CROSS COUNTRY: Team of 130 young athletes compete in opening league races
Club have won overall title in eight of last nine seasons
Runners from Rugby and Northampton Athletic Club competed as one of 21 teams that took part in the first round of the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country Championship League (WMYACCL) at Hatton Country World on Sunday.
Having won the overall title in eight of the last nine seasons the local athletes had to settle for runners-up spot at the first stage of this year’s competition, pipped by Wolverhampton & Bilston, who beat R&N to the title in 2016/17, on a very wet day in Warwick.
Rugby and Northampton Athletic Club took a team of more than 130 athletes and won one of the eight team races (U15 Boys) and had two individual winners, Ella Darby (U11 Girls) and Adam Caulfield (U17 Men).
In the U11, U13 and U15 races there were five scorers for the club and the U17 races produced three scorers.
There were approximately 725 finishers in all the races and almost one in every five to cross the line were representing R&N in what was a successful first meeting. In the U11 Boys, Ollie Walls (4th), Nathan Lamb (6th), Zac Pasqualin (13th), Jake Clarke (21st) and Hector Goatley (36th) teamed up to finish second collectively.
The U11 Girls were also placed second thanks to Ella Darby carrying her great form from the track season into cross country and finishing first overall.
She was followed by Isabelle Smith (6th), Isabelle Knight (22nd), Jemima Cooper (23rd) and Isobel Scott (26th).
Teams competing in the U13 age group also finished second – thanks to Arthur Tilt (2nd), Ollie Buchan (4th), Oliver Bell (22nd), Joseph Jones (29th), Cian Shea (33rd) in the U13 Boys and in the U13 Girls, Alice Bennett (4th), Maddie Jacks (5th), Olivia Willison (18th), Lara Turner (20th) and Jessica Kempton (21st).
Lewis Panter (6th) set the pace for the U15 Boys team and closely following him over the line were Finbar Myers (9th), Jude Kelly (12th), Noah Bennett (13th) and Finlay Ward (23rd) to record a tremendous team win in a very competitive race.
The U15 Girls claimed third place through the performances of Alice Bates (2nd), Claudia Searle (11th), Elspeth Unitt (20th), Abigail Thayanithy (41st) and Sophia Hill (44th).
In a squad hit by the withdrawal of a number of runners, a weakened U17 Mens team responded well to claim third spot.
Adam Caulfield marked his return to form with first place; Cian Hutton was 17th and Jamie Cooper finished one place behind him.
The U17 Women came fourth through Amelia McMurtrie (8th), Lucy Stevens (14th) and Isabelle Ripon (18th).
The next round takes place on November 18 at Warley Woods, Smethwick.