Kirsty `queen of the scene’ Longley

The New Year brought the county cross country championships. Merseyside held theirs at the switchback course of Sherdley Park, fortunately good underfoot, while Lancashire hopefuls were on the more demanding slopes of Blackburn’s Witton Park.

At Merseyside the Liverpool Pembroke Sefton star, Kirsty Longley, continues to defy her 41 years and took the Senior Women`s race by the throat from the gun. The effect of vast experience and class clearly intimidated her opponents and they left her well alone content to chase the lesser medals. Such is her confidence she immediately declared herself capable of running it again! She has had an incredible 12 months, numerous wins, club records, international selection and the top most ranking in the country in her age group at 1500m. Her local rivals, including talented clubmate Rosie Johnson(5th), will inevitably close the gap but currently she is `queen of the scene’.

Split forces with Lancashire demands meant it was difficult to close in teams but no such problem exists with the Under 14 Boys. Here the good packing of Michael Henderson(8), Andrew Storch(15),Stanley Benson(16) and Oscar Davidson(19) secured third team medals. An equally impressive Tom Corcoran at U17 ran out an excellent third as well. Elsewhere there were lone representatives or pairs, U11 Girl Katy Nicholson(15), U13G Rachel Curzon(32) and Katelyn Swift(36), U13B an excellent James Read(6) plus Harry Corcoran(20), U15G Faye Hannaway(12) and Emily Williamson(16) and U17W Bethany Swift(11). Vicky Gilbody(31) joined the two senior women but they were still one short of a team.

There were excellent runs from Dan Slater(3) and Joe Niven(4) at Under 20, both can look forward to team selection for the Inter-counties. Similarly Chris Maher had the run of his life in the Senior Men`s race finishing an impressive 6th in a class field. Mark Wynne, again courageous, took 13th. With Bernie Murphy(38),Mike Gall(50), Richard Beesley(53) and Chris Pedder(82) the club had to settle for sixth team spot.

There no medals at Blackburn and only one team result. Again, to the joy of coaches John Bride and John McCarten, the U15 Boys completed. Jake Dickenson(5) powerfully led and with Se McLoughlin(15), Jared Nicholls(18) and Nicholas Usher(23) just missed out in fourth place. As noted before Sarah Yates continues to look a very good prospect with 5th in the U11 category. At U13B the club had Isaac Dickinson(31) and U13G Alicia Woods(35). The U15G nearly made a counting four with Kate Sutcliffe(14), Ruth Usher(46) and Freya Wissett(47) while at U17M Oliver Sutcliffe was 11th. Alone in the Senior Women`s race Harriet Foley was 30th but a good sixth in her U20 group. Ross Harrison had a great run in the Senior Men`s race 29th but a significant 4th in his U20 age group. Elsewhere Kyle Nicholls(79), Tom Corlett(85) and Lee Anderton(151) fought hard.

Team selections will now be made to represent respective counties and LPS can look forward to having several who will pull on county vests.

Charles Gains

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