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Cambridge & Coleridge AC stars shine on England duty

C&C coach Mark Vile
C&C coach Mark Vile

Mark Vile has described the achievements of Cambridge & Coleridge AC’s middle distance training group as amazing after Shannon Flockhart and Ollie Newman earned medals on duty with England at the CrossCup Rotselaa in Belgium.

It has been a brilliant start to the year for Cambridge & Coleridge athletes, with Flockhart, Newman and Jonathan Escalante-Phillips
the next on the production line of success.

The trio were all representing their country in the international cross-country match, with Newman and Escalante-Phillips earning their first England call-ups.

Flockhart was aiming to go one better than last year, when she earned the silver medal, and did just that.

In the junior women’s race, Flockhart clocked 16min 15sec to take gold in an English one-two-three, as Alexandra Millard chased her home and Phoebe Anderson was third.

“Shannon went one better than last year. She won by only a few seconds if you look at the results, but she was in control the whole way,” said C&C coach Vile.

“She led it, kept everyone at bay and then kicked away on the last lap so that was a really good run for her.”

There was also an English clean sweep of positions one to four in the junior men’s race, with Newman clinching the silver medal.

Matthew Stonier won in 21.02, and Newman was just two seconds behind in second place. Tomer Tarragona was third in 21.05.

“For Ollie to go and run the way he did was outstanding really,” said Vile.

“He wasn’t fazed by the occasion, he didn’t get nervous, he conducted his race plan and was rewarded with the silver medal.

“He looked like he had been running in these sort of races all the time, he didn’t look out of place at all which was great.

“Ollie has had a lot of setbacks over the years.

“He has had to watch other people get the rewards for their hard work and he kept coming down with injuries or illness just at the wrong time otherwise he would have broken through a few years ago.

“He stuck at it and knew the group was the right group for him and now he has been rewarded.”

Escalante-Phillips was competing in a strong senior race, and finished 12th in 31.19, with Belgium’s Lahsene Bouchikhi triumphant in 30.09.

“Jonathan was also running for England for the first time, in the senior team,” said Vile.

“The England team had six runners and he finished the fourth England guy, in 12th place, so that was another good run.”

The results came after strong performances indoors from members of the same C&C training group, with Tom Keen breaking the British junior 1,500m record and quick times for Holly Archer and Marc Scott.

“It’s amazing really,” said Vile. “Only the week before we were over in Vienna with Tom [Keen] breaking the British record.

“We had Tom running for England in Vienna last week and this weekend just gone we had three running for England so it’s going really well.

“What helps having a big group is that when one person starts to excel, then others follow. It is all down to the group.”

From the wider club, Serena Blackwood ran a personal best of 8.17 in the under-20 60m at the South of England Under-20/Senior Championships at Lee Valley, an event she entered by mistake.

Finlay Marriott was sixth in the final of the women’s 60m hurdles, and Adam Cross was fifth in the men’s 60m.

Archer, Keen, Marriott and Samuel Clarke will compete at the Spar British Athletics Indoor Championships on February 22/23.

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