CITY of Portsmouth’s young guns were muddy marvels in the Hampshire Cross Country League.
The under-13 squad showed their promise and quality with girls’ team victory at Goodwood.
City made light of the pouring rain and heavy conditions on a testing circuit.
Josie Czura was edged out by rival Grace Copeland, from Wimborne, as she finished second in 11min 21sec.
But she led her three-to-score team home, with Anya Pigden seventh (12.29) and Olivia Wiseman eighth (12.35).
Such is City’s depth at the age, however, a B string would have finished fourth overall.
City coach, Vince Stamp, was bowled over by the performance of the under-13 girls.
He said: ‘The under-13s were amazing. The conditions were absolutely atrocious but our younger ages were the shining lights and the under-13 girls were winners.
Our scoring team were in the top eight and, if we’d had a B team, we would have been in the top four, which shows depth.
‘Bo Sansom had a flier and she was really impressive.
‘Olivia is a bottom year and ran well, too, and Cheyenne James improved from her first race in a higher-quality field.’
Lincoln Wellington also showed his raw talent as he finished third for the under-13 boys, despite his relative inexperience.
He helped his team to a third-place finish with a 11.16 time.
Stamp said: ‘Our boys did well, too.
‘They were fifth in the first match but finished third this time, so they are improving well.
‘Lincoln performed well but maybe took it on too early at the end and that stopped him from an even better finish.
‘They were his first two league races and he had done superbly. It’s a good learning curve for him.
‘He’s shown real potential for someone of his experience.
‘Harry Moore had another good, strong run and there were some pleasing efforts all round. It’s not just about the runners at the front but how they improved on previous performances.’
The strong showings arrived from City across the age categories, with runners also making marked improvements from their last cross country league outing.
Elizabeth Hedley was seventh at under-15 level (16.02), with Maisie Grice 28th (17.15) and Ellie Sansom 33rd (17.42).
And Alex Teuten was the stand-out performer at senior level as he finished third (29.02).
Stamp said: ‘The under-15s finished fourth and Elizabeth Hedley is a bottom year – she had a cracking run.
‘She was in contention until the end but fell and lost a few places.
‘It was the best I have seen of Ellie Sansom, too, and Harry Blay ran steadily for the boys, Will Wall was 38th and Kieran James was 41st.
‘Alex Teuten finished third, with two quality runners in front of him, and it was good to see Rory Bevis have a good run at senior level.
‘We had three finish in the under-17 girls. Lauren McCarthy was 14th and Ellie Czura was only one place behind.
‘Matt Smith’s 14th place was a good run in a quality field for the boys.
‘It was a good day all round.’