Tamworth AC’s junior athletes finally got their cross country league season underway after the first meeting in October fell victim to flooding.
The scenic course at Warley Woods in Smethwick had faired well in the recent downpours, with the leg sapping hills draining well to leave much of the route in firm underfoot. The athletes were no doubt grateful for this small mercy, with this fixture renowned as the toughest on the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League circuit.
First out for the Under-17 Women were twin sisters Charlotte and Sophie Perry in their last season before coming of age as seniors. Charlotte was first to finish the 4km course in a very strong 19th place with a time of dead on 19 minutes. Sophie followed in 31st place with 19:53 to complete a very respectable 11th place in the category placings with just the two scorers.
The Under-11 Boys were out in numbers with several new and slightly nervous faces warmly welcomed to the Tamworth team. Thomas Beales attacked the 1.6km course with enormous confidence from the start; crossing the line on 7:11 in a remarkable 9th place. Dominic Harper was close behind in 14th place with a very solid run and a time of 7:21. Twins Jack and Oliver Dolan were next for Tamworth with 7:39 and 7:45; taking 23rd and 30th place respectively. In a flurry of green and white, George Haddock (8:54), Thomas Ladkin (8:59) and Ellis Jones (9:01) crossed the line in quick succession; taking 81st, 83rd and 85th places respectively. Ethan Caldicott made his first appearance in a Tamworth vest and did well to finish in 92nd place with a time of 9:14. Arthur Letendart was next in 96th place on 9:26 followed by Carson Scott in 99th on 9:53. An excellent set of results helped the Under-11 Boys team secure 5th place in the category standings.
Ben Edwards stepped up to the Under-17 Men’s category this season and was the sole Tamworth representative. Ben ran well in his first race in his new age group and finished the 4.8km course in 34th place with a time of 20:09.
More bright new faces for Tamworth in the Under-11 Girls 1.6km race. Elizabeth Fleming led the line with an impressive 13th place finish and a time of 8:13. Hannah Beales was next in 36th place with 8:42, followed by Ella Moss in 39th on 8:52. Isla Rogers and Grace Hirst completed the all important five finishers for Tamworth in 54th and 96th places with times of 9:17 and 12:22 respectively. The results gave the team an impressive 8th place in the Under-11 Girls standings.
The Under-15 Boys race saw Aedan Mason and Oliver Goldsworthy pair up for the 3.2km event. Aedan ran another solid race and came home in 22nd place with a time of 13:22. Oliver followed in 49th place with a very credible time of 14:37.
The Under-13 Girls were next up with Chloe Sharman continuing to show her quality with a top 10 finish in 8th place with a time of 10:57 for the 2.5km race. Last season’s young female cross country athlete of the year, Jessica Salt also had a very good race and was next over the line in 12th place on 11:04. Freya Cole put her recent injury lay-off into distant memory with an excellent run of 11:15 to take 17th place. Chloe Purkis rounded things off in 51st place with a time of 12:25, propelling the girls to 8th place in the Under-13 team standings.
The Under-13 Boys trio of Joseph Gorst, Ben Godber and Francis White were in good spirits ahead of their 2.5km race. Joseph was first back in 69th place with a time of 11:52 against strong competition. Ben followed in 82nd place on 12:25, with Francis taking 91st on 13:23 to put the boys in 15th for the team standings.
A strong Tamworth line up for the 3.2km Under-15 Girls race made for a highly anticipated finale to the meeting. 3.2km (4th) The unassuming Lottie McLaren gave everything she had to take a superb 13th place in her new age category with a time of 14:31. Phoebe O’Connor showed that she’s one to watch with a brilliant finish in 19th place on 14:54. Natasha Lee wasn’t far behind, putting in a gritty performance for 24th place and a time of 15:03. Tegan Vickery and Libbie Price were next over the line to make up the five scorers in 32nd and 39th places with times of 15:26 and 15:36 respectively. Daisy Smith finished off the day for Tamworth with a fine time of 17:04 and 57th place. In the team standings the girls made an early statement of intent with 4th place in a very competitive category.
In the overall team results Tamworth AC claimed a top half position, taking 9th place in a league that has grown to 21 clubs this season. Team Manager Ben Evans was clearly very pleased with the performance and said “Everyone did so well today on an unforgiving course, and they looked like they were enjoying it. I love seeing new faces at the start of the season and our more experienced athletes played a huge part in making them feel at home and settling the nerves. That team spirit means far more to me than the results and they can all be very proud of themselves”
The next WMYACCL meeting will be at Perry Park in Birmingham on Sunday 8th December.