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SATURDAY 4 February witnessed 2017's largest university running competition. Over two thousand athletes from all over the nation headed to Graves Park in Sheffield to compete in the BUCS Cross Country Championships. Amongst them were 30 of York's finest and the team's results reveal the strength and depth that York's athletics club have begun to develop over the last few months.
A great performance from York's ladies saw the team finish 74th from 182 teams. Battling through almost seven kilometres of mud and relentless hills, team captain Sarah Grover led the team home with a fantastic run, finishing 120th out of 621 finishers. Claire Jones was the next woman from York placing 280th with Seren Hughes hot on her heels in 293rd place. The team's final scorer was Charlotte Rhule after she out sprinted fellow teammate Rose Pauling pushing Rose back into 401st position and finishing 400th herself.
Other performances from York's ladies included Ella Dawson (434th), Eleanor Knight (476th) and Elizabeth Watton (490th). Katie Lowles finished the team performance surging through the finish line with still almost 100 of Britain's runners hot on her heels.
All in all, a fine run from York's ladies made for a very muddy, but proud team.
Meanwhile York's men also managed to build on their performances last year.
As a result of the event's popularity the men's race was split into two events consisting of a longer six mile race and a shorter five mile race. The long race witnessed York's men come 35th out of 57 finishers. First to finish was Ben Jones in 123rd, followed closely by George Cook in 156th. George Phillips and Liam Medley made up the remainder of the scoring team following in positions of 193rd and 238th respectively.
Later in the day, the men's short race, consisting of 573 finishers, revealed the development of the University's athletics squad. York's two teams finished 50th and 67th respectively with the first five finishers all being first year students. Harry Topham led home the first team in the men's short race finishing 194th.
The remainder of the men's team then followed quickly with Noah Howlett finishing 202nd followed by Jacob Phillips in 216th and Rob Dykes in 223rd.
Mathew Webb led home the men's second team in 237th followed by Timothy Bagguley (282nd), Jack Eggington (284th) and Liam Gawne (324th).
When asked for their thoughts on the team's results men's captain Sam Wilson stated: "Both of the boy's A and B teams smashed it, we had some incredible individual performances and kudos must go to Ben Jones, our first finisher in the A race. It was great to see such team spirit in a sport that normally requires a lot of racing and training on your own. I can't wait to see what this group can do next year now that they've experienced their first BUCS event and seem all the more determined for it."
Woman's captain Sarah Grover stated: "Everyone did a fantastic job, it was the longest, toughest and muddiest cross country course any of us had ever experienced but everyone attacked it and pulled out great performances."