City aces to ramp up pace in race for south of England success

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Rising stars from City of Portsmouth will be chasing glory in the South of England Cross-Country Championships tomorrow.

After a successful run out at the Hampshire Schools’ event last weekend, the City youngsters will be looking to continue their strong form as the top talents in the south gather at Stanmer Park, in Brighton.

Josie Czura, Lachlan Wellington and Elizabeth Rose all picked up medals in the Hampshire Schools’ Cross-Country Championships last weekend.

They will hope to be in the mix for more success tomorrow.

Czura, who won gold last weekend, comes into the race off the back of a series of dominant victories.

She’s won the English Schools’ Cup, the Southern Inter-Counties, the Hampshire Schools’ title and the Hampshire title.

But City coach Stamp is determined to ensure the 14-year-old talent is relaxed on the day.

He said: ‘Josie has been shoehorned into the gold medal by the national athletics press already.

‘She’s beaten everyone this winter. She’s been doing massive training sessions and hasn’t eased down for anything.

‘The results she has had have been outstanding.

‘Josie is hard as nails when she is running but she’s still a young girl.

‘We want her to relax and enjoy her running.

‘If she enjoys it, she will produce the goods.’

Wellington ran brilliantly to pick up a silver medal in the schools’ junior boys’ race.

He was just seven seconds behind England ace Zakariya Mahamed.

The City athlete has made great progress this year, since he decided to focus more on running.

With a good run of fitness, he could be in contention for an England vest, along with Czura, who represented her country last winter.

Stamp said: ‘Lachlan has really improved. He was doing one session a week, mixed in with football.

‘In the under-13s natural ability will get you quite good results.

‘But it’s different when you move up to under-15s.

‘Runners are doing a lot more and have started to make choices.

‘Lachlan is running against a national champion, in Zak, every week at the moment and he held him to only seven seconds last weekend.

‘Zak text him after and said “good run” so it shows Lachlan is doing well.’

City have an outstanding team spirit in the squad and Stamp is confident they will pick up some good team results.

He added: ‘It’s looking good. At the moment all the youngsters in the group are fit and healthy, and are running well.

‘Our under-13 girls, under-13 boys and under-15 girls teams should all be in the mix for the medals.

‘All our athletes want to be in the scoring four but they also know they can help the team by knocking back other teams’ runners.

‘Training is going well and we have a great squad – everyone is so supportive of each other.’

The under-15 boys are first up tomorrow, at 11am.

Alex Teuten will lead the City charge in the senior race – the final event – at 2.50pm.