Sunderland Harriers’ return to the Cutlers Relay and Northern Athletics Cross Country Relay Championships after an absence of five years, proved the right decision on Saturday.
The Wearsiders’ senior men finished in the top 10 in eighth (45.50) and their B team claimed a top 20 spot in 18th (49.10).
Team manager Jimmy Johnson said: “It was a good result for us. We were the second North East team to finish, so we have to be happy with that. All the team ran well and surprised many.”
It was 1500m specialist Michael Wilson who led off for Sunderland over an undulating course at Graves Park of just over two miles, finishing ninth with the club’s fastest time of the day (10.59).
Andy Powell on the next leg recorded 11.25 in dropping to 10th before Nathan Reed and Steve Rankin both clocked 11.43 to seal ninth position.
The Sunderland B team was Michael Edwards 27th (12.12), 21st Craig Gunn (11.44), Chris Bell 21st (12.58) and Steve McMahon 18th (12.16).
Birtley finished 10th (46.06) with Thomas Goulding 11th (11.04), Zak Scott 15th (12.08), Lewis McConnell 14th (11.45) and Adrian Bailes 10th (11.09).
Houghton Harriers took 24th position through Luke Pickering (11.13), Rory Graham (12.35), Adam Middleton (12.45) and Dave Gibson (14.47).
The winners were Lincoln Wellington (42.54) from Hallamshire (43.21) and surprise package Middlesbrough took third (43.52).
Middlesbrough Under-20 athlete Josh Cowperthwaite was the fastest runner of the day with his 10.23 circuit....