Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Relay Impressive Show; NORTH ATHLETES ON ROAD TO CHAMPIONSHIP SUCCESS WITH MANCHESTER MEDALS JUNIOR ATHLETICS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Relay Impressive Show; NORTH ATHLETES ON ROAD TO CHAMPIONSHIP SUCCESS WITH MANCHESTER MEDALS JUNIOR ATHLETICS

Article excerpt

Byline: BILL MCGUIRK

THE region had plenty to celebrate at the Northern Athletics Road Relay Championships in Manchester.

With the course for the young athletes based in and around the Etihad Stadium before making for the changeover on the adjacent Sportcity track, the North East made the long journey all worthwhile with a host of impressive performances.

Pride of place goes to Morpeth's under-17 squad who came from behind to take top spot on the podium after the completion of the 3x3.7k contest.

Daniel Melling got proceedings underway for the Northumbrians, handing over to Taylor Glover for the second leg in 10th position.

Glover quickly made inroads into the teams ahead and, with the fastest run of the stage and the ninth quickest overall, moved Morpeth into second spot just five seconds adrift of leaders Preston.

Rory Leonard had the honour of running the glory leg for Morpeth and he was on the shoulder of the leader in no time before confidently easing into the lead.

With the second-fastest time overall of the contest, Leonard brought the team home in pole position 12 seconds clear of Vale Royal, who had moved ahead of Preston to take the silver awards.

Gateshead, with Charlie McMillan their quickest, finished 18th while Durham City, with Cameron Thomas their best, were 23rd.

The North East could arguably have finished with another first place but for an unfortunate tumble by their first athlete in the under-15 boys' relay.

In the scramble at the start Gateshead's David Rice was left floundering on the track, badly scraped. However, the youngster, despite being left at the rear of the 50-strong field, managed to pick himself up and set off in pursuit.

Despite his ordeal he had managed to ease into 23rd place before passing over to Harry Morris for the penultimate leg.

Morris, with the eighth-quickest time of the day, managed to cut through his rivals and had moved into fifth position at the final changeover.

It was left to recent Junior Great North Run champion Ethan McGlen to make inroads into a medal position and while he managed to run the fourth-quickest time overall he just could not gain enough ground on leaders Blackburn - so the Tynesiders had to be content with the runners-up medals.

Durham City, who were leading going into the final stage, finished in sixth just 17 seconds off a podium place while Morpeth ended up 20th.

Birtley had opened the day's proceedings with a superb third-place finish in the under-13 girls' relay.

Katie Francis gave the Birtleybased outfit the perfect start by handing over to Mia Openshaw in second place at the completion of the first 3.1k stage.

Openshaw slipped back to sixth on the penultimate stage but Abigail Thwaites managed to overhaul the Salford, West Cheshire and Liverpool athletes to bring the blue and golds home in third. …

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