Portsmouth aces impress at UK Inter-Counties Championships
Lachlan Wellington and Nicole Ainsworth both grabbed podium places in the finale to the domestic cross-country season.
The City of Portsmouth athletes rounded off their campaigns for Hampshire with excellent performances at the UK Inter-Counties Championships in Birmingham.
Wellington still has the schools’ international to come on Saturday when he will represent England in Falkirk.
He final outing of the season for his county was impressive.
It was a great day for Hampshire with Zak Mahamed, from Southampton, taking the win with a time of 15min 36sec for the 4.5k course.
Wellington was eight seconds back in 15.44, with national champion Josh Cowperthwaite, from Middlesbrough, finishing third (16.00).
City of Portsmouth’s Jacob O’Hara finished 21st in a time of 16.42, another good strong performance with 305 athletes completing the race.
He was fourth scorer as Hampshire collected team gold, with second-placed Essex a massive 61 points behind them.
City coach Vince Stamp felt Wellington would have benefited if the race was longer with more mud.
He said: ‘It was fast and furious and the conditions suited Zak.
‘Lachlan would have liked another 1k of mud.
‘If the course was a bit longer and tougher it would have been ideal for him but every race is different.
‘Behind Lachlan was the national champion Josh Cowperthwaite, who finished third.
‘It was another cracking run by Lachlan but he just wants to get on that top step of the podium.’
City’s national title winner and South of England champion Nicole Ainsworth excelled again to finish third in the under-13 girls’ race over a distance of around 3k (12.42).
Her biggest rival this season has been her club-mate Saffron Moore but she was not fully fit and missed the race in Birmingham.
City’s Charlotte Bullard ran well for Sussex to finish 95th (13.48) and youngster Eloise O’Neill, who is just 11, finished a very good 181st out of 302 runners (14.18).
Stamp added: ‘Nicole had a good strong finish but the winner had got away from everyone early on.
‘Nicole needed to fight for her ground and use her elbows a bit as it was a tough start.
‘She tried to close on the leader and the young lady who finished runner-up was very grateful for the tow.
‘She outkicked Nicole in the final stages to get second.
‘Charlotte had another good run for Sussex and Eloise O’Neill had an excellent race as a bottom year.’
In the under-17 women’s race over a distance of around 5k, Maisie Grice finished 42nd (21.47) and City’s Elizabeth Hedley crossed the line in 85th (22.37).
Havant’s Ellie Farrow was first scorer for Hampshire in the under-15 girls’ race as she finished 38th (18.16).
City’s dominant under-15 superstar Josie Czura had to miss out on the trip to Birmingham due to injury.