ALEX Adams secured his third consecutive championship with an impressive display at the final race of the West Midlands Young Athletes’ Cross Country League in Wolverhampton, report by David Parkin.
Adams (1st, 7:56) continues to dominate the U13 boys’ category as he recored his tenth straight win in the group over the past two years.
If anything, Adams has looked even better as the season has progressed.
In the lead by the top of the starting hill, he stretched out to open up a ten-second gap on his closest chaser and held this through the second half of the race.
Adam Taylor (9th, 8:42) had a storming run to achieve his first top-ten finish. Theo Skirvin (30th, 9:16) was next home in what has been a consistent season.
Henry Wheeler (45th, 9:34) and Ed Twyman (71st, 10:29) both achieved their best performances of the year and Hugh Markham (62nd, 9:56) completed the team.
Many of the U17 women were running their final race in the juniors. Another fine team performance saw them secure the second place medal.
Georgie Campbell (third, 14:32) was only one second off her rival Ella Semple in a tight finish, and there were consistent, confident performances from Imogen Sheppard (14th, 16:30), Abi Wootton (21st, 16:49), Daisy Musk (25th, 17:09) and Charlotte Gravelsons (41st, 19:31).
Many of the U11s had a busy weekend of athletics, with indoor sportshall on Friday and schools’ cross-country on Saturday.
Tessa Parkin (sixth, 5:48) and Annie Silvers (ninth, 5:52) had come first and second respectively in the schools’ cross-country and took their fine form into the race at Aldersey on a short, fast course.
Martha Peters (39th, 6:30), Olivia Hawkyard (44th, 6:36) and Marijke Tear-Verweij (45th, 6:36) were well bunched to complete the scoring positions.
Ella Peeke (48th, 6:38) had a good race to achieve her highest finishing position and Eleanor McElvogue (99th, 7:25) also ran well.
Maddie Linfoot (16th, 9:20) had a fabulous start in the U13 girls’ race and was up to ninth place by the top of the long uphill start and held her place round the first lap.
Eventually the fast pace told and she slipped down to 16th.
Molly Bullock (29th, 9:40) and Niamh Hillard (30th, 9:40) ran much of the race together and were eventually given the same time. Caitlin Boyle (33rd, 9:45), Poppy Fox-Rowe (48th, 10:02), Abbi Cooper (56th, 10:12), Maisie Joy Sprigs (58th, 10:17), Lucy Thomas (63rd, 10:24), Martha Hodges (78th, 10:48), Tilly Campbell (83rd, 10:55) and Katie Pridham (97th, 11:54) completed another strong team performance.
The U11 boys’ team were all closely bunched together, with Maxime Verstraeten (26th, 5:45), fresh from his win in the schools’ cross-country event on the Saturday, taking the honours for the club.
Hard on his heels and given the same time was James Day (27th, 5:45), who was closely followed by Seb Hillard (35th, 5:52) who has been the team’s most consistent runner across the season, finishing in 22nd place overall in the league.
Oliver Hemming (43rd, 5:57), Joshua Davies (45th, 5:58), Alex McMillan (51st, 6:01) and Josh Harrison (90th, 6:49) made up the Stratford team.
The U17 men’s race saw three of the Stratford team run much of the race in close formation. Owain Jones (26th, 17:28) eventually came out on top, only two places ahead of Will Crowfoot (28th, 17:31) who has continued to improve in the second half of the season.
The returning Ben Jones (30th, 17:48) was only two places further back and Tom Crowfoot (31st, 17:59) and Ollie Adams (43rd, 20:25) completed the team.
The U15 girls’ race again turned into a battle between Gigi Thomas (33rd, 12:57) and Ellie Deaner (21st, 12:33), with Thomas enjoying the lead in the first half.
As has often been the case this season, Deaner accelerated on the second lap, claiming a number of places and eventually finishing ahead of her team-mate.
Charlotte Marshall (61st, 14:26) found herself almost at the back of the pack on the first climb, but showed great determination to battle forward and gain a few more places for the team.
Caleb Spriggs (37th, 11:53) was first home for the club in the U15 boys’ race, and Josh Dobedoe (44th, 12:10), who has improved in every race, achieved his best finish in his first year of competing.
Joel Watson (54th, 12:51) and Harry Gravelsons (55th, 12:52) gave each other a lot of support and were neck and neck up to the line in a tight finish.
Stratford AC finished in fifth position on the day which saw them slip to fourth in the league, one place below last season’s finishing position.