Shropshire County Junior Cross Country Championships

A 15-strong contingent from Oswestry Olympians braved wintry conditions to compete in the Shropshire Junior Cross Country Championships at Attingham Park.

Once again the top performer was Liam Rawlings who added the Under-15 Boys’ Championship to the league title he had previously claimed after winning every one of the autumn league meetings.

In the team event it was the Under-15 girls who shone with Bethan Jones, Mia Tate, Rhiannon Tansley, Anna Rothera and Katie Othen taking the silver medal just behind a powerful Bridgnorth squad. Through their performances both Liam Rawlings and Tom Wilde (Under-17 boys) have both secured automatic selection for the Shropshire Junior Cross Country team.

The Olympians team spirit shone throughout the meeting with those waiting to run or having completed their races supporting their team mates in a squad which included three pairs of siblings.

First to take on the picturesque course, adapted to avoid the rising flood waters of the River Severn, were the Under-13 girls. Mia Wyatt was the first Oswestrian to complete the two-kilometre course in a little less than 10 minutes soon to be followed home by Lucy Othen.

The Under-13 boys faced a slightly longer three-kilometre run with Massimo Wyatt matching the feat of his sister Mia being the first Olympian home in an impressive tenth place. Ben Rothera and Sam Newton, who were together throughout the race, finished within four seconds of each other just ahead of Tom Hotchkiss.

The Under-15 and Under-17 girls raced at the same time on slightly different routes. Bethan Jones and Mia Tate impressed in eighth and ninth places in the Under-15 event, closely followed by Rhiannon Tansley in 12th. The momentum was maintained with Anna Rothera (sister of Ben) and Katie Othen (sister of Lucy) successfully completing the three-kilometre course to secure an impressive second place for the Oswestry team. Kate Pugh, the sole Olympian in the Under-17 team, beat the 20 minute mark in 14th place for the four-kilometre run.

Like the girls, the Under-15 and Under-17 Boys also started together.

Despite not being fully fit, Liam Rawlings’s class shone through as he led from start to finish, completing the four-kilometre course in one second over 14 minutes.

At five-kilometre the Under-17 Boys’ race was the longest junior race. Tom Wilde, who has struggled recently through injury, secured automatic selection for the county with seventh place in just over 19 minutes. Matthew Collins completed a fine day for the club with a creditable 14th place in a little over 20 minutes.