An outstanding haul of 12 medals was won by Buxton Athletic Club in the mudfest that was the Derbyshire Cross-Country County Championships at Shipley Park in Heanor.
Of the 22 Buxton juniors who competed against the best cross-country runners in Derbyshire, nine also won places to represent the county at the Inter-Counties Championships later in the year.
Pride of place went to the club’s U15 girls, who landed team gold medals after finishing first overall. Ellie Wilson led the way with an individual silver to earn selection for the county, while Heather Wilshaw came home ninth, Amy Whelan 11th and Abbie Fryer-Winder 15th.
A silver medal, and Derbyshire selection for the second year running, was achieved by Lauren Wilshaw, who was second in the U13 girls’ race. And it was a similar story for Helen Thornhill, who finished second and gained a county call-up in the U20 age category.
By the time of the final race of the day, the course had turned into a real mudbath. But that didn’t stop Buxton’s U15 boys from distinguishing themselves as they finished third overall to pocket bronze medals. Sam Soles came in sixth to earn his Derbyshire vest, while the Diamond brothers, Stu and Ed, finished a respectable ninth and 11th respectively, ahead of Euan Freeman, who was a creditable 17th in his first outing at county level.
The U17 boys’ team also worked hard to plough their way through worsening conditions. Jacob Winfield earned a Derbyshire call-up by finishing eighth, ahead of Dan Soles in 11th, Luke Farrant in 13th, Joe Purvis in 14th and Luke Mamczur in 15th.
The day had begun with the U11 girls’ race in which Buxton finished a fine fifth overall. All the girls were competing for the first time at county level but did themselves proud. Lucy Whelan came home in 16th, followed by Rebecca Cudahy in 18th and Molly Golden in 21st.
In the U13 boys’ race, Ben Hawtin and Ryan Rawlinson pushed each other hard to finish 15th and 16th respectively, while the senior men’s race saw David Fryer-Winder finish 65th overall and fifth in the U20 category out of a field of 106.
The club’s team manager praised the junior teams, saying: “They worked so hard in the lead-up to the races, targeting Derbyshire qualification, so for so many to achieve that goal is just amazing.
“All our cross-country teams have made outstanding progress over the season, which is not over yet. As a coach, it is so rewarding to see your athletes progress and reach peak performance for these prestigious races. Best of all is seeing them enjoying their running.”