The young athletes of Tamworth AC rounded off their cross country seasons in style over the last few weeks.
At the final fixture of the West Midland Young Athlete Cross Country League fixture in the grounds of Aldersley Stadium, Wolverhampton, the Tamworth Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 athletes produced another consistent set of excellent results. The team finished the season in 12th place from 22, a position they have held since the first fixture at Walsall back in October in a highly competitive league that includes some of the best clubs in the country.
Individual honours came in the Under-17 Women’s category with Lottie McLaren taking 2nd place overall in her last season before joining the seniors, along with the ever-present Daisy Smith who has run for the team at every level from Under-11s to Under-17s. Stefi Honkowicz was rewarded for an outstanding debut season with a 6th place medal.
Seven athletes represented Tamworth AC at the prestigious National Cross Country Championships, at Bolesworth Castle, near Chester. Conditions were far from typical for cross country with the ground being relatively solid and a distinct lack of mud. Over 4,000 athletes from all over England took part from the Under-13 through to the spectacle of the Senior Men and Women races.
Stefi Honkowicz was first up for Tamworth in the U17 Women’s race. Stefi continued her remarkable first season with Tamworth, producing a fantastic 49th place finish to mark a quite incredible Nationals debut. Zac Edwards then ran in the U15 Boys’ race, finishing in 234th place. Lucy Hornby then ran well in the U13 Girls’ race, her first for Tamworth since transferring from Nuneaton, finishing in 207th position. In the U17 Men’s event, Ben Godber ran a really strong race to finish in 227th place in his National XC Championships debut. In the Under-15 Girls race, Jessica Salt ran well and put in a strong finish to secure her first ever top 100 position at the Nationals, finishing 87th. Evie Caffrey followed up her strong recent performance in the Midlands XC, with another good run, finishing 240th. In the Senior Women’s race, Rebecca Brayer ran really well to finish in 352nd place amongst a field of 774 athletes.
Finally at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships at the famous venue of Prestwold Hall in Loughborough, five Tamworth athletes had been selected to represent the Staffordshire team.
In the Under-15 Boys event, Zac Edwards rounded off a solid season in 273rd place. For the Under-17 Women, Lottie McLaren took an impressive 55th place followed 10 seconds later by Stefi Honkowicz in 63rd. Jessica Salt had another strong run to finish in 151st place and Peter Hackett took 229th place in the Senior Men’s race amongst many of the finest athletes in the country.
Tamworth AC Team Manager Ben Evans, reflecting on an action-packed season said “The races have come thick and fast for some of these athletes and they’ve taken it all in their stride. We say goodbye to Lottie McLaren and Daisy Smith and wish them all the best for the next steps in their journeys. They are incredible role models for the younger athletes and I look forward to welcoming the new intake next season.”