ATHLETICS: RUGBY & Northampton have been busy battling on all fronts with athletes competing in the Birmingham Cross Country League, Midland Women’s League, Midland Open and the London Games over the past two weekends.
In the Cross Country League’s penultimate Division One fixture, held on January 15 at Coventry’s Coundon Hall Park, Elisha De Mello became the ninth Rugby & Northampton athlete to make the top 20 this season, crossing the line in 17th.
The 21-year-old covered the five-and-a-half mile course in 27 minutes and 25 seconds, leading the team home and helping to secure ninth spot in the third fixture of the season.
Next over the line was William Gardner, who finished 32nd in a time of 28.10, and he is now just one race away from becoming the club champion. Robert Male followed in 61st (29.05) and achieving a best-ever 70th place was the first veteran over the line, Stephen Marks, in 29:29.
Junior athlete Ben Musgrove (30.23) clinched 100th spot and Alistair McDonnell (30.39) completed the scoring as the A team climbed three place to ninth overall in the standings and the B team also sit ninth courtesy of a seventh-placed finish on the day.
Elsewhere, the Midland Women’s League Division One took place at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton, with five athletes turning out for R&N.
Amy Sarkies had her best performance of the season, placing 31st overall and finishing as the fifth fastest veteran in a time of 25.12.
Junior athlete Rebecca Leadbeater recorded 26.17 for 42nd and there were season-best positions for veterans Angela Copson (28.05), Zoe Shepherd (28.43) and Minerva Chesser (29.15).
The Senior team finished in ninth place and the Veterans took fifth overall. The fourth and final race is a joint fixture with the Men’s Birmingham League at Warwick University on February 11.
Elsewhere, at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, the Midland Open Throws season opener took place in cold and damp conditions with several R&N athletes moving up to new categories.
Competing in his first competition as an Under-17 male, Fenton Bishop-Timings threw an excellent 41.12m in the javelin and 27.30m in the discus – both PBs. Mica Quinn had her first competition as an Under-15 girls and also threw well in the javelin for a PB of 24.49.
In the Under-15 girls discus, Maia Reynolds started her second year in the category with a PB of 25.06 and added a solid 8.29 in the shot put.
In the indoor Midland Open, where all races take place over 60 metres, there was an excellent start from Ruby Wood in her second year in the Under-13 girls category.
She achieved a PB of 8.77 seconds on the flat, while there was a promising effort from Amelia Tutt, who added a PB of 9.80 over the hurdles.
There were further successes in the field events with Millie Watford equalling the club indoor Under-15 girls high jump record, clearing 1.45. Twin sister Ella was not to be outdone, leaping 4.87 to equal her best effort in the long jump.
Reynolds and Tutt took their form into the London Games at Lee Valley this weekend, with the former adding a PB in the shot put (8.64m) and the latter beating her best time over hurdles in 9.71.
There was more joy for the Tutt family with Josh winning the Under-13 boys shot put (10.20) and Sam Tutt setting a new fastest time over the hurdles, crossing the line in 8.64.
Florence Matthews made a big improvement in the long jump, leaping 4.24 for a new PB, and Xcenia Pasqualin capped off another strong event for the club with another individual best, finishing the hurdles in 10.73 seconds.