A team of runners from North Yorkshire is heading cross country to represent the region in the national finals of a schools’ competition for the first time.

Girls from Ripon Grammar School have reached the finals of the Cross Country Cup at both junior and intermediate age groups.

They will race at Formby, in Merseyside, on December 3 having qualified with top three placings in the North East regional finals held in Middlesbrough.

They qualified for that competition by securing top four places in the earlier North Yorkshire county round, which Ripon Grammar School hosted. The school’s intermediate boys also qualified for the regional finals.

PE teacher and coach Adam Milner said: “We have reached the regional finals for the last couple of years but this is the first time we have had junior and intermediate girls’ teams competing for the national cup. It means we’re among the top 18 teams in the country out of 500.

“The intermediate girls were only one position off winning the regionals which bodes well for the final but the girls know they’ll have to work hard.

“They have developed some healthy competition among themselves and want to beat other which has helped to push them on. However, they also work well as a team and support one another to do their best.”

Many of the girls are in Ripon Runners, encouraged by school teaching assistant and club member Suzanne Rickard.

Mr Milner added: “We have a running club within school, which is open to all abilities, but a lot of our girls do their training with Ripon Runners. We have to thank them for doing a lot of good work on our behalf.”

Many of the girls excel in other sports with several competing at county and even national level, including county netballer Isabella Binks, county hockey players Helena DaCosta, Poppy Lawson and Marnie Scatchard and national level trampoliner Imogen Vollans.

Anika Schwarze-Chintapatla recently came third in the British Orienteering Championships for Year 10 girls, an achievement surpassed by her own sister Tara, who won the Year 12 national title.

Tara has now been selected to represent England at the World Schools Orienteering Championships, at Palermo, in Italy, next April

The cross country team is sponsored by the Old Riponians, Ripon Grammar School’s alumni association.