Again warm weather welcomed the buoyant Shrewsbury AC Cross Country team for the 3rd fixture in the SYAL Cross Country fixture at the William Brookes School, Much Wenlock.
Ellis Spencer returned for her second outing in the winter fixtures over the 2 lap course, which being a relatively flat circuit produced frenetic front running. Another good run from Ellis with even paced laps saw her move through the field as others tired in, with Ellis securing 35th spot in the U11Girls race.
The strongest team this season has been the U11boys, and with 7 runners out today it was another great team performance as the the boys again dominated the team competition winning today by a massive 34 points and are now leading the way in the race for Under 11 Boys team trophy.Fergus Stevens who has been superbly consistent this year stole the show, and the race, with an expertly timed sprint finish to move from third place to first past the post with only meters to spare. The next 3 scorers ran just as strongly and scored heavily, with William Davies 6th, Leo Walton 7th and Archie Hale 8th grouping together to ensure another top team performance. Harry Bower in 15th, debutants Joshua Lewis 17th and younger brother Oliver Lewis 22nd completed the Shrewsbury finishers adding strength to the team.
(U11boys team start, from left; Fergus Stevens, Leo Walton, William Davies, Archie Hale, Joshua Lewis, Oliver Lewis, Harry Bower)
Running this season as the only U15G SAC athlete, Sasha Gardiner has put together a string of consistent runs in her first season with the club. Today was another showing of Sashas sensible pace judgement as yet again she moved through in the latter stages for 11th place.
In the U13boys, Freddie Turner was in the same situation as Sasha, being the only club athlete to take to the start line. Freddie had his best finish of the season in a very good 10th, clearly the climb up toward the iconic Windmill Hill suited him as he comfortably separated himself from a chasing pairing of athletes.
A trio of U17boys took to the field for the first time this season, as George Speakman returned from injury to join Ben Ashcroft & Ryan Cullen. For the first 3 flat laps the lads were closely bunched, working off each other, but as they took to the hill for the first time Ben Ashcroft pulled away to keep in touch with the lead group. George, having a strong run was next up with Ryan just behind, the order not changing as the lads attacked the hill for the second time. The scoring was enough to secure winning team on the day with the finishing positions of Ben 4th, George 6th & Ryan in 7th. A confidence building result to take forward to the season finale at Bridgnorth.
Only 2 SAC athletes made it for the U15boys, with Ross Kirby and Stuart Duff both having raced strongly in the North Wales XC League the previous day (9th and 11th places), again taking to the start line to complete a busy weekend for the lads. Demonstrating a calm approach to the race, their endurance and pace judgement enabled them to secure strong positions and again pick off tiring competitors for 9th (Kirby), and 14th place (Duff).
Katharine Smith graced the final race of the day, and with the majority of her team-mates staying on to support her efforts, she again ran superbly well for her third 2nd place finish of the season. Running in pursuit of the Telford leader, Katharine has had to contend with pressure from the chasing pack all season, but has beaten off all challengers at every attack to secure 2nd in the individual standings with a race to spare.
A top team performance from all age groups today, Shrewsbury AC will travel to the final SYAL fixture at Bridgnorth on 4th December in high spirits, and with a number of Athletes in contention for individual as well as team awards. We'd like to encourage as many as possible to come and run for the club in all age groups at Bridgnorth
Congratulations also go to the following athletes for selection to the Shropshire Schools Cross Country team for an inter-county fixture at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on Saturday 19th November: