The Alexander Stadium, to many the home of athletics, provided a fitting backdrop to the latest fixture in the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League. The Perry Park meeting, which last year fell victim to heavy snow, provided good race conditions; albeit a little muddy underfoot for the Tamworth AC athletes following earlier rain.
With sister Sophie absent from the team this month, Charlotte Perry was left to battle out the Under-17 Women’s race on her own. Charlotte’s upward trend of results this season continued with a league season best placing of 21st and a time of 18:59 over the 4km course.
The Under-11 Boys once again showed up in force for Tamworth with a team clearly growing in confidence each race. Jesse Bradley built on his performance at Warley Woods last month, finishing the 1.6km race in an incredible 4th place and with a time of 6:14. Thomas Beales was next in 23rd place with a time of 6:44, followed closely by Adam Stokes in 31st with 6:50, and Dominic Harper in 41st with 6:58. Braeden Welsh-O’Neill was the all-important fifth finisher for Tamworth in 63rd with 7:13. Jack Dolan not only finished one second and one place ahead of his brother Oliver, but also bravely ran much of the race with just one shoe, having lost the other in the mud out on the course. Jack and Oliver took 68th and 69th places with times of 7:15 and 7:16 respectively. Continuing the family theme, Noah Ballinger and brother Dawson were next with times of 7:21 and 7:40. They were then followed by Daniel Windridge on 8:05, William Newman on 8:13, Arthur Letendart on 8:14 and Thomas Ladkin on 8:22.
The boys have steadily improved over the season so far, creeping up the table to a very respectable 6th place after the first three fixtures. With two more meetings to go in the New Year, it’s all set for an exciting climax to the season.
Max Kent kept up his 100% record as the sole Tamworth runner for the Under-17 Men’s competition. Following the example set by Charlotte Perry for the Ladies, Max bettered his previous finishes this season, taking 21st place with a time of 18:18 for 4.8km race.
The Under-11 Girls, not to be outdone by the boys fielded a strong team on the start line of the 1.6km race. Jessica Salt matched her placing from the previous meeting with another outstanding 7th place finish and a time of 6:53. Freya Cole, back in the team after missing last month’s race, put in a typically strong run, crossing the finish line in 17th place with a time of 7:10. Sofia Farmer was next with a time of 8:39, followed by Robyn Lee with 8:54 and Charlotte Evans with 9:16.
The result sees the girls jump up one place to 7th in the overall standings and like the boys have it all to run for in the New Year!
Ben Edwards was missing from the Under-15 Boys 3.2km event, having picked up an injury in the Inter Counties Schools Cross Country the previous day. James Stretton was left to run on his own for Tamworth, and despite the lack of friendly rivalry with his teammate, improved on his placing last time out to take 30th with a time of 12:53.
The Under-13 Girls team looked to continue their excellent start to the season, but that was always going to be difficult with a depleted team of four. Lottie McLaren, returning from a calf injury, was first across the line for Tamworth finishing the 2.5km race in 27th place with a time of 11:16. Kirsten McLaren was only seconds behind in 30th place with a time of 11:18. Next was Natasha Lee with 11:44, followed by Daisy Smith in 12:07.
In a very competitive league, the girls have now dropped to 9th place in the overall standings, but a couple of good performances in the New Year could quickly put them back in the mix.
Next up was the Under-13 Boys race over a 2.5km course. Following on from his younger brother in the Under-11s, Luca Bradley stormed over the line in 5th place with a time of 9:48. Toby Wooton once again ran incredibly well, finishing in 10th place with 9:54 on the clock. Aedan Mason took 49th place in 11:04, just edging out teammate Oliver Goldsworthy in 50th with 11:05. Ben Lamplugh was Tamworth’s fifth finisher with 12:05, followed by Joseph Gorst on 12:27 and Ben Godber on 12:40.
The Under-13 Boys overall standings remain finely balanced. This result keeps the Tamworth AC team sitting in 7th place, but everything could change over the last two fixtures.
Finally, Tegan Vickery rounded off the day with another solo run for Tamworth in the Under-15 Girls race. Tegan did the club proud, running with a strong field of athletes to finish the 3.2km race in 45th place with a time of 15:14.
Despite several key absences, Tamworth hold on to 10th place in the overall combined league standings. Team Manager Ben Evans reflecting on another good day for the club said “Everyone pulled together and gave it their all, but I’m particularly pleased for the U11s. Many of these boys and girls are running cross-country for the first time this year and they’re getting better each time they race. It’s a pleasure to watch and anyone who thinks that kids are going soft these days need to come and watch this lot! I hope they take inspiration and learn from role models in the older categories, like Max Kent, and Charlotte and Sophie Perry. These youngsters have real potential and I’d love to see them running for years to come.”