Trials winners and NCAA champ form part of 36-strong GB & NI team for the European Cross Country Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria

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

Following their performances at Saturday’s Liverpool Cross Challenge – the trials for the event – Scottish athletes Callum Hawkins and Andrew Butchart (pictured above) have been confirmed as part of the under-23 and senior men’s teams respectively, while Gemma Steel will lead the senior women’s team.

Charnwood athlete Steel will be hoping to complete a full set of Euro Cross medals and add a gold in Bulgaria to the silver and bronze medals she has claimed at past editions of the event. Joining her on the senior women’s team is the likes of Kate Avery who enjoyed the greatest win of her career last month at the NCAA Championships, becoming the first British woman to win the event. The Commonwealth Games 10,000m fourth-placer finished eight seconds clear to take the American collegiate division one title and help secure herself a discretionary place on the GB Euro Cross team. Avery competes in the senior team here for the first time after a fourth place in the under-23 event last year.

Ross Millington, who placed third behind Hawkins and Butchart in Liverpool, joins the latter on the senior men’s team, as do Luke Caldwell, Adam Hickey, Tom Lancashire and Tom Wade. Last year’s Euro Cross bronze medallist Andy Vernon, who also won two European medals on the track this summer, is missing having not yet fully recovered from injury.

Two-time Euro Cross champion at junior level Emelia Gorecka moves up to the under-23 team this time around after finishing as runner-up to Steel in Liverpool, while Alice Wright, who was the second British athlete at the NCAA Championships finishing 20th, joins her on that team.

Jess Judd enjoyed an eleven second victory in the under-20 race on Saturday and leads the junior women’s team, while Peter Chambers’ runner-up spot behind non-eligible Eritrean athlete Abel Tsegay in Liverpool secured his spot to make his GB debut on the junior men’s team.

Last year in Belgrade the GB & NI team topped the medal table with a haul including five golds.

“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,” said GB team leader Martin Rush.

“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

Senior men
Andrew Butchart
Luke Caldwell
Adam Hickey
Tom Lancashire
Ross Millington
Tom Wade

Senior women
Kate Avery
Lily Partridge
Sonia Samuels
Gemma Steel
Stephanie Twell
Elle Vernon

Under-23 men
Jonathan Davies
William Gray
Callum Hawkins
Jonathan Hay
Charlie Hulson
Marc Scott

Under-23 women
Rhona Auckland
Emelia Gorecka
Maryse Haynes
Kate Holt
Rebecca Murray
Alice Wright

Under-20 men
Elliot Bowker
Peter Chambers
Jonathan Glen
Jac Hopkins
Michael Vennard
Kieran Wood

Under-20 women
Amy Griffiths
Jessica Judd
Phoebe Law
Georgina Outten
Becky Straw
Lydia Turner