IT has been a busy couple of weekends for the younger members of team NAAC with the Young Athletes National Road Race Championships in Greenock on March 18 followed by the Scottish Athletics Indoor League Finals and relays on Sunday at the Emirates in Glasgow.
The national Road Race is a traditionally strong field and last week was no exception. More than 500 of the best youngsters from Scotland raced in ages under-13 to under-17.
Yet again, NAAC smashed appearance records with an amazing 16 boys and girls competing, up 11 on last year’s number.
Out first were the under-13s over the 2.5 km course round Battery Park in Greenock. For the girls the club had Meridith Reid, Mary Jane McInally, Leah Murray, Rebecca Booth and Abbie Scott. The weather made the race even tougher but the girls fought hard and Meridith, MJ and Leah narrowly missed out on bronze.
Ben Burns and Andrew Buchanan worked hard over the same course on what was an entirely new challenge for most of the kids.
Carla Murray, Megan Pettigrew, Emma Donachy, Kerrie Grier, Marianne Lowey and Jenna Maitland completed the 4.2km under-15 course and again proved to be a credit to themselves with the hard winter training allowing all to push for great times.
Alexander Orderley, Euan Comrie and Dominic Burns battled a strong field in the under-15s over the same course and again showed that the hours spent training were worthwhile.
Once the dust (or puddles) settled it was off to Laser Matrix where all 16 found a second wind to make the coaching team pay for the hard winter sessions by destroying them in the laser wars arena.
The culmination of the Scottish Athletics Indoor League (SAIL) took place on Sunday, with NAAC represented by a male and female team at under 11 level. Before the finals commenced it was the turn of the relay teams to take on the rest of the best in Scotland over the 4 x 200m event.
An amazing four out of six NAAC teams qualified from their heats with the other two teams narrowly missing out.
The girls under-11 and under-13, along with the boys under-11 and under-15 qualified and gave a great account of themselves at the final stage in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Emirates arena.
Highlight of the day was the performance of Jessie Caig, Abby Docherty, Adele Street and Shannon Brown who were crowned as Champions of Scotland at under-11.
Club chairman Blair Pettigrew said: "It's a fantastic result for the girls, incredibly proud of them and their coaches. It's taken five years of hard work behind the scenes for these girls to emerge onto the national stage as champions. The dedication of the volunteers at the club on and off the track is phenomenal and has given these young athletes a platform to perform when it counts and really put North Ayrshire on the National Athletics map. I feel strongly that we have a golden generation of athletes in North Ayrshire who are going to progress and achieve amazing things for our sport."
There were personal bests all round on what was a fantastic day for the club and one that will be celebrated as the icing on the cake for NAAC in what has been a record breaking season in the Indoor League.
Participation and more importantly enjoyment is at an all-time high and with an ever increasing band of fantastic volunteers, the future looks bright for the North Ayrshire club.