Wales has had it’s most successful day at the British Athletics Liverpool Cross Challenge for some years.
The event at Sefton Park is the third fixture in the 2017/2018 British Athletics Cross Challenge Series and hosts the trial race for the European Cross Country Championships.
Four Welsh athletes finished inside the automatic qualification places, to gain selection for the event in Samorin, Slovakia on the 10th of December.
Cari Hughes (Swansea Harriers) was the first Welsh athlete to book her spot with a third place finish in the Junior women’s race.
Cari Hughes (692) pictured at the Cardiff Cross Challenge
Hughes made her Great Britain & Northern Ireland Debut in Edinburgh at the start of the year. The Swansea Harrier then competed at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala.
The Junior men’s race had seen Cardiff AAC’s Jake Heyward start as one of the pre-race favourites. He did indeed finish in the required top five places, but with North Walian Matthew Willis (Wrexham AAC) ahead of him in third.
Matt Willis (354) after taking the 2017 Welsh title
Willis is a former winner in Liverpool and the Welsh Cross Country Champion. He is also a former English Schools Champion and SIAB Champion. He will now make his Great Britain & Northern Ireland Team debut at the event on December 10th.
Heyward is the European Junior Champion at 1500m and had began his Cross Country campaign this season with a win at the Cardiff Cross Challenge on the 14th October. He will now join Willis on the plane to Samorin.
Jake taking victory in Cardiff
The senior women’s race featured Welsh duo Mel Courtney (Shaftesbury Barnet) and Caryl Jones (Swansea Harriers). The pair finished in 15th and 22nd positions respectively.
Dewi Griffiths (Swansea Harriers) has identified himself as Wales’ outstanding Endurance athlete of the last decade.
Griffiths finished in fouth place in a race won by Ben Connor (Derby AC), just four weeks after becoming the second fastest Welsh marathoner of all time with a 2.09.49 clocking in Frankfurt.
He will now look to improve on his previous best placing of 16th at the European Cross Country Championships.
Dewi pictured at the European Cross Country Championships
There was further Welsh success in the age-group races with three athletes achieving top 10 placings.
Samia Jones (Menai Track & Field) was ninth in the u15 girls race. Frank Mrgan (Carmarthen Harriers) was third in the u13 boys race and Beca Brown (Menai Track & Field) was fifth in the u11 girls race.