Some top team performances could be on the cards for City of Portsmouth athletes as they take on the best the country has to offer tomorrow.
It’s been a good winter so far and the racing is set to be taken up a level in Nottingham.
The Portsmouth under-17 men’s squad are all bottom years in the age group but they have the pedigree to mix it with the older athletes.
Lachlan Wellington and Jacob O’Hara have already shown they are right up there with the best in the south, while Steven Cross is having an excellent winter and keeps getting better.
Adam Kimber and Harry Moore make up a powerful quintet with serious strength in depth.
An equally strong City group is the under-15 girls.
Ellie Farrow has been in storming form, while bottom years Saffron Moore and Nicole Ainsworth already have a vast array of national, southern and county medals between them.
Mia Billins and Matilda Atkins will be among the other City athletes pushing hard to score for the team Wollaton Park.
City coach Vince Stamp is looking forward to seeing how the young athletes perform, without any real pressure on their shoulders.
He said: ‘On current form, we’ll have some good teams out there and some good individual chances as well.
‘I know with my group training has been going well and everyone is fit.
‘Hopefully the under-17 men will be in the mix.
‘They are all bottom years so realistically they shouldn’t be up there but it’s such a talented squad.
‘If they all run to their potential it could be a good team race.
‘Both Jacob and Lachlan are running brilliantly, while Steven has been right up there.
‘Adam and Harry can certainly be right up there as well.’
‘Nicole Ainsworth was ill when she raced the southern cross country but she is back now and getting stronger again.
‘Saffron is running brilliantly, she has been doing the work with her coach Alex Budd and is making great gains.
‘Ellie Farrow is in excellent form and she has been away at a triathlon training camp this week.
‘I’ve told Matilda and Mia they could be the most important runners for the team on the day.’
Anya Pigden, Eleanor Purdue and Katie Simister are all bottom years in the under-17 women’s race, while Elizabeth Hedley is the only top year.
The under-13 girls won’t be at full strength but have plenty of depth in the ranks, while the under-13 boys’ group also has some exciting talents.
Callum Crook is having a superb winter in the under-15 age group.
Stamp added: ‘Our under-13 girls are a very good young squad but they won’t be quite at full strength, while we have Cameron Walker-Powell and Josh Fawcett among the under-13 boys’ team.
‘Callum Crook is in cracking form, while our under-17 women’s team is strong if all four of them are running on the day.’