Tamworth Zone Cross Country runners qualify for state championships

Members of the Tamworth Zone Cross Country team with Mike Cashman.
Members of the Tamworth Zone Cross Country team with Mike Cashman.

The Tamworth Primary Zone Cross Country squad returned from the Regional Championships at Coolah on Friday with some pleasing results.

Competing against 10 other North West zones, Tamworth gained 13 places in the regional representative team of 48 to travel to Sydney's Eastern Creek for the State Championships on July 21.

Timbumburi's Evan Morrison and Tamworth's Liam Griffiths got the ball rolling to qualify, coming fourth and fifth respectively in the 8/9 years boys.

Nemingha's Mia Gentle was next and showed her huge potential with a brilliant win in the 8/9 years girls race in a time of 8:18 which would have also qualified her in the higher end of the 10 years girls age group.

Mia's Nemingha schoolmate Robert Murphy then qualified with a courageous second place in the 10 years boys just four seconds behind the winner.

Another second place was gained by Nundle's Saskia Fitzgerald in the 10 years girls as she showed determination to go down by two metres in the closest finish of the day.

The 11 years boys encounter saw Westdale's Coben Battle finish second behind great rival, Quirindi's Logan Quigley, with Tamworth's Simon Mattheus (fifth) the team's big improver closely followed by Kootingal's Connor Guest (sixth) who also qualified for Eastern Creek.

Kootingal's Megan Johnson showed her consistency to claim 4th place in the 11 years girls, the event won by Armidale's outstanding distance runner Chiyo Brown.

Arguably the most impressive performance of the day came from Tamworth's Adam Williams in winning the 12/13 years boys in a time of 10:35 which should see him very hard to beat for the state title.

Tamworth Zone's best team performance came in the final event of the day, the 12/13 years girls, with three qualifying for state – Tamworth's Morgan English (first), Nundle's Wunda Jaffer-Williams (third) and Tamworth West's Courtney Mulligan (fourth) – and Nemingha's Monique Corbett (seventh) just missing out as first reserve. Their combined places gave Tamworth Zone their only success in the team-event section, finishing close seconds in three others.