with 2.90m BWFAC’s Kirsty Rushton also cleared 2.90m but just missed out on the top prize on countback.
Amelia Shearman won bronze with 2.60m. Minnie Rogers was seventh with a personal best 2.40 metres.