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Emelia Gorecka
02 December 2014 

A 36-strong GB & NI team has been announced for the European Cross Country Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria on Sunday 14 December.

Following her impressive victory at the Liverpool Cross Challenge on Saturday, Gemma Steel (coach: John Nuttall) will lead the senior women’s team with the aim of upgrading the silver and bronze medals she has won on the previous two editions of the event. Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods), who has won the junior European Cross title two out of the last three years, finished second behind Steel in Liverpool and will be looking to continue her strong form as she steps up to the U23’s in Samokov.

Kate Avery (Tony Simmons) who became the first British woman to win the NCAA’s last month will join the senior team for the first time after a fourth place finish last year in the U23’s. Meanwhile, cross country stalwart Stephanie Twell (Woods) will make her sixth appearance for GB & NI at the European Cross Country Championships. 

Scottish duo Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins) and Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton), who occupied the top two spots at Sefton Park in a closely fought battle will head to Bulgaria in the U23 and senior men’s teams respectively. Just five seconds separated the top three in Liverpool, but it was Kilbarchan’s Hawkins who came out on top two seconds ahead of his countryman and a further three seconds ahead of Stockport Harriers’ Ross Millington (Steve Vernon), who will join up with the senior team in Bulgaria.

Jessica Judd (George Gandy), who was an 800m European and Commonwealth track finalist this year, will look to continue her impressive return to the cross country scene in Bulgaria following an eleven second victory in the U20 race at the Liverpool Cross Challenge on Saturday.

Croydon Harriers’ Peter Chambers (Mike Fleet) will make his GB & NI debut in two weeks’ time, which will come after being the first eligible athlete to cross the line in Merseyside on the weekend. Vale Royal AC teammates Michael Vennard (Andrew Carter) and Elliot Bowker (Carter) will also make their first appearances in their country’s colours.

The GB & NI team will be looking to replicate their performance in Belgrade twelve months ago, which saw them top the medal table with nine medals including five gold.  

Martin Rush, the team leader for the GB & NI team in Samokov said: “There were a number of promising performances in last weekend’s Liverpool Cross Challenge and I’m sure with the right preparation over the course of the next two weeks, we’ll see a strong showing in Samokov.

“Belgrade was a very successful championships for the team last year and we will be looking to continue GB & NI’s recent success at the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria.” 


GB & NI team for the European Cross Country Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria on Sunday 14 December:


Senior Men

Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton)

Luke Caldwell (Nic Bideau)

Adam Hickey (Eamonn Martin)

Tom Lancashire (Steve Vernon)

Ross Millington (Steve Vernon)

Tom Wade (Geoff Watkin)


Senior Women

Kate Avery (Tony Simmons)

Lily Partridge (Mick Woods)

Sonia Samuels (Self-coached)

Gemma Steel (John Nuttall)

Stephanie Twell (Mick Woods)

Elle Vernon (Steve Vernon)


U23 Men

Jonathan Davies (Rob McKim)

William Gray (Bud Baldaro)

Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins)

Jonathan Hay (Mick Woods)

Charlie Hulson (Paul Roden)

Marc Scott (Steve Gulley)


U23 Women

Rhona Auckland (Joyce Hogg)

Emelia Gorecka (Mick Woods)

Maryse Haynes (Bud Baldaro)

Kate Holt (Alan Morris)

Rebecca Murray (Alex Stanton)

Alice Wright (David Walker)


U20 Men

Elliot Bowker (Andrew Carter)

Peter Chambers (Mike Fleet)

Jonathan Glen (Mark Pollard)

Jac Hopkins (Kevin Tobin)

Michael Vennard (Andrew Carter)

Kieran Wood (Mark Vile)


U20 Women

Amy Griffiths (Mick Woods)

Jessica Judd (George Gandy)

Phoebe Law (Richard Holt)

Georgina Outten (Bud Baldaro)

Becky Straw (Bud Baldaro)

Lydia Turner (Thomas Millmore)