Nicole looking to make Fairthorne her Manor
NICOLE AINSWORTH is on the way back to top form as athletes prepare to race for county glory at Fairthorne Manor.
Her big targets will come later in the year after a heavy schedule of triathlon training with the national squad in the early months of winter.
At her best she is a national champion having won the under-13 cross country title at Donington in 2016.
Conditions will be tough on Saturday with the recent rain ensuring plenty of mud but the heavy course could well help her cause.
Based on the training sessions for his group coach Vince Stamp has picked her out as a possible leading contender to run well.
He said: ‘If I was putting my money on any one athlete I would put it on Nicole.
‘The under-15 girls could be the race to look out for, we have a strong team and should do well.
‘Nicole will revel in the heavy conditions. I don’t want to put pressure on her and she knows that but I am looking for a good run from Nicole.
‘She is gradually getting back to her best and at her best she is a former national champion.
‘We’ve seen Nicole running well in the parkrun at Fareham recently.
‘She ran it on Saturday and we said to go out and have a blast, to go out and dictate, because she’s not had many races under her belt. She was quite happy with that and it was a good run.’
City’s Saffron Moore won the under-15 title last year to add to her under-13 crown in the 2016.
Ellie Farrow, now in the under-17 age group, is another Portsmouth athlete who trains with the national triathlon squad.
She took the under-15 county silver medal at Fairthorne Manor last year in a clean sweep with Moore’s gold and Ainsworth taking bronze.
City have great depth in their squads for the under-15 girls and under-17 women.
Stamp added: ‘In the under-17s we have Bo Sansom who will enjoy the mud and it’s the same for Katie Simister who has been flying and has put the hard work in.
‘Mia Billins and Eleanor Purdue are both running well.
‘In the under-15s Holly Wilkinson has done well in the league cross country races, while Penelope Batty is training really well.’
The 2017 bronze medallist Jacob O’Hara is set to lead the charge for the under-17 men with Adam Kimber, Callum Crook and Joshua Goldfinch both well capable of performing strongly.
City will be without Lachlan Wellington who won’t be defending his under-17 county title from 2017 because he is running for Great Britain in Edinburgh on Saturday, January 13.
He will be racing at Holyrood Park in the Great Edinburgh International XCountry.