AW’s resident statistician ranks the best performers across the age groups in recent cross-country season

Traditionally the UK Inter-Counties and English National events help to decide who has had the best cross country season overall. There does, however, appear to be a growing tendency among British athletes to copy the American cross-country template and get their racing all done with by late autumn and early winter.

Where possible, I gave good runs at Loughborough (Inter-Counties) and Parliament Hill (English National) preference when deciding the following pecking orders. 

Though Charles Hicks never raced the six people immediately behind him in the rankings, his European Cross win from December stands out as the British run of the winter.

Senior men

1. Charles Hicks (Shaftesbury Barnet)

Did not race at all in the UK this winter but enjoyed five quality runs in America, culminating in fourth place at the NCAA Championships. However, the highlight was undoubtedly his win in the under-23 men’s race at the European Cross Country Championships in Ireland in December.

Charles Hicks (Mark Shearman)

2 Mahamed Mahamed (Southampton)

Only came 22nd at the European Cross trials in Liverpool but good runs at Diest and Rouen led into a good English National win.

3 Jack Rowe (AFD)

He might only have run two races and ended his cross country season in December, but he managed a Liverpool win and 18th spot at the Euro Cross to lead a disappointing British team.

4 Andrew Butchart (Central)

Followed Rowe in Liverpool and the Europeans (23rd) but did a few Scottish races – including victory at the Scottish National Short Course Championships – before ending his season in December.

5. Jamie Crowe (Central)

Followed Butchart in Liverpool with third, at the Europeans (24th) and two Scottish races but won the Scottish cross country title.

6. Will Battershill (Erme Valley)

Winning the BUCS event and finishing fifth at Liverpool were his highlights. He was also 33rd at the European Cross.  

7. Calum Johnson (Gateshead)

Won the UK Inter-Counties and North East Championships but ran a fairly light season, with eighth place at Liverpool being his only other major outing.

8. Zak Mahamed (Soton)

Ultra consistent with 10 competitions and all went well, apart from a poor 15th at Liverpool. He was first in the Northern Ireland International, second at the UK Inter-Counties, BUCS and Milton Keynes, fourth in the National and ninth in the European under-23s.

9. Hugo Milner (Derby)

Secured wins at Cardiff and Milton Keynes, as well as taking the North of England title, and would have ranked higher had he run the two main championships and performed better in Liverpool.

10. Jack Millar (Bristol)

Better post Christmas with a Midlands bronze, fifth place at the National and seventh at the  UK Inter-Counties.

Other winners: Southern: Andy Coley-Maud, Midlands: Doug Musson, Welsh: James Hunt, Northern Irish: Conan McCaughey.

» Athletes who only took part in a single competition are not ranked, which discounts the other English National medallists Emile Cairess and Alex Yee.

Under-20 men

1. Will Barnicoat (AFD)

The English National champion was also leading Briton at the Euro Cross in ninth, adding to his second place in Liverpool and fourth at the BUCS.

Will Barnicoat (Mark Easton)

2. Liam Rawlings (Shrewsbury)

His Inter-Counties win was backed up by 25th place at the Europeans, as well as coming third at Liverpool and second at Milton Keynes.

3. Matthew Stonier (Invicta)

Third in his only junior event in the National and at the BUCS Championships, as well coming  23rd in the European under-23s. Also produced some good senior races, including Liverpool.

4. Hamish Armitt (Giffnock North)

Tenth at the Europeans, fourth in Liverpool and winner in Milton Keynes but hasn’t raced in 2022.

5. Henry McLuckie
(Shaftesbury Barnet)

First in Liverpool and 15th at the Europeans, but was let down by a 19th-placed finish at the Inter-Counties.

Major event winners: Scottish: Kristof Hornyik, Welsh: Dafydd Jones, Southern: Harry Brodie, Northern: Joshua Dickinson, Midlands: Ethan O’Shea

Under-17 men

1. Sam Mills (Exeter)

English National champion, Northern Ireland International winner and the first under-17 home during the Liverpool under-20 race.

Sam Mills (Mark Shearman)

2. Fraser Gilmour (VP Glasgow)

Inter-Counties winner, but only fourth at the Scottish Championships and sixth at Liverpool.

3. Ben Brown (Southampton)

Second at the Inter-Counties and Liverpool but only seventh at the National.

4. Jacob Deacon (Chorley)

Consistent Northern champion was third at the National, Inter-Counties and Liverpool.

5. Edward Bird (Poole)

Liverpool and South of England winner was fourth at the National and sixth at the Inter-Counties.

Under-15 boys

1. Robert Price (Vale Royal)

Won the English National, Inter-Counties, Northern, Liverpool, Cardiff and Milton Keynes races, as well as coming third (first under-15) at the English Schools before going on to win the Schools International.

Robert Price (Mark Shearman)

2. Craig Shennan (Giffnock North)

Scottish champion was runner-up in the Inter Counties, Liverpool and Milton Keynes.

3. Alex Schofield (Sale)

Northern runner-up was fourth at the National and third at Liverpool.

4. Alex Lennon (Sutton)

Fourth in the Inter-Counties, fifth in the National and second in the English Schools juniors before winning the Schools International junior title.

5. Iwan Thomas (Carmarthen)

Welsh champion was fifth at Loughborough and Liverpool.

Under-13 boys

1. Jake Meyburgh (WSE)

Unbeaten in his age group, he won the English National, Inter-Counties, Southern and English Schools titles.

Jake Meyburgh (Mark Shearman)

2. Thomas Thake (Hallamshire)

National and Inter-Counties runner-up.

3. William Birchall (Yeovil)

Won at Cardiff and Milton Keynes as well as third at the Inter-Counties.

4. Fred Jones (W&B)

Midlands champion was third in the National and fourth at the Inter-Counties.

5. Evan Grime (Salford)

Northern champion was second at Liverpool and top six in the National, Inter-Counties and English Schools.

Senior women 

A number of athletes on the women’s side had reduced seasons but Jessica Judd’s two races are still sufficient to give her a clear top ranking.

1. Jessica Judd (Blackburn)

Her season consisted only of first place at Liverpool and fourth at the Europeans. Did not taste defeat to another British athlete.

Jess Judd (Mark Shearman)

2. Jennifer Nesbitt (Cardiff)

Second at Liverpool, Cardiff, Milton Keynes and 10th at the Europeans, but also did not race on the country after the turn of the year.

3. Mhairi Maclennan (Preston)

Suffered poor form pre-Christmas at Milton Keynes and Liverpool (17th) but won the Scottish National and UK Inter-Counties titles.

4. Jess Gibbon (Reading)

Enjoyed three bigs wins – the English National, Southerns and Milton Keynes – as well as finishing runner-up at the Inter-Counties, performing well in Liverpool and coming 11th at the European Championships in Dublin.

Jess Gibbon (Mark Shearman)

5. Abbie Donnelly (Lincoln W)

Third at Liverpool and 12th at the Europeans, but second place in the BUCS Championships was her 2022 highlight.

6. Izzy Fry (Newbury)

The highlight of her season was a World University Games win as she came seventh at Liverpool and ninth in the European under-23s race.

7. Amelia Quirk (Bracknell)

Fourth at Liverpool and 12th in the European under-23s but dropped out of BUCS after straying off course.

8. Eleanor Bolton (Ribble Valley)

The Northern champion was the National
runner-up, came first at Diest and was eighth at Liverpool before a below-par 26th in the European under-23s race.

9. Kate Avery (Shildon)

Not at her very best but an Inter-Counties bronze and sixth place in Liverpool ensures another top ranking.

10. Georgia Taylor-Brown (Sale)

The double Olympic triathlon medallist was fourth in the English National and third in the Northerns.

Other winners: Cardiff: Charlotte Arter, Midlands: Katie Holt, BUCS: Kirsty Walker, Wales: Lauren Cooper, Northern Ireland: Catherine Whoriskey

Also worthy of note are Saskia Millard’s World University silver and Hannah Irwin being first Briton at the Northern Ireland International, finishing in second place. Bronwen Owen had nothing to back up her English National bronze.

Under-20 women 

1. Megan Keith (Inverness)

A brilliant season included European and Scottish golds plus wins at Liverpool, Cardiff and Milton Keynes, as well as good BUCS and World University Games runs.

Megan Keith (Mark Shearman)

2. Ellen Weir (Hercules Wimbledon)

Consistent, with 14th at the Europeans, second in the English National and Inter-Counties.

3. Alexandra Millard (Invicta)

National winner in her only junior race but also fourth at the BUCS Championships.

4. Alice Garner (AFD)

Not at her best at the Europeans but finished top four at the National, Liverpool and Milton Keynes.

5. Louise Hackett (W&B)

English Schools winner and Inter-Counties bronze also won a Midlands silver.

Under-17 women

1. Hannah Ryding (Giffnock North) 

Won the Inter-Counties and Northern Ireland International under-20 race.

Hannah Ryding (Mark Shearman)

2. Jess Bailey (Leven Valley)

The English National, English Schools and Northern champion was also second at the Inter-Counties, Schools International and Liverpool under-20 race, as well as being first under-17 at Milton Keynes.

3. Louisa Brown (Garscube)

The Scottish champion was runner-up at Cardiff (first under-17) and in the Northern Ireland International under-20 race. She was also a solid fourth at the Inter-Counties.

4. Innes Fitzgerald (Devon Schools)

Defeated Bailey to win the Schools International after pushing her all the way in the English Schools.

5. Evie Thomson (Reading)

The Inter-Counties bronze medallist was also top 10 at the National, English Schools and Schools International.

Under-15 girls

1. Isabella Waugh (Rotherham)

English National winner was also third in the
Inter-Counties and English Schools juniors and second in the Schools International.

Isabella Waugh (Gary Mitchell)

2. Lilia Harris (Rotherham)

Inter-Counties runner-up and English National bronze medallist was also second in the Northerns.

3. Shaikira King (Wreake & SV)

English Schools and SIAB Schools International champion also won at Liverpool and was fourth in the National and Inter-Counties.

4. Lottie Langan (York)

Northern champion and National runner-up was second under-15 in English Schools intermediate age group but 21st at the Inter-Counties.

5. Zoe Gilbody (Wreake & SV)

The Midlands champion, Cardiff winner and Liverpool runner-up was also first under-15 at the English Schools inters and at the Schools International, where she was third overall. Was fifth in the National and 114th in the Inter-Counties.

Under-13 girls

1. Katherine Haslip (Brighton P)

Southern athletes dominate, with the top two only third and fourth in their area, but an Inter-Counties win and English National runner-up spot puts her top.

Katherine Haslip (Mark Shearman)

2. Katie Webb (Marshall Milton Keynes)

The National winner was the Inter-Counties runner-up and 10th at the English Schools, finishing first U13, but was only fourth in the Southern.

3. Maya Jobbings (AFD)

The Inter-Counties bronze medallist was also second U13 at the English Schools junior girls race.

4. Kitty Scott (AFD)

The National bronze medallist was also fourth in the Inter-Counties and fifth in the South.

5. Holly Cross (Liverpool)

The English National fourth-placer was also seventh at the Inter-Counties. 

» This article first appeared in the April issue of AW magazine, which you can buy here