Strong squad gives Leeds great chance

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athletics: Leeds City have a powerful squad for the National Cross Country Championships at Nottingham’s Wollaton Park.

They have a marvellous record in the event having won team medals for the past 11 years. Last year they were narrowly beaten by Morpeth, but this year they turned the tables on their North East rivals in the Northern Championships.

Last year James Wilkinson led the team home in seventh place and he was superbly backed up by Carl Smith, James Walsh, Alan Buckley, Simon Deakin and Mike Burrett. All these are running again together with Dominic Easter and Steve Lisgo, who were counters in this year’s Northern team.

As if that was not enough, Leeds can also call upon Yorkshire runner-up Jack Simpson and other Yorkshire counters Joe Townsend, Nick Hooker, Adam Osbourne and Alex Davey.

Simon Deakin has won team medals every year for the last 11 years, a unique record that he is looking to extend.

Katie Walshaw (Holmfirth) had a superb run to win the Northern women’s title and a repeat performance should see her among the leaders in today’s race, while her team should also do well.

In the junior races, James Hall (Wharfedale) should be well-placed, while Katy Wood (City of York) and Georgia Malir (Ilkley) are strong contenders in the junior women’ s race.

Annabel Mason (Wakefield) defends her title in the Under-17 race with Bronwen Owen (Scarborough) also a contender.