Czura shines as City parade team spirit

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CITY OF PORTSMOUTH’S muddy marvels enjoyed a day to the remember at the Saucony Hampshire Cross-Country Championships.

And international starlet Josie Czura showed her class as she obliterated the field in her event and underlined her exciting potential.

Czura stormed to success in the under-15 girls’ race and was almost a minute clear of her nearest rival as a bottom-year entry.

The 14-year-old powered through the one-lap course at Fleming Park in Eastleigh to take the title in 15min 23sec.

Her display was one of a number of outstanding performances from City’s exciting young array of talent.

Czura led City to a dominant team victory in her age group, as they saw the required four to score home in the top 12.

Further excellent displays from Elizabeth Rose (16.59), Elizabeth Hedley (17.04) and Anya Pigden (18.04) gave their side a comfortable win with a 22-point score.

Czura was proud of her victory as she looks towards the South of England Cross-Country Championships in Brighton later this month.

But she was just as pleased to link up with her team-mates for a win as she eyes further success at her next major event.

Czura said: ‘It was really good.

‘The conditions were good for me.

‘It was really muddy and quite hilly as well.

‘It was one lap which I liked as well.

‘I don’t mind the longer distances as I get older.

‘I won but we also got first as a team.

‘That is really important, too. I really liked that. It’s nice for everyone to enjoy winning.

‘There’s the next round to this in Brighton and I aim to come first in that.

‘It will be a hard race. There will be people from London so I will have to try my best.’

Lachlan Wellington was a stand-out performer in the under-15 boys’ race as he finished an impressive second, also as a bottom-year entry, in 14.57.

That was the cornerstone of a team success with Jacob O’Hara (16.03) and Harry Moore (16.09) joining Ted Yeates (16.18), who showed guts to take part in the event with just a single session under his belt as he returns from injury.

City coach Vince Stamp believes his club’s successes underline the philosophies being impressed on their young athletes are paying off.

He said: ‘The juniors had a great day. We saw people come back to form and there were a heck of a lot of strong runs.

‘There’s a lot of ability from the under-11s all the way through. As a club we try to ensure they enjoy it.

‘We all want to do well but we saw Josie win by 58 seconds and the first thing she wants to do is turn around and cheer her team-mates on.

‘There’s a team spirit and no elitism.

‘They enjoy working hard and train hard as a group. They enjoy what they are doing.

‘Lachlan came a good second to a national champion and beat a top-year county champion. He’s improved a lot and had a great run.

‘Ted Yeates has done one training session in 10 weeks but has turned out and ran.

‘He paced himself well and came through for us. But there are athletes who haven’t done so well or who are coming back from injury who are finding form.

‘We are doing it as a team.’