Multiple XC medallists lead 40-strong British team in Europe

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Alex Bell after winning the British Milers’ Club Grand Prix in Trafford, August 2018. Photo: Alex Seftel

Multiple European Cross Country team and individual medallists will front a 40-strong British Athletics team that heads to Tilburg, the Netherlands, on Sunday, 9 December.

The British team has enjoyed a rich vein of success at these championships, having topped the medal table in 11 of the previous 12 championships.

After taking senior men’s victory at the trials in Liverpool on Saturday, 2016 team gold and 2014 team bronze medallist Ross Millington (coach: Steve Vernon; club: Stockport Harriers) heads the selections, flanked by Andy Vernon (self; Aldershot, Farnham & District), who has won 12 Euro Cross medals in his 10 team appearances.

Nick Goolab (Craig Winrow; Belgrave, below) earns his first selection since 2012 after a stunning second-place finish in Liverpool, with Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher; Richmond & Zetland), Charlie Hulson (Chris Jones; Liverpool) and Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans; Swansea) completing the team.

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The senior women’s team is led by seven-time Euro Cross medallist Kate Avery (Terrence Mahon; Shildon) and 2016 team silver medallists Pippa Woolven (Luke Gunn; Wycombe) and Charlotte Arter (Chris Jones; Cardiff), the latter storming to victory at the trials in Liverpool.

2017 mixed relay gold medallist, Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark; Poole AC) and Verity Ockenden (Tony Houchin; Swansea) make their individual Euro Cross debuts, with Jess Piasecki (Robert Hawkins; Stockport) returning to the British Euro Cross team for the first time since claiming individual gold and team silver in 2012 as an Under-23.

Four-time Euro Cross gold medallist Jess Judd (Mick Judd; Blackburn) leads the defending senior mixed relay team, hoping to add to her six medals in total from the Championships. Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson; Pudsey & Bramley, below), Phil Sesemann (Andrew Henderson; Leeds City AC) and Jamie Williamson (George Gandy; Springburn), whose father Graham ran 3:50 for the mile and whose mother won World Cross gold, make up the remainder of the team.

The Under-23s selections are headed by 2016 individual and three-time team bronze medallist Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton AC) and team gold medallist from Samorin, Slovakia, last year, Amy Griffiths (Rob Denmark; Aldershot, Farnham & District).

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Patrick Dever (Andy Bibby; Preston) will be aiming for a third straight team medal at the Championships while Lydia Turner earns a first Euro Cross vest since 2014, when she claimed an individual bronze and a team gold medal.

Emile Cairess (Philip Townsend; Leeds City), John Millar (Stephen Hicks; Ipswich) and Poppy Tank (Simon Anderson; City of Plymouth) will represent the British team for the first time in the same classification.

Welsh duo and trial winners Jake Heyward (James Thie; Cardiff) and Cari Hughes (Andy Walling; Swansea) head the Junior teams and are two of seven Welsh athletes selected. The latter claimed Under-20 team gold in Samorin last year alongside Khahisa Mhlanga (Mick Judd; Herts Phoenix), who finished third in Liverpool.

Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods; Bracknell AC), who won team gold in Chia in 2016, earns her place after finishing second at the trials, while Jack Meijer (Barry Hearn; Marshall Milton Keynes), Tiffany Penfold (Liverpool Pembroke Sefton) and Grace Brock (Cornwall AC) handed their first British vests.

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Team leader, Rob Denmark, said: “Following on from such competitive trials at the weekend in Liverpool, we are able to select an incredibly strong team to travel out to Tilburg.

“We have been fortunate enough to enjoy a great deal of success at these championships in recent years and I’m hoping that this year we will continue to challenge for individual and team medals.

The British team selected for the European Cross Country Championships in Tilburg, The Netherlands, on Sunday, 9 December:

Senior Men:

Nick Goolab (Craig Winrow; Belgrave Harriers)

Dewi Griffiths (Kevin Evans; Swansea)

Charlie Hulson (Chris Jones; Liverpool)

Ross Millington (Steve Vernon; Stockport Harriers)

Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher; Richmond & Zetland)

Andy Vernon (self; Aldershot, Farnham & District)

Senior Women:

Charlotte Arter (Chris Jones; Cardiff)

Kate Avery (Terrence Mahon; Shildon)

Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark; Poole AC)

Verity Ockenden (Tony Houchin; Swansea)

Jess Piasecki (Robert Hawkins; Stockport Harriers)

Pippa Woolven (Luke Gunn; Wycombe)

U23 Men

Emile Cairess (Philip Townsend; Leeds City AC)

Patrick Dever (Andy Bibby; Preston)

Oliver Fox (Richard Llewellyn Eaton; Wells City)

Mahamed Mahamed (Peter Haynes; Southampton AC)

John Millar (Stephen Hicks; Ipswich)

Paulos Surafel (self; Thames Valley)


U23 Women

Dani Chattenton (Kyle Bennett; MK Distance Project)

Abbie Donnelly (Rob Lewis; Lincoln Wellington)

Amy Griffiths (Rob Denmark; Aldershot, Farnham & District)

Emily Moyes (Mick Woods; Aldershot, Farnham & District)

Poppy Tank (Simon Anderson; City of Plymouth)

Lydia Turner (Thomas Millmore; Birtley)


Junior Men

Isaac Akers (Bill Boyd/Taylor Gulley; Corby AC)

Jake Heyward (James Thie; Cardiff)

Rory Leonard (Tony Leonard; Morpeth)

Jack Meijer (Barry Hearn; Marshall Milton Keynes)

Tom Mortimer (Christopher Brown; Stroud)

Matt Willis (self; Wrexham AC)

Junior Women

Grace Brock (Cornwall AC)

Cari Hughes (Andy Walling; Swansea)

Anna MacFadyen (John Lees; Forres Harriers)

Khahisa Mhlanga (Mick Judd; Herts Phoenix)

Tiffany Penfold (Mark Bleasdale; Liverpool Pembroke Sefton)

Amelia Quirk (Mick Woods; Bracknell AC)

Mixed Relay

Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson; Pudsey & Bramley)

Jess Judd (Mick Judd; Blackburn)

Phil Sesemann (Andrew Henderson; Leeds City AC)

Jamie Williamson (George Gandy; Springburn)


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First published on: 28 November, 2018 1:02 pm