The juniors were again out in force at Woodbank Park in the final race of this year’s Manchester XC League. The U11 girls had six representatives, even though four of the girls that did the last two races were away for half term. The A team finished a creditable 5th being made up of Esme Pearson (9), Grace Adams (17) and Kate Fitzgerald (30). The B team finished 17th and consisted of Eva Bucknall (54), Jessica Forrest (55) and Kate Lane (62). One of Jessica’s shoes came off early in the event, but she showed real resilience for a 10 year old in stopping to sort it out before setting off in pursuit of the other girls. This was also the first race that Kate Fitzgerald and Eva Bucknall have completed for the club, so a big well done to them. The U11 girls also completed teams in enough races to get a final position in the series. In a very close battle between 5 teams, Altrincham ended up finishing 4th, with the final point tallies being Sale 33, Salford 32, Stockport 32, Altrincham 31, Liverpool 29. It is great to see an age category where we are so competitive. Hopefully, this group can stay together and go on to do even greater things in the future. Four of the girls managed to complete enough races to get a final position in the series. They were Esme Pearson (8), Grace Adams (13), Jessica Forrest (32) and Kate Lane (56). I think this shows real commitment and can only be applauded. In the U13 girls the sole representative was Hannah Gregg, coming home in 44th. Hannah finished three races this year and is taking part for the third year in a row. I always thing it’s a good sign when an athlete keeps coming back for more year after year and it’s great to see her so keen. In the U15 boys, Harry Sinclair produced a stunning finish to steal 6th place. In fact, he was finishing so fast that he couldn’t apply the brakes and went for a mudslide! Harry’s completed three races this year and has been doing these events for several years. It’s particularly pleasing for me as Harry was one of the first athletes that ever trained with me, before later moving on to Phil Nichol’s group. This was his highest ever finish in a Manchester XC League race. The final junior performance of the day and highest position overall was Daniel Racle in the U17 men. He produced a stunning performance to finish in 3rd place! Daniel has also shown enough commitment to get a finishing position in the series with a very impressive 3rd place overall. This has been the best year for our juniors in the Manchester XC League for some time. There are still areas to address, particularly the U11 boys, but it does represent an upturn in fortunes for the club. I think it shows that with commitment from athletes, coaches, parents and volunteers that the club can be competitive while also providing a fun environment where athletes can strive to reach their potential. Andrew