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GALLERY: Reid leads the way as clubs impress at opening Westward Cross Country League event

THE region’s clubs made promising starts to the Westward Cross Country League season that got underway in Plymouth’s Central Park on Sunday.

City of Plymouth’s Holly Reid began her campaign on a high in the under-13 age group. She timed her race perfectly to claim victory by eight seconds.

In the same race, team-mate Madeleine Jones came sixth and Tavistock’s Matilda Riggott was also in the top eight. City of Plymouth packed well and had five finishers in the top 15 to top the team standings.

Another City of Plymouth athlete, Thomas Jones, made an impressive start to life in the under-15 age group by taking second place behind Cornwall AC’s Zac Clemons.

In the under-11 boys’ age group, Barnaby Hutchings claimed second place for City of Plymouth, while Erme Valley enjoyed a good race with Freddie Newman finishing third, Callum Williams fourth, Luke Hayes fifth and Finlay Bechley ninth.

In the under-11 girls’ event, there were top 10 finishes for Tavistock’s Claudia Jones (5th), Ellena Hess (6th) and Florence Riggott (9th).

Tavistock also had a strong showing in the under-17 and under-15 girls’ categories.

In the under-17 event, which was run with the senior women, Tilly McDowell came second, with Elyse Kedzior-MacDonough fifth and team-mate Charlotte Tilney sixth.

In the younger age group, fellow Tavistock athletes Kristyna Cade and Charlotte Walker came fifth and seventh, respectively, as the club finished as third team.

Tavistock were strong in all the female categories and Great Britain mountain and trail specialist Jo Meek came third overall and first over-40 in the senior race. She was only beaten by Great Britain under-20 international Molly Canham and Cornwall’s Heidi Tregenza.

City of Plymouth’s Hannah Blair was fourth overall in the senior race, with Erme Valley’s Cleo Perry seventh and first over-45, with Tavistock Run Project’s Rachel Malthouse (9th) also finishing within the top 10 of a strong race. Tavistock were third in the senior women’s team standings and first veteran team.

Plymouth Harriers’ Johnny Gilbey led the way for the Armada clubs in the men’s race. In a quality field he came fifth, just ahead of Tavistock Run Project’s Jordan Andrews in sixth. City of Plymouth’s Stephen Burns was first over-55, finishing just ahead of Tavistock AC’s Martin Exley-Deane. Richard Drage was first over-60. Tavistock Run Project, Tavistock AC, City of Plymouth and Plymouth Harriers all packed well to finish high up the teams standings.

Both the senior men’s and women’s races saw more than 150 finishers.

Full results can be found HERE.

Meanwhile, City of Plymouth athlete Poppy Tank got her cross country season in America off to an impressive start at the weekend.

Great Britain under-23 international Tank, who had missed six weeks of training with a foot injury, finished 16th overall in a top quality field at the Joe Paine-Notre Dame International event and helped Utah University to team victory ahead of America’s top-ranked team, Colorado. Tank was Utah’s second scorer behind fellow British athlete Bella Williams.

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