City of Portsmouth’s next generation of rising stars made a big impact at the National Road Relay Championships.
Some outstanding displays saw the emerging girls at City get among the medals in Birmingham.
It was Josie Czura who led the way with the fastest time in her category at Sutton Park.
Czura clocked 14min 03sec, despite being a bottom-year entry at under-13 level.
She teamed up with Anya Pigden (15.06) and Olivia Wiseman (15.37) to ensure City came home third overall.
That was an outstanding display given the relative inexperience of the trio, as they battled away in atrocious conditions.
City coach, Vince Stamp, was delighted with the fighting spirit shown by the talents against more experienced opposition on the big stage.
He said: ‘We fielded the maximum amount of teams in under-13s and under-15 girls.
‘We had nine runners in A, B and C teams in both age groups.
‘At under-13 level, six of the nine are all eligible next year.
‘The conditions were awful and it was freezing cold.
‘Anya ran a stormer of an opening leg and set up Josie nicely in the A team at under-13.
‘Josie stormed through to the lead with the fastest time from a girl in her section.
‘Olivia was probably the youngest runner on show and held on to get a bronze medal and was well clear in that position.
‘She was only 11 on August 1, but doesn’t know when to give in.
‘There is a strong likeness between her and Josie and she has great mental strength. It was a really pleasing performance from them and shows potential for the future.’
The promising displays continued at under-13 level, with the B team finishing 22nd overall (Cheyanne James, 16.12, Bo Sansom, 16.51, Maddie Wilton 16.32) and C team 34th (Mia Billins, 17.22, Eleanor Purdue, 17.28, Lucy Moore 18.11).
The under-13 boys came home 24th overall, with Harry Moore (14.21), Adam Kimber (15.27) and Steve Cross (16.36) making up the team.
In the under-15 category, the girls’ A team finished 28th (Masie Grice, 16.07, Elizabeth Hedley, 14.47, Elizabeth Rose, 15.39).
City’s B team came home 63rd (Rachel Muckelt, 18.09, Bobbie Davis, 15,42, Maddie Czura, 19.50) and C team finished 65th (Robyn Lewis, 18.16, Jessica Embling, 18.28, Harriet Todd, 18.02)
The under-15 boys battled hard to finish 40th (Ted Yeates, 14.23, Harry Blay, 14.03, Kieron James, 15.02) with Grace Smith clocking 17.50 as a bottom year at under-17 level.
Stamp was impressed with the commitment showed from all of the squad who travelled up to the midlands.
He said: ‘It was tough for some of the team stepping up, but they all did well. You could not have faulted the effort and they all deserve a pat on the back.
‘We only ask for 100 per cent and every single person gave that.
‘They all showed grit and determination.’
n The Stansted Slug Race, organised by the Portsmouth Joggers, takes place tomorrow (10.30am) at Stansted House.
Entries are welcome on the day.