Chen claims county crown

21/5/2011 (SPORT) SOUTHERN ATHLETICS LEAGUE''The Southern Athletics League took place at the Mountbatten Centre on Saturday 21st May 2011.''Pictured is Jess Chen during the 3000m ladies race.''Picture: Sarah Standing (111893-5558)
21/5/2011 (SPORT) SOUTHERN ATHLETICS LEAGUE''The Southern Athletics League took place at the Mountbatten Centre on Saturday 21st May 2011.''Pictured is Jess Chen during the 3000m ladies race.''Picture: Sarah Standing (111893-5558)
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Jess Chen’s flying form continued at the Hampshire AA Cross-Country Championships.

Chen stormed to the under-20 title at the county event in the New Forest as City of Portsmouth grabbed a one-two, with team-mate Emma Gilmore finishing runner-up.

The duo were just two of a string of impressive performances from City entries at the Dibden Inclosure.

It’s been a strong period for Chen, who finished ninth in the Lotto Cross Cup in Brussels before Christmas, and that continued as she won her race in 27min 44sec.

That was comfortably in front of Gilmore, who finished second in 29.22.

Now Chen is hoping to carry forward that form into England duty at the McCain UK Cross-Country Challenge in Cardiff this weekend.

Her coach, Gerry North, is delighted with her displays going into that event.

He said: ‘Jess won her race quite easily – she’s flying at the moment.

‘And it was a good run from Emma to finish second – and good news for the club to get the first two.

‘Jess is over the moon with how it’s going.

‘She’s really enjoying her training and things are going well.

‘Now she has the event in Cardiff this weekend for England to look forward to.’

Chen led the way at the weekend but she wasn’t the only impressive City performer in the competition.

City’s under-15 boys chalked up a win in the team category, with a four-to-score total of 40 points enough to edge out Southampton.

Matt Smith finished sixth in 12.05 and was supported by Will Downham (seventh, 12.14), Ethan Bevis (13th, 12.42) and Doug Tandy (14th, 12.42) to get the team win.

Cassie Thorp finished fourth in the senior women’s race in a strong field, with Winchester’s classy international cross-country performer Louise Damen victorious.

Thorp crossed the line in 29.55 on a testing course, which was a world away from her preferred road running.

Stubbington Green Runners’ pair, Tanya Brady (33.06) and Emily Foran (33.16), finished 16th and 17th overall respectively and second and third in the women’s 35-and-over section.

Emma Montiel (36.19) finished 30th overall, Charlotte Bowsher 32nd (36.39) and Tracy Burrows 35th (36.43), with all faring well in their respective age-group categories.

In the under-13s, the City quartet of Josie Czura, Maisie Grice, Beth Burgess and Elise Sherwin teamed up to finish second.

Czura crossed the line in fifth (10.24), Grice 15th (10.51), Burgess 16th (10.53) and Sherwin 17th (10.55) to give them a 53-point total.

Harry Carter can be pleased with his performance as he finished ninth in the senior men’s race over 12.1k.

Carter grabbed a time of 39.44, with Alex Teuten 13th in 40.15.

Havant AC’s Christopher Spinks took third place in the under-20 men’s race with his time of 28.12, while Rory Bevis was sixth at under-17 level (17.36).