Young stars lead Portsmouth charge at Hampshire Championships

From left to right: Saffron Moore, Ellie Farrow and Nicole Ainsworth. Picture: Paul Smith
From left to right: Saffron Moore, Ellie Farrow and Nicole Ainsworth. Picture: Paul Smith
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IT WAS a gold rush for City of Portsmouth at the Hampshire Cross Country Championships.

Lachlan Wellington and Saffron Moore won individual titles to lead the charge.

Lachlan Wellington. Picture: Paul Smith

Lachlan Wellington. Picture: Paul Smith

The under-17 men won gold, with the under-13 girls and under-15 girls also topping the podium.

Added to that, the under-17 women secured a bronze and the under-15 boys also earned a third-place finish.

Coach Vince Stamp lauded a fantastic day for the Portsmouth club.

He said: ‘I’ve been coaching since probably around 2006 and the club has always been successful.

‘This would be right up there in terms of county championship performances, though.

‘We won medals in the age groups from under-13 up to under-17.

‘It’s great to see young athletes carrying on winning medals as they have gone up through the age groups.

‘They are enjoying working with their training partners and the aim is to keep them together for as long as possible.’

City enjoyed an individual one, two, three in the under-15 girls’ 3,950m race.

Moore finished first in 14min 24sec, with Ellie Farrow second (14.44) and Nicole Ainsworth third (14.50).

Bo Sansom finished fourth scorer for City in 11th place (15.52) and they were miles clear of the rest with 17 points to take team gold.

Aldershot, Farnham & District finished second with 40 points and Southampton were third on 63.

Stamp said: ‘It was really good for the under-15 girls to get a one, two, three.

‘Saffron showed her class. Her coach Alex (Budd) has done great work with her, she has really got stronger.

‘Ellie Farrow was 5m down on Nicole going into the final straight but she really finished fast to get second.

‘Nicole hasn’t been firing on all cylinders this winter yet but she’s getting stronger and was very happy.

‘Our B team were led by Mia Billins and they finished fifth team.’

In the under-17 men’s race Wellington saw off the challenge from his main rival Zak Mahamed to win.

The Portsmouth athlete’s powerful front running was too much for his close friend, from Southampton.

Wellington won with a time of 20.38 for the 6,300m course, with Mahamed second (20.42).

Jacob O’Hara took the bronze medal (21.23) to continue his brilliant form and Steven Cross finished 10th (22.52) to secure the team gold medal.

All three athletes are bottom years, along with Harry Moore and Adam Kimber who also ran well.

Stamp praised the athletes after a thrilling race.

He said: ‘The under-17s were in with the under-20s, who had to do an extra lap, but Lachlan and Zak were miles ahead of all of them.

‘Jacob ran superbly as well and he was mixing it with the top under-20s.

‘Lachlan ran like Callum Hawkins did for Great Britain in the Great Edinburgh Cross Country, except he didn’t get caught.

‘Zak tried to come back at Lachie but he kept increasing the pace.

‘Callum ran a really exciting race and watching Lachie’s performance was just as thrilling for us.

‘Lachie has now won medals at under-13, under-15 and under-17 level.’