A TYPICALLY strong display by Rugby & Northampton’s young guns saw them retain the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League title in style.
R&N produced a series of impressive performances in Birmingham to seal a seventh consecutive cross country title and further extend a remarkable unbeaten run in the competition.
The club were missing some of their top athletes due to a clash with the London mini-Marathon trials, but emphasised their strength in depth with another winning performance around the Perry Park course.
All the athletes stepped up to ensure a narrow 61-point victory over nearest rivals Wolverhampton & Bilston, maintaining a triumphant run that now stretches back over four years.
There were four team victories on the day with both under-11 groups taking the honours, in addition to wins for the Under-13 girls and Under-15 boys.
Elspeth Unitt recorded a best-ever finish after crossing the line second in six minutes and 43 seconds, and she was joined by Olivia Williams (6.52), Anna Farrow (7.00), Alice Bennett (7.06) and Ruby White (7.27) for the successful Under-11s.
Louis Buttrick (6.02) and Henry Woodward (6.09) earned third and fifth in the Under-11B success, and were followed home by Lewis Gurney (6.30), Arthur Tilt (6.34) and Finlay Heard (6.37).
There was another personal best for Holly Walker in the Under-13 girls triumph after she finished third in 10.18 and she was well supported by Neve Satchwell (10.26), Claudia Searle (10.39), Amelia McMurtrie (10.43) and Elysia Lay (10.57).
For the Under-15 boys, Adam Caulfield (11.09), Joe Musgrove (11.22) and Matthew Chronicle (11.37) all starred, and they were ably backed up by Jack Carey and Ben Cooper, both of whom registered times of 12.17 to finish 20th and 21st respectively.
Elsewhere, Noah Bennett dashed around the course in 9.35 to finish a fantastic third for the Under-13 boys as the team grabbed second place on the day, while the Under-15 girls team finished third.
In the series overall, the boys and girls in both the Under-11 and Under-15 age groups finished in first place, with Under-15 athletes Adam Searle and Amy Walker coming out on top to take individual honours over the five races.
Adam Caulfield (third) and Joe Musgrove (fourth) shone alongside Searle as R&N dominated the Under-15 male category.
Plenty more of the club’s youngsters secured top ten placings too, with Louis Buttrick (third), Henry Woodward (fifth) and Lewis Gurney (10th) starring for the Under-11 boys, and Olivia Williams (fourth) and Anna Farrow (tenth) for the Under-11 girls.
Noah Bennett finished seventh overall in the Under-13 as the team took second, while Neve Satchwell (fourth) and Holly Walker (seventh) were strong throughout for the Under-13 girls, who also finished as runners-up.
Josh Lay was second in the series for the Under-17 males, who finished third overall, while the Under-17 women were sixth in the standings with Emer Wintsch (fourth) impressing throughout.