Lancashire TelegraphEast Lancs girls conquer the fells (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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East Lancs girls conquer the fells

EAST Lancashire boasted three champions at the England School Fell Championships in Cockermouth, Cumbria on Sunday.

In atrocious conditions, Natalya Irvine, of Unity College and Blackburn Harriers, continued her recent impressive form with victory in the Year 7 race.

In total, 85 year 7 children took part with Irvine finishing in sixth place overall.

Westholme’s Katie Buckley was crowned champion in the year 12/13 race, finishing the course in a time of 24 minutes five seconds to finish in 18th overall.

Rhiannon Wickham completed the region’s hat-trick, with the Clitheroe Grammar School student and Blackburn Harrier winning the year 10/11 girls race.

Other East Lancs medallists were St Wilfrid’s School’s Jack Hindley, also a Blackburn Harrier, finishing second in the year 10/11 race, 50 seconds behind the winner.

His Harriers team-mate Grace Handley won the silver medal in the year 8/9 race.

Hyndburn’s Blythe Fourie, of St Augustine’s High School, picked up the bronze medal in the same race, finishing in 19th overall.

Natalya’s dad, Stephen Irvine, admitted the weekend had taken a lot out of his daughter.

He said: “We are so proud of her.

“She has done the college proud.

“Natalya is ecstatic with the result albeit shattered with also competing in the Red Rose XC Championships GU13 race at Leigh Sports Village yesterday finishing in fourth place to girls more senior to her.”

Blackburn Harriers coach Richard Taylor said: “The conditions were absolutely awful. The course was ankle deep in mud and to bring out the performances they did was fantastic.”

Irvine was not the only one who enjoyed a good afternoon in the previous day’s Red Rose Cross Country League opener at Leigh Sports Village.

Rossendale Harriers’ Matthew Mackay finished third in the under 11 boys race, helping his club finish second in the team event for the age group.

Hyndburn girls’ under 11s came second with Nicola Moynihan’s eighth place their best individual finish with Blythe Fourie winning the under 13 girls’ race.

Rossendale also impressed in the under 13 category, finishing second in the boys’ event and winning the girls’ event, with Corinna Howarth coming second in the individual race, just ahead of Hyndburn’s Alexa McTiffin.

Blackburn Harriers’ Elizabeth Greenwood won the under 15 race with team-mate Grace Hanley finished third as they claimed victory in the team race.

Accrington Road Runners’ Sarah Ridehalgh won the veterans race, finishing the main race in fifth.

Rossendale’s Rebecca Flanagan finished third in the under 17 category.

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