Rugby and Northampton AC emerged victorious on home soil for the second weekend in succession, winning round four of the West Midlands Young Athletes Cross Country League at Abington Park.
On a damp day in Northampton, the hosts shone, with four team triumphs on the way to first place overall, keeping alive the club’s title hopes ahead of the final round which takes place next month.
The club’s male athletes were in fine form, with the Under-17, U15 and U11 teams taking top spot. For the U17s, Adam Searle kept his unbeaten run going, crossing the line in 18 minutes and 30 seconds. Joe Musgrove was third with a time of 19:01, and seventh-placed Tom Hughes rounded off the scoring in 19:19.
The U13 and U11 teams also had three athletes in the top 10, with Noah Bennett (fourth – 10:59), Louis Buttrick (sixth – 11:04) and Aidan O’Brian (seventh – 11:06) contributing to the U13 triumph. Jake Hope (11:31) and Michael Corbett (12:03) also scored in 18th and 33rd respectively.
Arthur Tilt was the first R&N runner over the line in the U11 race, finishing third in 7:35, with fifth and sixth-placed Luke Turner and Lewis Robson soon joining him in times of 8:00 and 8:02. Finlay Grant (17th – 8:20) and Cian Shea (23rd – 8:27) ensured victory.
The U15 boys secured third overall, but there was another success for Adam Caulfield (12:39) who, like Searle, remains unbeaten and is in line for a maximum score in the competition. Ben Hope wasn’t far behind, taking third place in 13:09, before Cian Hutton (19th – 14:14), Matthew Blomley (36th – 15:06) and Jake Louis (46th – 15:43) crossed the line.
R&N’s females impressed too, with the U11s running out winners after Alice Bennett led them home in a time of 8:40 to claim sixth spot. Lara Turner was ninth in 8:53, while Olvia Willison (12th – 9:01), Caitlin Reeves (13th – 09:01) and Georgia Coker-Agar (22nd – 9:10) added to the scoring.
It was second place for the club’s U13 and U15 girls, with Claudia Searle ‘s fourth place leading the younger age group home.
She was past the post in 11:38, and was joined by Alice Bates (12th – 11:57). Olivia Williams (21st – 12:10), Mia Clark (37th – 12:53) and Abigail Thayanithy (38th – 12:53).
Molly Williams finished fifth for the U15s with a time of 15:16, and that leaves her second overall for the season. Holly Walker (13th – 15:48), Abi Pearce (15th – 15:50), Georgina Woodward (18th – 15:56) and 23rd-placed Lucy Stevens (16:04) completed the scoring five.
The result leaves the club 54 points behind Wolverhampton & Bilston, who host the final event on 12th February, and there are plenty of individual honours up for grabs along with team success.
Adam Searle (U17M) and Adam Caulfield (U15M) are first overall in their age groups, Arthur Tilt (U11B) and Molly Williams (U15G) are second, and Joe Musgrove (U17M) currently lies third. The trio of Luke Turner (U11B), Alice Bennett (U11G) and Noah Bennett (U13B) all sit fifth overall going into the final stage.