Juniors work well at a national level

The UK's premier cross country series kicked off at Sennellys Park, Birmingham. The top runners from across England were in attendance with strong contingents from Ireland, Scotland and Wales making for a very high standard of racing.

The UK's premier cross country series kicked off at Sennellys Park, Birmingham. The top runners from across England were in attendance with strong contingents from Ireland, Scotland and Wales making for a very high standard of racing.

A contingent of eleven West Suffolk AC athletes contested the junior age groups.

Races ran in age order with Holly Archer the lone West Suffolk athlete in the opening race for Under 13 Girls over 2500m. A lingering cold hampered Archers efforts and she finished the race an exhausted 17th from 49 finishers. Fully fit a top 10 finish is well within her grasp.

Abby Marriott and Emily Barker were next away in the Under 15 Girls race over 3000m.


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Racing for the third successive weekend Marriott was unable to produce her best form and was disappointed with 26th from 64 finishers, not helped by a mid race tumble.

Barker was racing at this level for the first time and handled the occasion well, starting conservatively and picking up places to finish 58th as the race unfolded.

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New squad member Alex Groiss had a very impressive debut in the Under 15 Boys event finishing 35th from 60 runners. As a first year in the age group and with only a few training sessions under his belt Groiss can look forward to making rapid progress over the rest of the cross country season.

Nicola Morgan and Helen Waters raced in the combined Under17/Under 20 Womens race over 4000m. Morgan again had an excellent race to finish 22nd Under 17. Waters found the going hard but persevered to come home 57th from 70 finishers.

Having concentrated on 200m and 300m racing over the track season Waters will benefit from the basic strength and endurance training that cross country racing provides in preparation for the summer track season.

Last to go were the Under 17 Men over a two lap course of 5000m and five West Suffolk athletes toed the line. Andrew Ridley (19th) reversed the order from their previous cross country race by heading team mate Michael Cripps, 36th in a highly competitive field. Andrew Waterhouse and Paul Mayes raced neck and neck throughout the race with Waterhouse just edging ahead in the closing stages to finish 42nd with Mayes 48th.

Another new squad member Callum Stewart made his debut for the club and was unfortunate to slip, twisting his ankle on the second lap. He gamely continued to the finish.

Today West Suffolk AC will compete twice with the Western Area Schools Championships at Great Cornard.

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