ATHLETICS: Rugby & Northampton AC

Four individual golds, three team victories and a further four runner-up places handed Rugby and Northampton the perfect start in their bid to take a fifth successive club victory in the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League.

The under-11 boys set the tone in the first race of the day at Warwickshire, as the five quickest members combined for a total score of 940, edging out their nearest rivals Stratford upon Avon AC by 14 points. Jack Upton, Michael Corbett, and Noah Bennett led the R&N charge, as all three clocked a time of six minutes and 55 seconds, 17 seconds behind the overall winner. Impressive runs from Jake Hope (7.05) and Peter Van Uem (7.09) made sure of the team victory.

The biggest win of the day came in the under-15 boys event, as five of the R&N team finished in the top 10. Adam Searle set the pace, grabbing gold in 11.14, 21 seconds ahead of club-mate Joshua Lay, who took the silver medal. Joe Musgrove finished fifth in 11.59, with Tom Hughes (12.08) and Rhys James (12.13) ninth and tenth respectively. Those times gave the boys a massive 98-point victory over second-placed Solihull & Small Heath.

The third team victory went to the under-17 men, where the points from the top three members count towards the total score. Jack Bond’s winning time of 16.50 put R&N in a great position, and he was ably backed up by Ben Musgrove (17.43) and Simon Waterhouse (18.43). Just five points separated the top three, but it was R&N who prevailed, with a three-point victory over RSCAC, and Wolverhampton & Bilston just two points further back.

The under-17 women grabbed themselves second place, as they finished just 14 points behind Birchfield Harriers. Kirsty Goddard took the silver medal, finishing 10 seconds behind the leader with a time of 15.15. Lily Carmichael finished seventh in 16.03, and Ciara Moore recorded a time of 17.12 to ensure the runners-up spot for R&N.

The under-11s and under-15s followed that trend, as both events saw the girls finish as overall runners-up. In the under-11s, there were fine runs from Claudia Searle (7.08), Zoe Gardner (7.12), and Grace Hughes (7.14) who finished eighth, ninth and 10th respectively. Meghan Lawes and Maisie Cramp both recorded times of 7.56 to make up an overall total of 909 points, enough for second place.

The under-15 girls were a whisker away from winning their event, finishing seven points behind Halesowen A&CC. Poppy Carmichael finished fifth in 12.56, with Hollie Moore two places further back in 13.01. Charis Hayes (13.12), Emer Wintsch (13.41) and a 14.09 from Olivia Sheehan gave the team a total of 929 points.

Adam Caulfield took gold in the under-13 boys event, leading the field with a run of 7.14. Grouped behind him, and contributing to the overall points tally were Ben Hope, Zac Thorman, Edward Faulds and Cian Hutton who all recorded times of 7.50. This gave the team a total of 924 points, which wasn’t enough to overhaul Birchfield Harriers as they took victory by 26 points.

The under-13 girls event was a tight affair, as just 12 points separated first-placed Stratford upon Avon AC and fourth-placed R&N. There was more individual glory though as Molly Williams took the gold in her first under-13 race. She finished out in front by two seconds, clocking a time of 8.13. Sophia Ivanova (9.02), Abigail Pearce (9.06), Gabriella Peck (9.08) and Zoe Morling (9.20) were R&N’s next finishers, contributing to an overall score of 875 points.

The next leg of the league will be held in Aldersley, Wolverhampton on November 16th, as R&N look to extend their lead in the competition.