Athletics: City of Stoke enjoy memorable race at Leek
LLORENC Sales Ferre and Sarah Johnson produced brilliant performances to dominate the senior races in the final fixture of the North Staffs Cross-Country League at Westwood High School in Leek.
And Ferre's success wasn't the only high point for City of Stoke as team-mate Seb Duffy's third-place saw him clinch the overall individual title.
Alex Breaker finished as runner-up to ensure a clean sweep for Stoke, and with it the overall team title.
Newcastle's Phil Bradshaw set the early pace on the first of three laps, with Sales Ferre, Duffy, Stuart Doyle (Vale Royal) and Marc Hartley (Staffs Moorlands) in hot pursuit.
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Early in the second circuit Spaniard Ferre showed his class as he made a decisive strike and was soon in total control.
Relentlessly piling on the pace he increased his lead to complete the nine km race in 30 minutes 21 seconds.
He said: "I am delighted. I sat in on the first lap to get the feel of the race, and then I decided to let go and felt much better.
"I used my speed on the flat sections of the course and then maintained my rhythm on the hills."
A storming finish by Breaker saw him sweep past Duffy in the closing stages, while William Neill (sixth) Steve Bazell (ninth) and Dean Richardson (13th) earned Stoke an impressive victory on 34 points over Vale Royal (107) and Staffs Moorlands (154).
Trentham star Johnson threw down the gauntlet from the start of the women's race and was soon out on her own.
She was never in danger of being caught as she cruised to victory in 23 minutes 49 seconds to take the honours on the day and the overall individual title.
She said: "I am very pleased with the result as I arrived late and didn't get much time to warm up.
"I figured that if I could make a gap early and then relax it may work, so I just went for it."
Kerry Marchant (Staffs Moorlands) was second in 24.23, with Deborah Thomas (Trentham) third.
Holders Trentham were clear winners of the team race again on 14 points.
Elliot Bowker (Vale Royal) produced a superb run, brushing aside the opposition to win the under-17s men's race by almost a minute.
But Nathan Sabin (Stafford Harriers) in third spot had the final say by being crowned overall champion.
Vale Royal were team winners on the day, but a consistent season by Cannock and Stafford saw them claim the team title.
Abigail Backshall, of Colwyn Bay, won the women's race in this age group and also become individual champion, while Staffordshire Moorlands claimed took team championship.
In the under-15s age group Oliver Sadler (Staffs Moorlands) was the winner over Ryan Ashforth (Cannock and Stafford), but it was Ashforth who was crowned individual champion.
A consistent season saw Crewe and Nantwich AC take the team honours.
The girl's race was won by Katie Lowery (Macclesfield Harriers) who also became individual champion.
Newcastle AC won the team race, ensuring they also took the league title.
The under-13s boys' contest saw Robert Weir (Vale Royal) snatch victory from Casey Maddock (Stoke) following a close encounter throughout.
But a solid season by Jack Soulsby saw him become the individual winner and lead his Crewe and Nantwich club to their second team title.
The girls' race was won by Tiarna Guest (City of Stoke), but it was second-placed team-mate Charlie Peters who became champion, with Macclesfield Harriers taking the team crown.