City of Portsmouth athletes will be heading to Brighton in force for the South of England Cross Country Championships.
The club have two coaches going to the prestigious event and Rhiannon Dunlop heads one of the biggest senior entry lists for City in recent years.
Emma Montiel, Emma Jolley, Katie Carew-Robinson and Helen Lockyer are also in action. They earned veteran team silver in the Hampshire Championships.
Dunlop finished fourth senior lady with an excellent confidence-boosting display.
City have 11 senior men entered for the race in Brighton on Saturday and 65 club athletes are registered in total.
Portsmouth will be very well represented through all the junior age groups from under-13 to under-17.
Ellie Farrow is on a roll with two cross-country titles already this winter.
She is county under-17 champion and last weekend added the schools’ inter girls’ crown. She spearheads the City of Portsmouth under-17 women for the trip to Brighton.
City coach Vince Stamp is hoping the group will be able to mix it with the very best.
He said: ‘Ellie is motoring and Olivia Wiseman is motoring as well. Katie Simister is running well, Mia Billins is flying and confident,
Eleanor Purdue and Bo Sansom are also racing well. We won’t put pressure on them but it will be exciting to watch the race.’
Newly-crowned Hampshire Schools’ junior girls’ champion Holly Wilkinson is part of a very talented City of Portsmouth under-15 girls’ squad set for the championships.
Nicole Ainsworth, who was second in the schools’ intermediate age group, and Saffron Moore, who was fourth, are also hitting top gear.
Vince Stamp is hopeful the team have a real chance with 10 athletes entered.
He said: ‘Holly, Nicole and Saffron are the big three and they have good back up. Holly had a great race to win the schools’ title and Nicole showed the big race form we have been waiting for her from her. Our team is looking good with lots of depth.’
Cameron Walker-Powell is set to lead the City under-13 boys and Ed Smyth the under-15 charge.
Medals will be the target for City of Portsmouth under-17 men.
Lachlan Wellington, pictured above right, earned a county schools’ silver medal last weekend, while Jacob O’Hara got bronze in the schools’ race and silver in the county championships earlier this year.
The team is packed with quality with the likes of Steven Cross, Adam Kimber, Callum Crook, Josh Goldfinch and Ollie Purser.
City coach Vince Stamp is looking forward to seeing how they perform.
He said: ‘Lachlan is in cracking form and the 6k distance will suit him. Jacob is running really well and is county silver medallist.
‘With Callum, Adam, Steven, Josh and Ollie all running very well it is looking good. Hopefully we can get them all to the start line fit and healthy.’