A VICTORY in the final race of the season ensured promotion for Rugby & Northampton Ladies’ cross country team after they claimed the Midland Women’s League Division Two title at the weekend.
Victory at Wolverhampton in the final race of the season made it three in a row as they confirmed their promotion to Division One.
And their efforts would have seen them finish seventh in the top tier, proving that the team are more than capable of competing with the best that the Midlands has to offer.
The star performer of the day was Gabriella Moriarty, who became the only athlete from the club to make the top 20 all season in the combined Division One and Two races.
Moriarty completed the 6km course at Aldersley Leisure Village in 17th place in a time of 24 minutes and 33 seconds.
Rebecca Leadbeater’s 24th position in 25.11 ensured third spot overall in the Junior competition and Tamara Hardman achieved her highest-ever placing by finishing 39th in 25.56 to lead the Veteran team to fifth on the day and 12th overall.
Angela Copson was the second veteran home for R&N with a season-best 94th position in 28.33 and Tilly Lea, in her last league race as a Junior, was timed at 29.52 to place 127th.
Completing the veteran squad was Zoe Shepherd in a best ever 131st spot in exactly 30 minutes, and Helen Jones crossed the line in 31.05 to finish 159th.
At the same venue, the Men’s Cross Country team maintained their Division One status in the fourth and final race of the Men’s Birmingham League.
Leading them home in the six-mile course was International athlete Jacob Allen, who finished third in 30 minutes and nine seconds.
The 21-year-old, who recently represented Great Britain in the European Under-23 Cross Country Championships, placed behind fellow International Graham Rush of Cheltenham (29.31) and Toby Spencer of Coventry Godiva (29.35).
Backing up Allen were two athletes achieving personal-best places. Robert Male recorded 33.07 for 54th position and Alistair McDonnell finished 82nd in 34.02.
Paul Birch marked his return from injury by finishing as the first veteran home for R&N (113th-35.14) and junior Tom Charteress clinched a best ever 117th place after crossing the line in 35.29.
The ‘A’ string finished 11th on the day, dropping to 13th overall from the 16 teams, but avoided the bottom three by virtue of defeating Warwick University, who slipped from 10th to 14th.
In the ‘B’ race, the team also placed 11th, but claimed sixth spot overall, with Daniel Williams crossing the finish line in 36.25 for his highest ever placing of 146. Junior Oliver Harvey also recorded a best ever finish of 195th in at time of 39.17.
Elsewhere at the weekend, a small number of R&N representatives competed in the England Athletics Indoor Championship at the English Institute of Sport facility in Sheffield for Under-20, Under-17 and Under-15 athletes.
There was a massive result for Eleanor Broome in the Under-20 women’s long jump after she secured a superb silver medal in her first year in the age category.
More significant was that her best jump of 6.07 metres surpassed the qualifying standard to be considered for GB selection at the European Youth Championships later in the season.
In the Under-20 males, Rico Ewer was competitiong in a highly competitive 60m event and after winning in the first round and recorded a new PB of 6.90 in the semi-final, Ewer narrowly missed out on the medals in fourth.