DCHS pupils run into medals and make the qualifying time for Northumberland Schools

Temple Park was again the venue for the Northumberland Schools’ cross country running championships last week.
Liam McDonogh and Emilia Waugh with their medals. Picture: Joe WaughLiam McDonogh and Emilia Waugh with their medals. Picture: Joe Waugh
Liam McDonogh and Emilia Waugh with their medals. Picture: Joe Waugh

The event – which offers prestigious championship medals and the chance to be selected for the Northumberland Schools team for the English Schools Championships – was run in sub-zero temperatures, on hard, frozen ground, with snow falling.

Twenty-one Duchess’s Community High School students took to the start, under the guidance of PE teacher Nathan Hart.

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All the athletes were to be commended for their battling performances in character-building conditions. A number of the runners were making their debuts.

In total, 11 DCHS athletes achieved qualification for the North East Schools’ Inter Counties where Northumberland’s best take on Cleveland, Durham, Cumbria and North Yorkshire in Middlesbrough next month.

The two stand-out performances were again Liam McDonogh and Emilia Waugh.

Liam took home the silver medal in the Intermediate boys (for pupils in Year 10/11) after a hard-fought battle with his North Tyneside rival.

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Emilia Waugh took on a stella field including current National champions and the UK’s fastest female under-13 1,500m runner, Royal Grammar School Newcastle’s Olivia Murphy in the junior girls (for pupils in Year 8/9).

Going all-in for the win, Emilia was shoulder-to-shoulder with Olivia at the halfway point, with both runners clear of the field.

Year 8 student Emilia faded slightly in the second half and was caught just before the line, taking third and the bronze medal.

After the race, Emilia, 12, explained: “I wanted to test myself.

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“Our plan was to see how long I could hang on to Olivia. I was pleased to still be with her at halfway.”

She added: “I’ll now go away and train hard to try my best to catch her. She’s a great runner.”

Next up for Emilia is the Northern Cross Country Championships in Sedgefield on Saturday where she will represent Alnwick Harriers.

Liam and Emilia also shone at the North East of England regional cross country championships last month. Running for Alnwick Harriers, Liam came third, just 20 seconds behind the winner.

Emilia also won a bronze medal, once again failing to catch Olivia Murphy.