A return to competition has seen Oswestry Olympians Juniors lead the county at the half way stage of the cross country season.

Shropshire Young Athletes’ races at Packwood Haugh and Much Wenlock saw several fine individual performances and some consistent team efforts take the club to second after the first race before leapfrogging Telford AC to take top spot overall after the second.

Club training has gradually resumed after the pandemic with Saturday sessions at Gatacre proving increasingly popular.

Border Counties Advertizer: Erin Woolcock in action.

Erin Woolcock in action.

The additional numbers have been catered for with an increased number of coaches and parental helpers enabling the club to run three separate groups, segregated according to age.

Several youngsters made their club debuts in the first race hosted by Shrewsbury AC at Packwood Haugh.

The most notable being Jayden Janicki who won the U11 boys’ race by a clear 10 seconds despite having rushed to the event after playing a full football match.

Border Counties Advertizer: Tom Hotchkiss in action.

Tom Hotchkiss in action.

Some fine running by other debutants Finley Jones, Dylan Grimley and Connor Mills took the U11 boys to second, just five points behind Telford AC.

Also second, three points behind Telford were the U11 girls’ team with Lucy Hughes claiming third while Amber Wilcox, Grace Davies and Evie Griffiths all secured top ten places on their club debuts.

At U13 level Nina Harney, Erin Woolcock, Niamh Jones and Lilly Bowen were another team to finish second and just three points behind Shrewsbury AC.

Border Counties Advertizer: Sam Newton in action.

Sam Newton in action.

Top 10 finishes from William Jones and James Hall at U13 level and determined running from Archie Calloway and Riley Woolcock at under 15s level kept the points pouring in for the club.

Kate Hotchkiss was the sole Oswestry U15 female competitor while brother Tom along with Ben Rothera and Sam Newton ensured further points at U17 level to leave the club 10 points behind leaders Telford AC after the first competition.

Muck Wenlock hosted the second race with a course featuring the notorious windmill hill.

Border Counties Advertizer: The boys U11s race gets underway in Much Wenlock.

The boys U11s race gets underway in Much Wenlock.

It was there that club training sessions on the inclines of Old Oswestry and Gatacre Coppice proved their value with the U11 boys leading the team table by a clear 47 points.

Jayden Janicki, one of several to compete after a football or rugby match in the morning, again won his race.

Ethan Roberts sprinted home in third while Jack Miller and Harry Griffiths also secured top 10 finishes.

Lucy Hughes was runner up at U11 and fine debuts from Charlotte Arron and Isobel Park took their team to second.

Border Counties Advertizer: Jayden Janicki in action.

Jayden Janicki in action.

A totally different U13 boys team of Tom Johnson, Ollie O’Connor and Jack Hughes shone with top 10 finishes securing first place for their team while the addition of Beth Johnson and Shona Park strengthened the U13 Girls squad ensuring another second place.

New member Rebecca Tinsley-Edwards ran well to boost the U15 girls team whilst the Elliot O’Connor and Robert Liddiatt made their season’s debuts at U15.

The Marches trio of Sam Newton, Ben Rothera and Tom Hotchkiss formed the U17 side with Sam Newton the first Oswestry runner home securing third with an extremely well paced race.

After two races the Oswestry girls are placed third while the significant lead of the boys in their category took the club to first overall.

The next race will be on Sunday, November 28 with Telford AC the hosts at Abraham Darby School before Oswestry are on home soil for the final race of the season at Oswestry School on Sunday, December 5.

Head coach Chris Tidridge is keen to have as many runners as possible competing in these final two races before the club switches its focus to Sportshall event.

Anyone interested in joining the club can email the membership secretary, Zoe Harney on oswestryolympiansjuniors@gmail.com for further details.