HOME advantage counted for everything as Rugby & Northampton Athletics Club (R&N) kicked off the defence of their West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League title witha dominant display.
Rugby hosted Round One of this year’s competition last weekend where over 700 runners competed across eight races on a glorious day at Abington Park and the hosts proved to be the dominant force.
The under-15 boys led the charge by taking the top four places in their race.
Adam Caulfield was first over the line in 11 minutes and 26 seconds and he was closely followed by Adam Searle (11.30), Joe Musgrove (11.48) and Rhys James (11.56). Muss-Ab Hassan completed the scoring for the teamby finishing tenth in 12.14.
The under-11 boys, which consisted of Louis Buttrick, Henry Woodward, Lewis Gurney, Oliver Birch and Finlay Heard, also triumphed with the five finishers placing in the top 11.
R&N continued to impress with the under-13 boys and under-17 men earning second-place finishes, which were matched by the girls, who finished as runners-up in the under-11, under-13 and under-15 races.
Noah Bennett (7th-9.50) and Isaac Thorman (9th-9.58) secured top-ten finishes in the U13 race, while Joshua Lay was the star of the show for the under-17s, with a top-three placing after a strong run of 17.26.
For the girls, Olivia Williams (4th–7.23) was the top performer for the under-11s, with Xcena Pasqualin, Anna Farrow and Elspeth Unitt all close behind.
Molly Williams was runner-up in the U13 race in 10.09, and she was joined in the top ten by Claudia Searle (8th-10.36), and there were two more top-ten finishers in the U15 contest in the shape of Amy Walker who crossed the line second in 13.07 and Poppy Carmichael took ninth in a time of 13.54.
The under-17 women rounded off the event with fourth place overall, but Emer Wintsch impressed by finishing third in a time of 16.53.
Elsewhere, the Midland Cross Country Relays took place at the weekend, and both the club’s men and women impressed among a strong field in Uttoxeter.
Emma Bond (20.26) was seventh-quickest in Stage 1 to set the women on their way. Katie Clubb then ran Stage 2 in 20.32 before Rebecca Ledbetter secured a top-ten finish for the team after a Stage 3 time of 22:22.
The men finished 11th out of 29 competing teams and the event was capped off by the Men’s Masters team who secured a fifth place finish.