CROSS COUNTRY: Champions for fifth time in record points total

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Rugby & Northampton AC

Rugby & Northampton Athletic Club secured their fifth consecutive West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League title in style, setting a record points total when the competition reached its conclusion in Birmingham last weekend.

R&N had all but sealed the title prior to Sunday’s last leg, but that didn’t stop them leading the way once more as they stormed to four team victories at Perry Park.

Adam Searle was the first athlete home, completing the course in 10 minutes and 59 seconds, with R&N dominating the under-15 event. Joshua Lay was next over the line eight seconds later, while Joe Musgrove was fourth in 11.20 and Joshua Thorman squeezed into 10th with a time of 12.01 to help the team cruise to victory.

Adam Caulfield (9.01, 2nd) led the way for R&N in the under 13 category but was pipped to first place by four seconds, while Mac Ryder impressed in his first run of the season by finishing sixth in 9.23, as the team edged out Birchfield Harriers by eight points.

The under 13 girls were equally impressive on their way to team honours, with three top-10 finishes securing victory. Molly Williams grabbed the win after a run of 10.07, with third-placed Georgina Woodward (10.21) and Abi Pearce (10.41), in ninth, securing victory.

R&N boasted four of the top-six athletes on their way to success in the under 17 women’s race. Ella Bromley finished second in 16.43, and was joined in the podium places by Rebecca Leadbeater (16.47). Emma Bond (16.56) and Kirsty Goddard (17.06) were fifth and sixth in the race, which was enough to give R&N first place over Birchfield.

Both under 11 teams finished second, with eighth and ninth-placed Claudia Searle (6.48) and Grace Hughes (6.51) shining for the girls. Noah Bennett was the pick of the bunch for the boys, taking 10th with a run of 6.25.

The under 15 girls were also runners-up, falling just four points short of Halesowen A&CC. Hollie Moore crossed the line in seventh, completing the course in 12.54, while club-mate Poppy Carmichael (13.05) took 10th. In the under 17 men’s event, Ben Musgrove (16.59) finished fourth with the team finishing third overall.

This season’s league saw over 200 athletes represent R&N, all playing their part in the record team points tally of 33,683 points, almost 3,000 clear of second-placed Wolverhampton & Bilston.

R&N grabbed gold in four of the team categories overall, triumphing in the boys’ under 11 and under 15 categories, the under 13 girls’ and also the under 17 women’s event. The under 11 and under 15 girls took team silver for the series, as did the under 13 boys.

There were plenty of individual honours too, with Adam Caulfield and Adam Searle receiving gold medals in their respective events. Molly Williams took silver, which was an achievement matched by Josh Lay and Ella Bromley. Kirsty Goddard joined Bromley on the podium with bronze to round off a phenomenal series performance for the club.